Top Physical Therapy Interview Questions and Answers

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Here are the top physical therapy (PT) interview questions to prepare for. For many patients, physical therapy is an essential element of their recovery. Physical therapy job interviews are designed to learn about your treatment approaches as well as your educational and training background. You can examine interview questions and prepare effective responses in advance to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in your physical therapy job interview.

pt interview questions

Physical therapy interview questions that are commonly asked

Questions will most likely vary from general inquiries about your skills and expertise to more detailed questions about specific scenarios, such as:

  • What motivates you to pursue a career as a physical therapist?
  • What is it about becoming a physical therapist that you like the most?
  • What ailments have you been able to treat successfully?
  • What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
  • How many clients have you dealt with so far in your career?
  • Describe your most memorable client interaction.
  • In ten years, where do you see yourself?
  • Do you have experience treating movement disorders and treating patients with hip or spinal issues?
  • Do you have experience treating geriatric patients?

pt interview questions

Detailed interview questions for physical therapists

In a physical therapy interview, you may get requested to provide additional information about your prior experiences as the interview progresses. To develop detailed and informative solutions, consider adopting the STAR approach. This technique discusses a specific circumstance, a task you were given, the activities you performed, and the outcomes you achieved.

In a physical therapy interview, you may get asked the following in-depth questions:

  • What is the most prevalent injury you see in your patients?
  • How do you arrange your physical therapy sessions while dealing with patients?
  • What are the techniques you utilize to manage patient expectations?
  • What did you score on your national physical therapy examination?
  • How do you find a patient's comprehensive history before developing a physical therapy training plan?
  • Which of your patients had the most significant impact on you, and why?
  • What training or educational techniques do you use to keep current on best practices?
  • Are there any ailments that you are hesitant to treat with physical therapy?
  • What do you consider the most significant aspect of your physical therapy education, and how do you apply it in your practice?
  • What led you to pursue physical therapy as a career?
  • How many patients do you treat on a regular basis?

pt interview questions

Physical therapist interview questions and sample answers

Use the STAR approach to help you write complete and insightful responses whenever feasible. Here are some typical physical therapy interview questions and how to respond to them:

1. How do you keep your patient engaged throughout a protracted physical therapy program by setting and managing patient expectations?

The interviewer may inquire about your treatment method and patient management. Use this question to discuss the traditional approaches you use with patients, as well as any deviations you make and your justification for doing so. This section of the interview might assist employers in getting a sense of how their patients would react to sessions with you.

pt interview questions

Example

"When I deal with patients who are on a protracted physical therapy plan, I focus on setting short, attainable goals," says one example. Patients can see their progress more efficiently with these goals, which helps them stay focused. I assist them in setting daily, weekly, and monthly plans as well as setting non-time-bound physical accomplishment targets. This keeps patients motivated since they don't anticipate to attain those goals anytime soon, and when they do, they experience a significant boost in motivation."

2. How do you deal with challenging individuals who aren't progressing in physical therapy?

When working in physical therapy, handling disagreements with patients is also essential. Your response should reveal how you address challenging patients in a practical and productive manner. Concentrate on identifying the tactics you've used in the past and those you'd like to attempt in the future to guarantee that all of your patients receive high-quality care.

Example

"Being unpleasant might be a result of the frustration they're experiencing as a result of their stagnation." By changing the patient's expectations and setting new, attainable goals, I am able to break through the plateau. As a result, the client may take incremental steps toward rehabilitation, recognize that they are progressing, regain motivation, and refocus on making progress."

3. What was the most challenging situation you've ever dealt with, and how did you manage it?

Physical therapy includes a variety of distinct obstacles that you may encounter during your career. This question tries to establish what challenges you may have had in the past and how you overcame them by applying your devotion and problem-solving skills. Concentrate on the problem's solution and how you solved it.

pt interview questions

Example

"The most difficult case I've worked with was a patient who was in a big vehicle accident and had both legs broken." She needed to work through many psychological trauma that she couldn't wait to deal with after physical treatment. I assisted the patient by keeping her focused on the positive aspects of her situation and creating realistic goals for each session. We changed her goals as she progressed, so that each session was both challenging and rewarding.

When she was near to a breakthrough, I also sought to enlist her family's help. Having them present for her milestones allowed her to recuperate physically as well as psychologically. We were able to keep on pace by resolving both concerns at the same time. She was able to stay motivated throughout her physical treatment in this manner."

4. How would you assist a patient who has suffered from [insert injury here]?

Some illnesses and injuries may necessitate specialized treatment or procedures. Identify a specific injury you've dealt with in the past and describe the technique you used to treat the patient. Use the strategies and abilities you learned in school, clinicals, and other professional and training experiences to answer this question.

Example

"I once had a patient who spent six weeks in a cast healing from a fractured wrist." She was eager to return to her profession, which required her to spend lengthy periods of time at a computer. Small, fast motions in her hands and wrists, as well as a full range of motion in that area, were required for these exercises.

I began by asking the patient about her most typical employment duties, and then we worked on exercises that targeted the systems utilized to complete those tasks. Then I'd have her try to imitate those actions to reestablish her body's rhythm."

How do I prepare for a physical therapist interview?

  • Dress ready to be a physical therapist.
  • Know the focus of the gym and the business.
  • Know a few things about current fitness trends.
  • Promote your certifications.
  • Practice with a mock interview.

Preparation Resources

The best job interview preparation resources.

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Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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