Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor in Lowell, Massachusetts

Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration
1 vacancy in the following location:
  • Lowell, MA
Work Schedule is Full Time - Excepted Service NTE NTE 2 Years

Opened Thursday 10/13/2016 (14 day(s) ago)

** Closes Thursday 10/27/2016 (0 day(s) away)

Job Overview

Vacancy Identification Number (VIN) 1824381


OUR MISSION: To fulfill President Lincoln's promise – "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's Veterans.

As a VA professional, your opportunities are endless. Not only is it the largest, most technologically advanced integrated health care system in the Nation, but we also provide many other services to Veterans through the Benefits Administration and National Cemeteries. VA professionals feel good about their careers and their ability to balance work and home life. VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities. For more information on the Department of Veterans Affairs, go to **VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.


This is an Excepted Appointment, not-to-exceed 2 years, but may be extended up to 4 years. Temporary appointments are non-status, non-permanent appointments of limited duration.

The Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor position is located at the Lowell Vet Center in Lowell, Massachusetts and will provide counseling to eligible active duty service members, veterans and their families of the Vet Center program. Readjustment counseling includes individual and group counseling over issues of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related psychological difficulties, marital and family issues, substance abuse, employment, military sexual trauma, homelessness, bereavement, and other issues impacting upon successful readjustment. This task is accomplished in collaboration with other members of the Vet Center or other interdisciplinary treatment teams both within the Department of Veterans Affairs, community agencies and the Department of Defense as appropriate. The duties of the position include but are not limited to:

  • completes psycho-social assessments and military history to identify problem areas

  • develops a unique treatment plan that reflects a course of therapeutic intervention that will address the needs identified in the assessment

  • maintains and exercises an effective resource data base that is used to address the needs of the client, which may be better served by programs external to the Vet Center

  • acts as an advocate when it serves the best interest of the active duty service member, veteran and their families without fostering dependency and preserving the right of the client to exercise choice

  • assesses whether a client is of harm to self or others and provides further psychiatric assessment if necessary

  • provides education or facilitates education to elements external to the Vet Center

  • ensures good communication and clinical treatment to patients that are shared with other health care providers as required

  • exercises a variety of individual and group counseling techniques that are evidence based in the treatment of readjustment counseling problems and demonstrate good clinical practice

Work Schedule:8:00 am to 4:30 pm (The employee may be required to work other than normal duty hours to include evenings, weekends, and/or holidays. The employee will be required to safely operate a government vehicle under a myriad of conditions to support mission.)

Functional Statement Title/#:Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor (LPMHC)

Travel Required
  • Occasional Travel
  • In support of direct client care, outreach events, and/or training
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Designated and-or Random Drug Testing required
  • Background and-or Security Investigation required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.
  • Current, Valid Driver's License
  • Subject to Pre-Employment Examination

Basic Requirements:

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Education. Hold a master's degree in mental health counseling, or a related field, from a program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Examples of related mental health counseling fields include, but are not limited to, Addiction Counseling; Community Counseling; Gerontology Counseling; Marital, Couple, and Family Counseling; and Marriage and Family Therapy. A doctoral degree in mental health counseling may not be substituted for the master's degree in mental health counseling.
  • Licensure. Persons hired or reassigned to LPMHC positions in the GS-101 series in VHA must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to independently practice mental health counseling, which includes diagnosis and treatment. Non-licensed LPMHCs who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate LPMHC under the authority of 38 USC 7405(c)(2)(b). the appointment official may waive the requirement of licensure for a period not to exceed 2 years for a LPMHC that provides care under the supervision of a licensed LPMHC at or above the full performance level. This exception only applies at the entry level (GS-09). For grade levels at or above the full performance level, the candidate must be licensed.
  • English Language Proficiency

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

Grade Determinations:

GS-9 Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor (Entry Level)

Experience, Education, and Licensure. The entry level is used for LPMHCs with less than one year of post-master's degree experience or for LPMHCs who are graduates, not yet licensed at the independent practice level.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to the basic requirements, the candidates must demonstrate the KSAs below:

  1. Ability to engage in information gathering, problem identification, diagnosis, treatment planning, implementation, evaluation and follow-up.

  2. Knowledge of current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders in formulation of treatment goals and application of appropriate clinical interventions using professional counseling practices.

  3. Basic knowledge of professional counseling practice with emphasis on human development principles through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic interventions, and strategies that address high risk behaviors, wellness, personal growth, and career development across the life span.

  4. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or family counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills.

  5. Ability to serve on an interdisciplinary team with focus on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and relational functioning of individuals, groups and families and on the counseling approaches, strategies, and techniques that will best help patients function effectively.

  6. Basic skill in the use of computer software applications for drafting documents, data management, maintaining accurate, timely and thorough clinical documentation and delivery of services, such as Telehealth.

  7. Knowledge and understanding of existing relevant statutes, case laws, ethical codes, and regulations affecting professional practice of counseling.

  8. Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with people from varied backgrounds.

GS-11 Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor (Full Performance Level)

Experience, Education, and Licensure. In addition to the basic requirements, candidates must have at least 1 year of post-master's degree mental health counseling experience; OR In addition to the basic requirements, a doctoral degree in mental health counseling, or a related field may be substituted for the required 1 year of professional mental health counseling experience.

Demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. In addition to meeting the KSAs for the GS-9 level, the candidate must demonstrate the KSAs below:

  1. Ability to make professional evaluations, decisions, and recommendation for treatment planning and implementation.

  2. Advanced knowledge and mastery of the fundamentals of the counseling process which includes defining patient/family problems and maintaining an effective counseling relationship.

  3. Ability to provide subject matter consultation to colleagues and students on the counseling process within various specialty areas, build on the foundation of competence through regular meetings and discussions to explain assignments, review progress of cases and confer about the counseling perspectives and orientation.

  4. Ability to provide complex crisis intervention and stabilization to patients who are in psychological distress.

  5. Ability to establish goals/treatment through a collaborative process with the patient utilizing advanced counseling skills, including evidenced-based practices and screening/assessment.

  6. Ability to use a wide variety of individual, group, or familial counseling interventions; demonstrates sensitivity to diversity and possesses multicultural counseling skills.

  7. Ability to fully utilize the current DSM in making diagnoses and formulation of treatment goals and application of appropriate clinical intervention using professional counseling practices.

  8. Ability to develop and deliver psycho-education groups that include life skills, family support, and community integration.

References: VA Handbook 5005/42, Part II, Appendix G43 - LICENSED PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELOR QUALIFICATION STANDARD. This can be found in the local Human Resources Office.

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education.

Physical Requirements: The work is primarily sedentary. It may require some lifting (10-20 lbs.) occasionally. Reaching above shoulder; frequent keyboarding (4-7 hours per day); sitting (4-7 hours per day); walking (up to 6 hours per day); standing (up to 8 hours per day); infrequent climbing/descending of stairs; some bending; ability for rapid mental and muscular coordination simultaneously; correctable near sighted and far sighted vision; hearing (aid permitted).

Security Clearance


Additional Information
What To Expect Next

After we receive application packages (including all required documents) and the vacancy announcement closes, we will review applications to ensure qualification and eligibility requirements are met. During our review, if your résumé and application package do not support your questionnaire answers, we will adjust your rating accordingly. After the review is complete, a referral certificate(s) is issued and applicants will be notified of their status by email (if provided); otherwise, applicants will receive a notification letter via the U.S. Postal Service. Referred applicants will be notified as such and may be contacted directly by the hiring office for an interview. All referred applicants receive a final notification once a selection decision has been made.

You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your USAJOBS account and clicking on "Application Status." For a more detailed update of your status, click on "more information." Information regarding applicant notification points can be found in the USAJobs Resource Center.


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

Receiving Service Credit for Earning Annual (Vacation) Leave: Federal Employees earn annual leave at a rate (4, 6 or 8 hours per pay period) which is based on the number of years they have served as a Federal employee. VA may offer newly-appointed Federal employees credit for their active duty uniformed military service. This credited service can be used in determining the rate at which they earn annual leave.

Other Information

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

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

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

Salary Range: $53,610.00 to $84,320.00 / Per Year

Series & Grade: GS-0101-00/00

Supervisory Status: No

Who May Apply: United States Citizens

Control Number: 453264200

Job Announcement Number: UL-17-MKD-1824381