Recreation Therapist
Department of Veterans Affairs 1,248 reviews - Phoenix, AZ

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Department of Veterans Affairs

(VA) needs employees who possess the energy, compassion, and commitment to serve those who serve our country. Whatever the job title, every position in VA will give you a chance to make a meaningful and personal contribution to the lives of truly special and deserving people - our Veterans. Working for VA is one of the most emotionally satisfying and professionally rewarding ways to dedicate the best within you to your Country's service.

If you are transitioning from the military or a Veteran already, we invite you to explore the benefits of continuing your career at the VA.

The VA is committed to hiring Veterans


The VA is much more than just another employer. It is an honorable, open and welcoming community of those who care. Gratitude is our motivation and service is our mission.

The VA has adopted Core Values and Characteristics that apply universally across the Department. The five Core Values define “who we are,” our culture, and how we care for Veterans, their families and other beneficiaries. The Values are








espect and


xcellence (“



America's Veterans need you!

To find out more, go to



You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for this job.

Subject to a background/suitability investigation.

This position is located within Psychiatry Service at the Phoenix VA Health Care System in Phoenix, Arizona. The individual selected for this position will be responsible for developing, organizing, and administering Recreation Therapy programs to provide therapeutic treatment to clients in various areas. Major duties include (but are not limited to):

Assemble pre-evaluation data, interpret medical record information, review therapy prescriptions, and conduct mental and physical evaluations of clients in order to develop and implement a treatment plan;

Devise specific activities and implement strategies to maintain or improve clients general state of physical and/or mental health;

Develop therapeutic programs for various types of disabilities;

Employ therapeutic objectives;

Handle difficult cases involving clients who have multiple diagnoses and/or severe medical complications which may require unconventional approaches to treatment;

Interpret and administer physician's recreation therapy prescription;

Schedule clients for treatment

Interpret and report to physicians any reactions to treatment which have medical significance and diagnostic value;

Additional duties as assigned.

Work Schedule: Monday - Friday; 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.


In order to qualify for this position, you must possess the following criteria:

A Bachelor’s degree (or higher) with a major in recreation therapy or in a creative arts therapy field (art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy or psychodrama); OR in a major in an appropriate subject-matter field with therapeutic emphasis or concentration. NOTE: If you are attempting to qualify with a degree other than Recreational therapy or in a Creative Arts therapy field, your degree must be in a major in an appropriate subject-matter field

with therapeutic emphasis or concentration

. A degree in Recreation that does not show there was therapeutic emphasis or concentration is NOT qualifying. (TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED: If you do not supply a copy of your transcript, your application package may not be processed.)


At least one year of Specialized Experience equivalent to at least the GS-09 level. Qualifying Specialized Experience for this position includes the following: Experience evaluating Mental Health patients; Developing, planning, implementing, and evaluating individualized treatment plans for Recreation Therapy (for both inpatient and outpatient adults); Planning treatment activities in the areas of creative arts and fitness; Administering therapeutic activities; and Evaluating and document treatment objectives.
NOTE: Experience in activities or programs that did not require application of a knowledge of the concepts, principles and practices or recreational therapy or one of the creative arts therapy specializations covered by this standard and that did not involve the use of therapeutic approaches to maintain the physical and/or mental health or to achieve the physical and/or mental rehabilitation of persons (e.g., Outdoor Recreation Specialist, Commercial Recreation Leader, Vocational Counselor or other diversionary-type recreation specialist positions) is NOT qualifying for this series.


Two and one-half years (45 semester hours) of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. degree or Ph.D. degree or equivalent doctoral degree with a major field of study directly related to recreation therapy or in a creative arts therapy field (art therapy, dance therapy, music therapy, or psychodrama); or a major in an appropriate subject-matter field with therapeutic emphasis or concentration. (TRANSCRIPT REQUIRED - If you do not supply a copy of your transcript, your application package may not be processed.)


Equivalent combinations of graduate education and specialized experience to meet the total qualification requirements of this position as described above.

In addition, a

Quality Ranking Factor

  • has been requested by the facility to help determine which of the basically qualified applicants are likely to be better qualified for a position. The quality ranking factor for this position is: "Certification as a Recreation Therapist."

Quality Ranking Factors

are skills, knowledge, abilities or other worker characteristics which could be expected to result in superior performance on the job. Quality ranking factors will not be used for screening, but may be used as ranking criteria. Applicants with higher proficiency levels may rank above those with lower proficiency levels on a quality ranking factor.

You will be rated on the following Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other characteristics (KSAOs) as part of the assessment questionnaire for this position: (Narrative responses are not required.)

  • Skill in developing an individualized treatment plan.
  • Skill in designing and implementing treatment programs.
  • Skill in evaluation of treatment.
  • Skill in written and oral communication.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: The position requires sedentary time to complete administrative duties. Prolonged walking, standing, lifting, and bending are necessary in the treatment process and to move equipment, position severely disabled patients, assist patients in ambulant, or to transport patients in a motor vehicle. The individual selected for this position must possess the ability to provide quick and appropriate action in an emergency situation. The work, which is performed in clinics, wards, group rooms, offices, conference rooms, and in the community involves regular and recurring tasks and discomfort. The selected individual is exposed to infectious diseases and medical emergencies. Patients encountered have a variety of disabilities and illnesses as well as both physical/medical and psychiatric conditions. The patient may demonstrate disruptive, assaultive, and/or aggressive behaviors secondary to his/her primary diagnosis. The work also involves the driving of motor vehicles (car, van, bus).

For more information on these qualification standards, please visit the United States Office of Personnel Management's website at


Education must be accredited by an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education in order for it to be credited towards qualifications. Please refer to this


to ensure proper accreditation and for foreign education requirements.

Veteran's Preference


When applying for Federal jobs, eligible veterans should claim preference on the Occupational Questionnaire in the section provided and provide a legible copy of DD-214(s) showing all dates of service as well as character of service (honorable, general, etc.). Additionally, veterans with service-connected disability of 10% or more must also submit a copy of their official statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs, or from a branch of the Armed Forces, certifying their service-connected disability and/or their receipt of compensation for service-connected disability. If the military member is within 120 days of separation and does not yet have a DD214, the member may instead submit any written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed.

Veterans with service-connected disability of less than 10%, non service-connected disability, and Purple Heart recipients, as-well-as those claiming derived preference for a spouse, widow or widower, or natural mother, should refer to and submit a completed "

SF15, "Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference

," (go to

) and required documentation with your application materials. For more information on Veterans' Preference, please visit


Applicants will be ranked based on four quality groups, as follows:

Best qualified - applicants possessing experience that substantially exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are highly proficient in all requirements of the job and can perform effectively in the position;

Highly qualified - applicants possessing experience that exceeds the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in most of the requirements of the job;

Well qualified - applicants possessing experience that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors, and who are proficient in some, but not all, of the requirements of the job; and

Qualified - applicants possessing experience and/or education that meets the minimum qualifications of the position including all selective factors.

After the vacancy announcement closes, reviewed applications are evaluated against the questionnaire responses and placed in the appropriate quality group. Qualified veterans will be afforded preference by being placed at the top of the appropriate quality group. The best qualified group is the first to be referred to the hiring facility for further consideration and possible interview. The remaining groups may be referred based on the number of applicants available.

VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered:

The Federal Government has special appointing authorities for persons with qualifying disabilities (go to

). For additional information on these, and other special appointing authorities, refer to this


or contact the hiring Human Resources Management Service at: 650 East Indian School Road

Carl T Hayden VAMC

Phoenix VAMC

Phoenix, AZ 85012


Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan

(ICTAP) and

Career Transition Assistance Plan

(CTAP) provide eligible displaced Federal competitive service employees with selection priority over other candidates for competitive service vacancies. To be qualified you must submit appropriate documentation and be found well-qualified (have a final rating of 85 or more) for this vacancy. Information about ICTAP and CTAP eligibility is on OPM's Career Transition Resources website at


VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employees credit for their job-related non-federal experience or active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave. Such credit must be requested and approved prior to the appointment date and is not guaranteed.

This job opportunity announcement may be used to fill additional vacancies.

You may be required to serve a probationary period.

About this company
1,248 reviews
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is...