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Professional Resources ( Page2)

Advancement from... Requires...
step 1 to step 2 52 weeks of creditable service in step 1
step 2 to step 3 52 weeks of creditable service in step 2
step 3 to step 4 52 weeks of creditable service in step 3
step 4 to step 5 104 weeks of creditable service in step 4
step 5 to step 6 104 weeks of creditable service in step 5
step 6 to step 7 104 weeks of creditable service in step 6
step 7 to step 8 156 weeks of creditable service in step 7
step 8 to step 9 156 weeks of creditable service in step 8
step 9 to step 10 156 weeks of creditable service in step 9

Licensure & Education Issues

We received a few inquiries from non-members inquiring how to go about obtaining licensure. One contact was from a Canadian social worker planning to move to Virginia. We recommended contacting the Virginia Social Work Licensing Board and provided them with information about VA em-ployment resources in the area. Another individual asked about how to decide where to obtain an MSW. The individual had other degrees which would have qualified for VA employment but was interested in becoming a social worker. We suggested using the Counsel on Social Work Educa-tion website to select an accredited school near where they lived or planned to work.


VA Internships

We had multiple inquiries from students asking about how stipends are allocated and how to obtain a placement at a VA Medical Center or CBOC. They also inquired about how their specific school could go about having stipends set aside for their specific graduate program. Stipends are allocated nationally and there are a limited number. For this reason VA Medical Centers request a number of stipends that they feel they can sup-port. By support I mean, being able to provide that number of students a field instructor, sufficient preceptors and adequate opportunities for differ-ent rotations or specializations. Each VA Medical Center in turn has Affiliation Agreements with Graduate Schools of Social Work. Some affiliations are close by and others are national. This allows VA to select a variety of stu-dents with different backgrounds, experiences and academic training. It makes their VA internship experience rich-er and provides the VA with potential employees from the local area and across nation. This is why the VA does not allocate stipends to specific universities. We suggested that they have their Field Coordinator contact the VA Education Coordinator at their local VA Medical Center (VAMC) or at any other VA that students have an interest in a placement at. Some VAMC's have full time Education Coordinators and others have part-time or collaterally assigned Coordinators. When possible we put students in contact with a VA Medical Center near them.

Boarding

When does someone need to be “boarded”? Technically anytime a social worker moves from one position to another, where there are signifi-cant changes in their Functional Statements, a Board should be convened. In many instances, where someone is moving laterally (from a GS11 to a GS11) and there is very little (other than program description or assignment description) that changes in the Functional Statement; many facilities do not hold Boards. (Even for new hires that transfer from other VA’s or within the same facility.) Some members asked if they had temporary promotions to higher grades or had a high-er grade prior to ac-cepting a lower grade position during a move, if they should be “boarded” to give them credit for the new skills they had acquired and perhaps be given a higher grade. Even though the concept that in Hybrid Title 38 the grade is based on the qualifications of the individual, this is not how OHRM has interpreted the guidelines. The grade is based on the Functional Statement first and its relation to the VHA Social Work Qualification Standards and secondly on the qualifications of the individual being consid-ered for the position. AVASW recommends speaking to your Su-pervisor about the possibility of upgrading a current position to a higher grade; or about other opportunities for advancement such as applying for higher grade positions that they might now be qualified for due to their enhanced skills.

 

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