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5 Physical Therapy Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

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How do you motivate clients who see slow progress in trying to regain their mobility?


Your physical therapy assistant will play an important support role in healthcare services. Many of the clients who are coming into your physical therapy office are looking to improve their health and fitness to achieve more satisfaction with their lives. Some will have gone through enormous physical and emotional distress, which may lead to them having difficulties performing the exercises necessary for their recovery. A candidate should be able to motivate them to continue their therapy sessions and be emotional support. What to look for in an answer:

  • Outlines clear strategy for motivating clients
  • Recognizes physical therapy's ancillary roles in post-trauma emotional recovery
  • Has an uplifting and cheerful personality


"When clients see slow progress, I talk to them about their long-term goals to help them visualize the life they want and motivate them to continue with the sessions."


What types of physical therapy-related certifications do you currently hold?


Since your physical therapy assistant will be working in the healthcare support industry, it is important that they are well-trained and have the necessary background to provide clients with the help they need. Often, clients are coming in with old injuries or are still recovering from recent accidents. It is important that your candidate is able to help clients work through their routines to experience maximum results toward recovery and prevent clients from aggravating existing injuries. What to look for in an answer:

  • Holds certifications from accredited institutions
  • Understands how professionalism can help speed up the recovery process
  • Is interested in pursuing further certifications or pursuing physical therapy as a long-term career


"I currently hold an associate degree in physical therapy from my local community college and am looking to complete my nutritionist certification this fall to complement it."


Do you have experience working with elderly patients or those who have joint replacements?


With society's increasing life expectancy and the move for baby boomers to retire from the workforce, healthcare support organizations will see an increasing need for services that support this segment of the population. The types of services and therapy programs offered to individuals suffering from chronic joint pain and the muscle weakness that comes with the onset of age will necessarily be different than those offered to people with other physical conditions, so your physical therapy assistants should be prepared to serve a diverse set of clientele. What to look for in an answer:

  • Identifies their level of experience working with elderly clients
  • Is flexible when dealing with diverse needs
  • Has a clear outline of how to set a regime for elderly clients


"In my last practice, I mainly worked with patients who had joint replacements and arthritis, so I believe I have the skill set necessary to make a targeted therapy regimen for elderly clients."


Do you have any experience working with clients who are amputees?


Your physical therapy practice will see a variety of clients who will need to receive specialized care programs to help them regain mobility and to improve their physical condition. For amputees, your organization will likely need to provide a regimen that takes into full consideration any challenges they may have with balance and adapt different machines so that clients can use them. Your ideal candidate should have experience working with amputees or have the ability to create creative therapy sessions to help clients feel respected and valued. What to look for in an answer:

  • Identifies their level of experience in working with amputees
  • Empathizes with client needs
  • Approaches therapy sessions creatively


"While I was receiving my PTA certification, I volunteered at an organization that dealt specifically with amputees. My specialization has since been in water therapy, which works very well with clients who have a hard time balancing."


Have you ever recommended that clients get supporting therapy from nutritionists or chiropractors?


Since physical therapy is necessarily an ancillary product to direct medical care, some clients may come in with questions about how best to balance out their health regimen. This may include recommendations for nutritionists or other health services. Depending on the level of experience that your candidate and others in the organization have in the fields requested by clients, it may be important to identify when to leverage connections in the industry and refer clients elsewhere for care. What to look for in an answer:

  • Cites past examples
  • Clearly explains how they handled past situations
  • Identifies possible industry connections


"I don't have a nutrition certification, so when one of my clients who had been struggling with eating disorders came in asking for help, I referred her to my personal nutritionist."

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