27 Physical Therapist Interview Questions & Answers

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27 Physical Therapist Interview Questions & Answers

Knowing what physical therapist interview questions you can expect when applying for your dream job can help you prepare better to ace your interview.

27 Physical Therapist Interview Questions & Answers

With that in mind, we’ll look at some common physical therapist interview questions and how to answer them in this article. By the end, you’ll know how to make the best impression when interviewing for a job as a physical therapist.

What Skills Are Needed For The Physical Therapist Position?

Having the skills, qualifications, and experience for the role is essential.

However, employers typically want to know more about candidates than just what’s on their resume. Here are the most important elements employers seek when interviewing for the Physical Therapist position.

Physical therapist certifications

Any certifications you have or are working on will be necessary for employers to know about. Interviewers may ask questions about their credentials and knowledge of physical therapy techniques and principles.

Communication skills

A physical therapist must communicate effectively with patients, other healthcare professionals, and administrative staff. Be prepared to explain how your communication skills have helped you in previous positions and how they will help you as a physical therapist.

Compassion skills

Physical therapists need to be able to show empathy, understanding, and patience with their patients. Explain why these qualities are essential to you and how your compassion has helped others in the past.


Physical therapy can often involve long recovery periods for patients. As a physical therapist, demonstrating patience is essential when helping them progress through their rehabilitation program.

Talk about any experiences that have made you more patient or give examples of how your patience has helped people in the past.

Physical stamina

Being a physical therapist requires being on one’s feet most of the day. Explain any physical activities or fitness routines you do to maintain your stamina and show that you’re prepared for the job.

Time-management skills

Physical therapists often have much on their plate, from patient care to paperwork. Talk about the strategies and techniques that help you manage your time to provide optimal patient care.

Attention to details

Physical therapists must be detail-oriented to provide accurate diagnoses and treatments for their patients. Employers will likely ask questions regarding how closely you pay attention to more information related to patient care.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are essential when working with people, such as building relationships with patients and colleagues and managing conflicts. Discuss your soft skills and explain how they’ve helped you excel in the past.

By being prepared to answer these common physical therapist interview questions, you’ll be able to demonstrate your qualifications and show employers why you’re the perfect fit for their organization.

27 Physical Therapist Interview Questions and Answers

Let’s now look at the questions you might be asked during your interview. For each question, we’ll share why this is important and provide a model answer that can help you craft your response.

General Interview Questions

1. As a physical therapist, what do you find most enjoyable?

Why this is important: Employers want to know what motivates you and why you’re passionate about physical therapy.

Model Answer: I love seeing my clients progress in their recovery, and it’s gratifying when they can achieve their long-term goals. Nothing is more gratifying than helping someone regain mobility or heal from an injury. Additionally, I enjoy working with various patients, so no two days are the same for me.

2. Could you please tell me about your strengths and weaknesses?

Why this is important: It helps employers get insight into how well you might perform in this position and any areas that could improve.

Model Answer: My most significant strength is building relationships with patients. I believe in creating a safe and comfortable environment where they can openly discuss their needs, which helps me create more effective treatment plans.

As for weaknesses, I need to continue improving my time-management skills. Knowing the importance of staying organized, I’m always looking for ways to manage my workload better so that no one gets neglected.

3. What conditions have you successfully treated?

Why this is important: It’s essential to demonstrate your experience with widespread conditions and treatments in physical therapy, as this will help employers get a sense of your expertise.

Model Answer: Throughout my career, some of the most common conditions I’ve successfully treated include sciatica, tendinitis, rotator cuff injuries, neck pain, and whiplash. Additionally, I have experience in patients with chronic health issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease managing their condition through physical therapy.

4. What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Why this is important: Employers want to understand how you handle difficult situations that might arise in a physical therapy setting.

Model Answer: The most challenging part of my job is staying on top of new medical developments and technology related to physical therapy. I need to keep up-to-date on these advancements so that I’m able to provide the most effective treatments for my patients. To do this, I attend professional conferences and read relevant research papers.

5. So far in your career, how many clients have you worked with?

Why this is important: Employers want to ensure you have enough experience in the field to succeed in this role.

Model Answer: I have worked with over 200 clients from various backgrounds and health conditions in my five years of practice. From elderly patients recovering from falls to athletes looking to improve performance, each patient has been a unique challenge I’ve successfully overcome.

6. Tell me about your positive experience working with a client

Why this is important: Employers also want to ensure you can provide excellent client service.

Model Answer: A client came in with severe back pain and limited mobility due to a disc injury. After just two months of physical therapy, they could reduce their pain and increase their range of motion. It was incredible to see the patient’s progress during such a short time, and I will never forget it.

7. In 10 years, where do you envision yourself?

Why this is important: This question helps employers get an understanding of your long-term goals for your career.

Model Answer: In 10 years, I see myself continuing to practice physical therapy and helping as many people as possible. I’m also interested in growing my expertise by taking on more administrative or leadership roles.

Ultimately, I’d like to spread awareness of physical therapy so that everyone understands the importance of its role in healthcare.

Experience and Background Interview Questions

8. What type of injury do your patients typically have the most?

Why this is important: This question helps employers understand the injuries and conditions you’re most experienced in treating.

Model Answer: Most of my patients have musculoskeletal injuries, such as back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and tendinitis. Additionally, I have experience helping those with chronic health issues like diabetes and obesity manage their condition through physical therapy.

9. Could you explain how you organize your physical therapy sessions with patients?

Why this is important: Employers want to ensure you are organized and efficient when managing patient sessions.

Model Answer: When organizing my physical therapy sessions with patients, I start by assessing their current status, both physical and mental. This helps me evaluate their current functioning level and plan how to proceed with treatment.

From there, I will tailor my treatments to each patient’s needs and goals while monitoring their progress.

10. Can you tell me which of your patients had the most significant impact on you and why?

This is important: Employers want to ensure you are compassionate and motivated in working with your patients.

Model Answer: One of my patients with the most significant impact on me was an older woman suffering from chronic back pain due to osteoarthritis. She worked hard in her sessions, never giving up despite tough times.

Her dedication inspired me to continue pushing her toward success and showed me the importance of never giving up.

11. Which training or educational practices do you follow to update yourself on the latest best practices?

Why this is important: Employers want to ensure you continuously learn and stay up-to-date with the most recent physical therapy techniques.

Model Answer: I stay informed by regularly attending seminars, workshops, and conferences related to physical therapy, as well as reading research papers and articles in relevant journals. Additionally, I am part of a network of other physical therapists with whom we share ideas and resources. This helps me use the most effective methods when treating my patients.

12. Is there any specific condition you think cannot be treated effectively with physical therapy?

Why this is important: Employers want to ensure you understand your physical therapist’s limitations.

Model Answer: While physical therapy can help treat many conditions, there are some cases where other interventions may be needed. For example, severe brain injuries or degenerative diseases such as ALS may require additional medical treatments and medications to manage the symptoms. I would refer my patient to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.

13. Could you explain the critical elements of your physical therapy training and how you apply them in your practice?

Why this is important: Employers want to know your approach to physical therapy and how you integrate your training into your practice.

Model Answer: The critical element of my physical therapy training is understanding the importance of a patient-centered approach. That means considering the individual needs, goals, and preferences of each person I work with.

To apply this in my practice, I focus on building trust and rapport with my patients to create an environment conducive to healing and progress. My goal is always to empower my patients to take control of their health by providing clear instructions and guidance.

Role-specific interview questions

14. Can you explain your approach to managing movement disorders and what factors you consider?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you have a comprehensive understanding of managing movement disorders and can think critically about the factors involved.

Model Answer: My approach to managing movement disorders involves assessing the physical capabilities, medical history, lifestyle habits, emotional well-being, and other pertinent information to develop an individualized treatment plan.

I also consider any limitations or restrictions affecting their ability to complete specific exercises or activities.

Considering all these things, I can create an effective and tailored plan that helps my patients achieve their goals. In addition, I regularly monitor progress and provide feedback throughout treatment to ensure that my patients receive quality care.

15. If one of your patients suddenly becomes agitated and aggressive, what steps would you take to calm them down?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you can remain composed in a difficult situation and take the appropriate steps to ensure the patient’s safety.

Model Answer: If one of my patients becomes agitated or aggressive, I would first try to de-escalate the situation by speaking calmly and reassuringly. I would also ensure the patient has enough space to feel safe and secure.

Depending on the severity of their behavior, I may need to call for additional help from other medical professionals, such as nurses or social workers, if necessary. In any case, my goal is always to provide compassionate care while also prioritizing the safety of everyone involved.

16. How would you handle a patient refusing to work with you?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you can handle challenging situations and maintain professional boundaries with your patients.

Model Answer: If a patient refuses to work with me, I will try to understand their reasoning for not wanting treatment by asking questions and listening carefully.

Depending on the circumstances, I may need to involve other medical professionals or family members to find an agreeable solution. My goal is always to ensure that my patient’s needs are met while still attempting to provide quality care.

Ultimately, if they continue refusing treatment despite all efforts, I will respect their decision and refer them to another provider they may be more comfortable with.

17. What can help patients afraid of the treatment plan feel more comfortable?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you understand how to be empathetic and reassuring when working with anxious patients.

Model Answer: To help a patient afraid of the treatment plan feel more comfortable, I would explain the procedure in detail, providing them with all the necessary information and answering any questions they may have. I also try to be mindful of their feelings by listening carefully and offering reassurance.

Additionally, I strive to create a safe and supportive environment so my patients can ask questions and express their concerns openly without judgment. Finally, if appropriate, I will implement relaxation techniques or suggest alternative treatments that may be less intimidating.

By taking these steps, I aim to ensure that my patient feels comfortable and confident with their treatment plan.

18. If a colleague is not following the treatment standards, what actions would you take?

Why this is important: Employers want to ensure you will handle difficult situations professionally without compromising your integrity or the quality of care.

Model Answer: If I noticed a colleague was not following the treatment standards, I would discuss the situation privately to determine why they were deviating from protocol. Depending on their response, I may need to involve other medical professionals, such as supervisors or administrators, to ensure proper protocols are followed.

Ultimately, my goal is always to provide quality care while upholding professional boundaries and protecting the safety of all involved.

19. Can you explain your method of creating a patient treatment plan?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you can create comprehensive treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs.

Model Answer: I initially evaluate my patient’s physical capabilities and medical history to create an effective treatment plan. This allows me to understand their condition better and determine the best course of action moving forward. I then develop a customized treatment plan with achievable goals considering their current abilities and limitations.

Additionally, I strive to involve the patient in the process so that they can understand what will be expected from them. Throughout the treatment, I also monitor their progress and make necessary adjustments to ensure they get the most out of their therapy.

20. What are some of the challenges that you think come with working with geriatric patients?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you understand the unique needs of elderly patients and how these can be addressed in a professional setting.

Model Answer: Working with geriatric patients presents unique challenges, particularly since many may have multiple chronic conditions or physical limitations requiring specialized care. Therefore, I must assess each patient’s needs and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Additionally, I need to be mindful of the social and emotional factors, as many elderly patients may experience loneliness or depression. Finally, I need to remain patient and understanding when working with geriatric patients since they may require more time for tasks such as mobility or communication.

I can better care for my geriatric patients by recognizing these challenges.

21. Are there any specific conditions in which you are uncomfortable providing physical therapy treatment?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you are aware of any limitations or areas of discomfort that you may have so they can ensure your safety and the quality of care provided.

Model Answer: I am comfortable providing physical therapy treatment for most conditions. However, I do not feel completely confident in a few specific areas. For instance, I am not as familiar with vestibular rehabilitation, so I would prefer to refer those cases to other specialists who are better equipped to handle them.

If a patient has a complex medical history or multiple conditions requiring specialized treatments, I may discuss the case with my supervisor before proceeding. Ultimately, my goal is always to provide safe and effective care while also ensuring that I am not putting myself in a situation where I may be unable to provide the best possible treatment.

22. Can you describe a complex case you have worked on? How did you approach it?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you can handle complex cases and successfully develop the best treatment plan for your patients.

Model Answer: One particularly challenging case I worked on involved a patient who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and was experiencing difficulty performing basic daily activities, such as walking or getting dressed.

To start, I conducted an initial evaluation of the patient’s physical capabilities to get a better understanding of their existing condition.

I developed a comprehensive treatment plan from there, including exercises to improve strength and coordination and activities to help balance and gait. Finally, I provided the patient with education on how to perform their activities of daily living safely. I encouraged them to practice at home to maximize the effects of our sessions.

23. Do you need more education or training in specific areas?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you are open-minded to furthering your knowledge and skillset to provide optimal patient care.

Model Answer: Overall, I feel confident in my physical therapy capabilities. However, there are certain areas where I am still looking to gain more experience and knowledge. For instance, manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization or soft tissue manipulation are not something I have had much exposure to, so I am actively researching different methods and techniques to become more familiar with them.

Furthermore, while I already understand the anatomy and physiology involved in physical therapy treatments, new research studies are constantly being released that can help shape how we approach certain cases. As such, I stay up-to-date on the latest developments by attending conferences or reading journals whenever possible.

24. Can you share your specific areas of interest in physical therapy?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you are passionate about physical therapy and have clear goals for what you want to achieve in the field.

Model Answer: My main area of interest in physical therapy is helping people experience a better quality of life after suffering an injury or undergoing a procedure that has affected their mobility. Taking a holistic approach to treatment means looking at the entire person, not just the injured area. This includes considering how lifestyle factors such as diet and stress may impact the patient’s healing process.

Additionally, I am very passionate about preventive care and education—I strive to empower my patients by providing them with the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions about their health. My ultimate goal is for all my patients to feel confident managing their conditions so they can return to living on their own terms.

Behavioral interview questions

25. What is the recommended approach for caring for a patient after surgery?

Why this is important: Employers need to know that you understand the appropriate post-operative care for a patient who has undergone surgery.

Model Answer: The recommended approach for caring for a patient after surgery highly depends on the type of procedure performed and any instructions given by the surgeon or other medical professionals involved in the patient’s care.

Generally speaking, it is essential to closely monitor the wound site and watch for signs of infection or complications. It is also necessary to keep track of the patient’s pain levels and ensure they have managed adequately while encouraging them to start moving and performing activities within their abilities to begin their recovery process.

Lastly, emotional support should be provided, and patient concerns should be addressed promptly.

26. What approach should you take when dealing with a patient whose diagnosis is unfamiliar?

Why this is important: Employers want to know that you are willing to do the necessary research to become familiar with a patient’s condition and can develop an appropriate care plan.

Model Answer: When dealing with a patient whose diagnosis is unfamiliar, I always start by doing as much research as possible to understand the condition and its associated treatment options.

From there, I create a personalized plan for the patient and provide them with the information they need regarding their diagnosis to feel empowered and supported in confronting their health challenges.

Additionally, I consult with other medical professionals with more experience treating this type of problem to ensure that the patient receives the most effective care possible.

27. Can you recall an instance in which you provided exceptional care to a patient? What was the result?

Why this is important: Employers want to see examples of how your skills and experience have allowed you to provide high-quality care to patients.

Model Answer: I once worked with a patient who had recently suffered a stroke and struggled with significant physical limitations and depression. To create the most effective treatment plan, I got to know them better to understand their goals and what kind of recovery they wanted from therapy.

We then worked together on building strength and mobility while addressing any emotional issues they may face. This multi-faceted approach to their care resulted in a successful recovery and gave them the confidence they needed to lead independent lives.

Questions for You to Ask in a Physical Therapist Job Interview

Knowing the expectations of the role is essential to your success as a physical therapist. When interviewing for a physical therapist job, asking the right questions will help you gain insight into the company and its culture.

Asking questions also shows that you are an engaged interviewer, so be sure to ask thoughtful questions demonstrating your interest in the position.

Here are some of the best questions to ask your potential employer and why they are essential:

When do you plan to fill this position?

Why this is important: Asking this question gives you an insight into the company’s timeline for filling the position and helps you determine how quickly you may need to act.

To whom will I be submitting my reports and informing on daily tasks?

Why this is important: Knowing who your direct supervisor or manager is can give you an idea of the team dynamics and expectations in the role.

Could you please provide information on how you train new employees?

Why this is important: Understanding how new hires are trained will help you decide if the company’s approach to training aligns with your own experience and values.

How do you conduct performance evaluations?

This is important: Knowing the company’s expectations and evaluation process can help you understand how your performance will be measured.

Can you please describe the management style used in this unit?

Why this is important: This will allow you to gauge if the managerial approach aligns with your working style, which can impact your success in the physical therapist position.

Can you describe the ideal candidate for this position?

Why this is important: Asking about the qualifications for success in this role helps guide your preparation to ensure your skills and experience meet their standards.

How To Prepare for the Physical Therapist Job Interview

Preparing for a physical therapist job interview is essential to landing a job as a physical therapist. Knowing how to present your skills and experience is vital, as is demonstrating how your abilities align with the company’s values and expectations. The STAR method effectively answers questions during the interview and reflects your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Understanding the STAR method is critical to successfully answering behavioral interview questions. The STAR method stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This technique helps you describe situations you have encountered in the past, tasks you needed to accomplish, actions you took to address the problem, and the positive results that came from your efforts.

When preparing for a physical therapist job interview, it’s essential to research the company’s values, goals, and mission statements. Explore their website and social media pages to learn about their culture, services, and patient populations.

Understanding the company’s mission and how you can contribute to it will help you showcase your skills and experience better.

You should also prepare your responses to standard physical therapy interview questions, such as how you diagnose and treat patients, communicate with colleagues and patients, or manage patient care.

Use the STAR method to answer the questions, emphasizing how your skills and experience align with the job description’s requirements.

Physical Therapist Interview Questions FAQ

What are the core skills of a physical therapist?

Physical therapists must possess a variety of skills to work effectively with patients. These core skills include:

  • A strong understanding of anatomy and physiology
  • The ability to assess, diagnose, and treat physical impairments, disabilities, and dysfunctions
  • Expertise in therapeutic exercise and the development of personalized treatment plans
  • Proficiency in manual therapy techniques such as massage/soft tissue mobilization, joint manipulation/mobilization, and muscle stretching
  • Knowledgeable about modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or laser therapy
  • Experience with rehabilitative equipment such as treadmills or functional training apparatus
  • An understanding of pain management strategies, including patient education on self-management
  • Familiarity with medical documentation, billing, and coding processes.

What are the best qualities of a physical therapist?

Physical therapists must have excellent interpersonal skills to build relationships with their clients. Additionally, they should possess strong problem-solving abilities to develop creative solutions for their client’s needs.

They should also demonstrate sound judgment when determining the appropriate interventions for each case.

Finally, physical therapists must be compassionate and patient as they work with their patients throughout their treatment plans. These qualities all help contribute to effective patient care that promotes positive therapeutic outcomes.


While physical therapist interview questions come in many forms, they all seek to uncover the same qualities and skills a candidate possesses.

By reviewing the above information and being prepared to answer questions, physical therapists can demonstrate the qualities that make them successful. With practice and preparation, physical therapists can then confidently present their skills and experience to potential employers.

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