Top PTA Interview Questions (With Example Answers)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A physical therapist assistant or a PTA works with physical therapists to help patients recover from their injuries and ailments. These professionals use different techniques to improve a patient's motor coordination, sensory perception and physical strength. During an interview, hiring managers may ask a variety of questions to assess how you monitor a patient's progress and why you are passionate about working as a PTA. In this article, we list some general questions, cover in-depth PTA interview questions and review multiple example answers to help you prepare for the interview process and make a good impression on hiring managers.

General PTA Interview Questions

Here are some general PTA interview questions that allow interviewers to assess your personality and work ethic:

  • What career goals have you set for yourself?

  • Tell us about three instances where you have taken initiative on a project.

  • The routine of a PTA is stressful. How do you manage the stress at the workplace?

  • What motivated you to become a physical therapist assistant?

  • What do you think are your areas of improvement in the workplace?

  • List some greatest strengths you possess as a PTA.

  • Tell us about how you build relationships with team members and patients

  • What are some methods you follow to work alone?

  • What makes you a suitable candidate for the PTA position in our organisation?

  • Tell us about your hobbies and interests.

Related: How To Prepare For A Job Interview

Background and experience questions

Below is a list of some background and experience questions for the PTA position that help interviewers to evaluate your educational qualifications and work experience:

  • Have you ever provided care to patients living with dementia or other mental health conditions?

  • Do you travel to your patients' homes to help them recover from their injuries?

  • What are the strengths that help you to give care to a geriatric population?

  • What is your approach to giving care to patients with a diagnosis that is unfamiliar to you?

  • What types of patients have you worked with and what were some routine duties associated with your last PTA position?

  • How many years of long-term care experience do you possess?

  • Do you use case management software tools? If yes, name one program that you like to use the most.

  • List some devices and equipment you use to help patients recover from injuries.

  • Do you have additional certifications or licences?

  • Tell us about the different clinical settings you have worked in.

Related: How To Succeed In Your First Interview

In-Depth Questions During A PTA Interview

Here are some in-depth questions interviewers ask you to better understand your approach towards treatment, goals for career development and outlook on the profession:

  • How do you make sure that you comply with laws and regulations?

  • Tell us about some company policies that you followed in your last PTA position.

  • What is your communication strategy for caregivers?

  • How do you build relationships with caregivers?

  • How do you organise your caseload when starting your day?

  • Explain how you monitor the progress of your patients?

  • What techniques do you employ to stay organised, plan your work and prioritise tasks?

  • Explain how your therapy philosophy helps you to stay efficient.

  • What, according to you, are some challenges that the physical therapy industry is experiencing?

  • What is the approach to meeting new patients and gaining their trust?

Related: 9 Common Mistakes To Avoid In An Interview

PTA Interview Questions And Example Answers

Here are some questions and example answers to help you model your own during a PTA interview:

Tell us about your previous patient or clinical experience.

A question like this allows interviewers to understand your PTA experience better and if you are a suitable candidate for the position in their organisation. A suitable answer to this question focuses on describing your clinical experience briefly. If you are a fresher, focus on the internship experience and educational qualifications that show your skills and strengths.

Example answer: "I completed my graduation recently and after that, I worked as an intern for two years to gain clinical experience. During these years, I worked with over 20 patients every month. The facility served geriatric patients and most of them had cognitive conditions, like dementia. My internship experience also includes the knowledge that I gained working in a hospital setting. I closely worked with the lead physical therapist to help patients recover from injuries and surgeries. This helped me to learn a lot about working with wound-care patients."

What is your approach to keeping your patients motivated?

With this question, the interviewer intends to gauge your interpersonal skills. Prepare an answer that shows how you encourage your patients to overcome challenges. Think about specific examples of times when you motivated your patients. Briefly explain how you encouraged patients by empathising with them.

Example answer: "I worked with a patient who was a creative individual. She painted and composed music, but because of an accident, she was not able to coordinate her hand movements. This was a temporary impairment, but she still felt discouraged and worried. Seeing that, I started talking about her work, what kind of music she composes and what themes she likes to paint.

These conversations invigorated her and we were able to plan strategies for her to express her creativity. Her creative sessions, along with the therapy, resulted in holistic treatment. As a PTA, I take time to know my patients and hear their stories. This helps them to feel motivated and enables me to determine their treatment goals."

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

How do you manage a situation when there is a disagreement with a coworker?

In a hospital setting, there are several PTAs who work as a team, so an interviewer may ask this question to assess how well you work with others. An appropriate answer to this question involves an example of a conflict with a coworker and the steps you took to resolve the issue. Focus on conflict resolution rather than the conflict to effectively demonstrate your problem-solving and communication skills.

Example answer: "A few years ago, I worked at a clinic where there was a senior PTA. After a few days, I asked for her feedback to know more about my areas of improvement and strengths. When I received the feedback, she did not mention my strengths and only highlighted my shortcomings. This discouraged me and then I decided to have a conversation with her. I explained why her feedback upset me.

She acknowledged my feelings and we had a productive conversation. This allowed both of us to develop a system that resulted in critical feedback with praise. After that meeting, her assessments boosted my confidence. It also helped her to improve her relationships with other members of our team."

Related: 23 Interview Tips: How To Get The Job

What is your strategy to handle challenging cases?

This question allows the interviewer to assess your many personality traits, like open-mindedness and compassion. An impressive answer to this question includes how you solve problems by understanding them from a patient's perspective. In your answer, also talk about how you remain objective to understand the many physical and psychological challenges of a patient.

Example answer: "Sometimes patients feel reluctant and such situations may often get challenging. To circumvent it, I try to acknowledge the perspective of my patients. This allows me to determine their inhibitions and helps me to remind myself that we both are on the same team. I remain compassionate towards such patients, as this attribute enables me to gain their trust. This way, they show confidence in my treatment."

How do you monitor the treatment progress of your patients?

When the interviewer asks this question, they intend to evaluate your organisational skills along with your ability to assess your cases. A good answer to this question focuses on explaining your process for evaluating the progress of your patients and documenting the observations. Give an answer that shows your attention to detail skills.

Example answer: "I utilise the databases that clinics and hospitals use to maintain patient records. I am proficient in retrieving information from these databases to understand the diagnosis and treatment of a patient. These clinics and hospitals also had systems that allowed patients to enter their progress online in between appointments. This feature has helped me to monitor their progress accurately and discuss their observations before starting their therapy."

Related: How To Crack A Job Interview

What do you like the most about working as a PTA?

With this question, the interviewer intends to understand your career goals and what motivates you to excel in this position. To give an impressive answer, focus on expressing your passion for this field and why you continue to work in this position. Use may use examples and stories that narrate the times when your work made you happy. Talking about the joy you feel working as a PTA may be an effective approach to answering this question.

Example answer: "To realise that there are people depending on me to feel better is a great sense of responsibility. My effective treatment makes a measurable difference in the lives of my patients. When I see them getting better, it is a heartwarming experience. Since PTAs work with different people, this profession also allows me to learn about different cultures and traditions. All of this adds to my experience and makes me a knowledgeable professional.

This job helps me to make lasting relationships with my patients. It is a profound feeling to serve my patients to the best of my abilities and improve the quality of their lives. To see my patients reach their goals, I feel part of their accomplishments. These factors motivate me to work even harder and keep me passionate about working as a PTA."

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