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The number of federal jobs open to professional counselors has increased noticeably in the past six months, according to Rebecca Daniel-Burke, the director of professional development at the American Counseling Association. As part of her job, Daniel-Burke routinely keeps tabs on the number of federal postings open to professional counselors. Most of the postings are for positions working with veterans and their families, either with branches of the military or the Department of Veterans Affairs VA.

Previously, the majority of VA job postings for mental health practitioners sought social workers or psychologists. In , Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed P. Although the law was passed nine years ago, implementation has been slow going. Just this year, the VA started a pilot program to train counselors in VA facilities.

Daniel-Burke thinks the recent increase in counselor positions at USAJOBS is due to a number of factors, one of which is the recent pressure on the VA to improve care, including mental health care, for veterans.

Last year, President Barack Obama and other legislators called for an overhaul of the VA after reports came to light that veterans were waiting weeks for an appointment and, in some cases, even dying while waiting to be seen. ACA government affairs staff meets quarterly with VA officials, he says. Federal jobs offer secure, well-paid positions featuring good benefits and opportunities for advancement, says Daniel-Burke.

She offers several suggestions for counselors interested in securing a federal job:. Bethany Bray is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Contact her at bbray counseling.

Is that going to go away or is that the standard they are going to stick with at USA jobs? I wish there were some way to qualify for these positions, especially since the state says we are qualified by issuing us the license. I have heard of CACREP but hopefully if anything the government and the military allows people who desire to work for that population even without actual CACREP accredited degrees, if they are at least equivalent or have what would be considered equal to a CACREP degree in requirements met, they will be seriously considered for the position.

It sets the general standard for the counseling profession for all 50 states due to the growing needs of licensure portability. Marriage and Family Therapist and Social workers have standards in place for their profession. But yet….. While there are definitely license individuals that have been in the field for so many years, there are always exceptions to the rules. With so many new for-profit schools, they are pushing out counselors faster than anything and states have very limited standards to measure against.

Our profession is growing and we should have a single professional identity, which is important to unify all these different acronyms for our field. I have applied for a few positions within the VA. From what I have heard from colleagues that work in federal positions, counselors are usually hired at a grade 11 while social workers are hired at a grade THe federal government still has a ways to go to include counselors in the federal system.

I think all LPC should get together and go to DC and fight for what we know is wrong, and maybe the people in DC does not know what is going on just as before at the VA or at least write letters. I did my internship at the VA. There is a way around the CACREP requiement if you are able to get someone there in a position of authority to vouch for you a process involving paperwork.

They tried it at the VA where I was and were shut down immediately. I have applied for multiple licensed professional mental health counselor positions for the past 2 years and continuously get rejected as ineligible. This is very disappointing. I have family members who are pharmacists for the VA and 2 sons who are commissioned officers in the Army.

She was very rude and if this is the type of people that are taking care of our veteran population no wonder they have so many issues and problems. This must change let us in make us a part of this growing field and I even have my Bachelors in social work and although I am in grad school I tried to get an internship which did not happen and I for one cannot work with rude people such as the one that spoke with me. I think that some of them are afraid we will replace them, when we can work together and make a difference.

We need to write more letters to congressmen about this issue, I have student loans out the bozoo and yet I am saddened about I may not be able to work because of this one issue. I did work as a Victim Advocate, but recently had to move because my husband is in the military and we PCSed. I plan to attempt to get a position as a MFLC when I am eligible, but if not all the work of getting my masters and licensed may be for nothing if I cannot use it to help my Veteran brothers and sisters.

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