Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met.
- Citizenship. Citizen of the United States. .
- Education. Applicants must meet one of the following requirements below possessing a degree from an approved program by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accredited college or university.
- A Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy AND five (5) years of progressively independent experience as a physical therapist; OR
- A Master’s Degree in physical therapy AND two (2) years of progressively independent experience as a physical therapist; OR,
- A doctorate degree in physical therapy
- Licensure. Applicants must hold a full, current, and unrestricted license to practice physical Therapy in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia.
- Note: Non-licensed PTs, who otherwise meet the basic requirements in this standard, may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate PT at the GS-11 grade level under the authority of 38 U.S.C. 7405 (A)(1)(D) for a period not-to-exceed two years from the date of employment on the condition that such PT provide care only under the supervision of a PT who is licensed. Failure to obtain licensure during that period is justification for termination of the temporary appointment
Preferred Experience/Qualifications: ICU, critical care, med surge and acute care experience preferred.
GS-11 Experience: None beyond the basic requirements above.
Assignment. PTs at this level are responsible for providing assessment and treatment intervention. PTs plan and modify treatment based on a patient’s response to intervention and/or change in medical condition. PTs at this level may be given general assignments in any physical therapy program area where advanced specialized knowledge is not required or may serve as the sole PT such as in an outpatient clinic. Licensed PTs may provide oversight and delegate patient care responsibilities to a Physical Therapist Assistant, and/or delegate non-patient care duties to non-licensed staff. PTs that are not licensed must practice under the close supervision of a licensed PT
GS-12 Experience: Applicants must possess one year of experience equivalent to the next lower grade at the GS-11 and hold a valid unrestricted state license. In addition to the experience above, the candidate must demonstrate the following KSAs:
- Ability to make autonomous clinical decisions in a Direct Access environment. This includes ability to independently evaluate and treat patients who seek physical therapy services.
- Skill in performing examinations and evaluations of individuals who have or may develop impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions related to conditions of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and/or integumentary systems while considering the effects attributable to unique psychosocial and environmental factors.
- Ability to interpret findings from examination and evaluation, select appropriate test and measures, and integrate findings into the physical therapy plan of care for the full range of patient populations.
- Ability to establish a diagnosis within the scope of physical therapy and identify the appropriate rehabilitation intervention, including referral to another provider for further consultation as clinically indicated.
- Ability to determine physical therapy prognosis by incorporating examination findings with the patient’s preferences in order to set clinically appropriate treatment goals, optimize outcomes and maximize functional independence.
- Ability to independently provide clinical oversight of Physical Therapy Assistants as well as students on clinical affiliations who are in Doctoral PT Programs or PTA Programs.
Assignment. At the full performance level, PTs are responsible for independently providing assessment and treatment interventions to inpatients and outpatients received through healthcare provider referrals and patient self-referrals. Guided by differential and movement diagnoses, PTs perform examinations and evaluations of individuals who have or may develop impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions related to conditions of the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and/or integumentary systems while considering the effects attributable to unique personal and environmental factors. PTs interpret findings from examination, diagnostic studies/medical tests and, during evaluation, select appropriate clinical tests and measures, and then integrate findings into the physical therapy plan of care for the full range of patient populations. PTs establish a diagnosis within the scope of physical therapy and identify the appropriate intervention to treat and/or refer to another provider for further consultation when needed. They determine physical therapy prognosis by incorporating examination findings with the patient’s preferences for meaningful level of function in order to set clinically appropriate treatment goals and optimize outcomes. Physical therapists select appropriate equipment needed to substitute for loss of function or to substitute for limited function of individuals they treat. Staff PTs at this level practice autonomously, making recommendations and referrals to other medical specialties/services as clinically indicated during ongoing assessment of patients under their care. The staff PT may also develop and provide individualized clinical training experiences for physical therapy students in facilities with established clinical experience rotations. PTs at this level may be given general assignments in any/all areas where physical therapy services are deemed necessary, and/or may serve as the sole PT at a less complex facility. Individuals may perform ancillary assignments as deemed appropriate given the needs of a facility on an occasional basis, where the amount of work is not substantial (less than 25% of the duty time).
The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-12. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is in the range of GS-11 to GS-12.
References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G12- Physical Therapist Qualification Standard.
Physical Requirements: This position frequently requires minimal (under 15 lbs.) to moderate lifting (15-45 lbs.) Normally such lifting will involve but not be limited to assisting with transfers or gait training of the client in the physical therapy session. Must be able to walk (up to 8 hours); Stand (up to 8 hours); and tolerate repeated bending.
The environment usually involves everyday risks of discomfort which requires safety precautions typical of hospital, offices, and meeting rooms. There is the occasional risk of physical harm from a violent client which may require special precaution and training. Special precautions are required regarding infectious diseases through client contact and airborne organisms.