This question is being asked to hear more about your work and why you decided to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. Tell the interviewer how being a Physical Therapist Assistant is very rewarding. You work with patients one-on-one, see them progress through treatment and know that you are really making a difference in their lives. Whether your assisting a patient with a problem that is a result of injury or disease your role is to fosters the patient's return to maximal function. Talk about your current experience or where you see the career field going in the future. Be upbeat and positive and you’ll be sure to knock this one out of the park.
"I've always loved my anatomy and physiology classes. I decided to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist Assistant because of my desire to help people."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you know it is important to stay current with your skills as you may not have the opportunity to utilize them every day. Do you make a point to work along side a Physical Therapist to learn from them and ask questions? Do you take online CE's to keep up with your skills? Tell the interview about a few things you are doing to stay current and improve your skills.
"I've taken a step outside my comfort zone and assisted with treatment that I'm unfamiliar with. I've told myself that I'm not going to get familiar with it until I jump in and do it."
Sometimes being a good listener is a better skill to have than being a good presenter. Tell the interviewer that your a good listener especially with your patients. Listening to their concerns, pains and stories is what makes you a successful Physical Therapist Assistant.
"I've found that utilizing my active listening skills is imperative with my patients. I make a point to repeat the information back to them to make sure we are both on the same page."
"I am a good listener. I practice active listening during my treatment sessions to assure that the patient and I are on the same page."
"I am a good listener. I practice my active listening skills during my patient treatments to assure we are both on the same page."
With this question, the interviewer is asking you to explain why you are a good fit for their company. If you cannot properly answer this question, it can appear that you are not confident or serious about the position. Highlight your best skills that relate to the position you are applying for. If you have received any awards or recognitions for your accomplishments in relatable positions, mention them. Show enthusiasm about joining and contributing to the company. This is your chance to sell yourself so make it good.
"I'm the best candidate for you not only because I have the training but because I have the passion and patience to be an amazing Physical Therapist Assistant."
Time management is an essential skill in any workplace. As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have to prioritize your work and use your time wisely each day. Using your time wisely also means determining what tasks need to be done first, how to avoid distractions and how to get things done when new priorities pop up. Tell the interviewer how you prioritize your day.
"I can't stand to have to much downtime at work. In between patients I'm learning or helping my colleagues. I'm efficient with my time because I feel there is always something to do."
"I am efficient with my time. Staying on track and on time is important to me. My time is precious as well as my patients time so practicing my time management skills throughout the day is a way for me to keep on track."
This question is to gauge if you could take on additional responsibilities if need be. If your co-worker is going on maternity leave for 7 weeks would you be able to take on her patient workload? If a manager was needed on the night shift could you take on the role? Share the leadership qualities with the interviewer that you posses and assure them that you could step up to the plate if needed.
"Just last week I stepped up to cover an additional shift. My colleague called out sick and her shift needed to be covered. I know she would do the same for me."
"I took on additional responsibilities when one of my colleagues had to be out for the week with their sick child. I didn't think twice about it because that is what it means to be a part of a great team. We take care of one another."
When answering this question it's best to make this a professional achievement. To meet your greatest achievement tell the interviewer about the goals you set for yourself. It shows you take initiative. It shows you can follow through. It also shows that you are ambitious.
" After months of studying I passed my national licensure examination and became licensed in the state of California on my first try. Not procrastinating and putting my education on the back burner has become my greatest achievement."
This question is being asked of you to see how well you work with others. When answering this question you will want to say positive and upbeat- even if you don't like working in a team environment.
"I have enjoyed my most recent position as a Physical Therapist Assistant because I work alongside a great Physical Therapist and we communicate well. Everyone on my team is focused on the same mission, to deliver quality care to all of our patients. I enjoy working with others because it is fun and challenging."
Tell the interviewer about qualities and attributes of the people and environments that you thrive in. Are you motivated by the positive attitudes of others? Do you thrive when your boss empowers you by giving you autonomy over decisions? It's important to know what you need and what you want out of a work situation.
"My ideal work environment is one that fosters positive, professional working relationships. Mutual respect and an encouraging working and learning environment is my ideal work environment."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you my have the opportunity to work with patients needing Integumentary physical therapy. Tending to wounds, burns, wound irrigations, dressings and topical agents to remove the damaged or contaminated tissue and promote tissue healing are ways you may assist the Physical Therapist.
"I'm often the one on our team that provides instruction on edema control and how to properly use compression garments with our burn victims."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you may have experience with long term care. You provide assistance with daily life, including eating, bathing, dressing, general mobility, and any other day to day tasks. If you haven't had the opportunity to assist those who need long term care from chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions just let the interviewer know that you are excited to get the opportunity to and to learn.
"I was fortunate enough to perform my internship in an assisted living facility. I enjoyed providing care and interacting with the patients on a daily basis."
"I do not have any experience with long term care but it is something I've wanted to be a part of. Currently I work in an outpatient setting and I rarely see patients more than a few times. I enjoy reconnecting with patients each time and because of this I think I would enjoy long term care."
This is one of the most common questions asked during an interview so you need to have your answer memorized. To determine your strengths, think of the job related skills that others compliment you on. Are you a patient person? Good listener? Provide amazing customer service?
"My greatest strength is my ability to build professional patient/therapist relationships. Patients confide in me, respect me as a provider as well as a person."
"My greatest strength is my administrative skills. I provide very clear, concise and organized notes."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant, sharp observations skills are a must. Tell the interviewer you ability to give 100% to your patient and observe their movement during treatment and use the details observed to plan their treatment plans. Did your observations skills and quick thinking prevent a patient from falling? Feel free to share a story when your observations skills played a part in your treatment with a patient.
"I've been praised by leadership for my observations skills. There was a time that I made an observation of a patient unknowingly favoring the right side of his body and we were able to take that into account when we treated him."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you are right along side the patient working through their treatment plan. Being able to give clear and precise instructions is important in your job. Patients look to you to be the subject matter expert and to know exactly how to help them perform the required exercises.
"I am comfortable giving instruction to patients. My Physical Therapist relies on me to provide instruction after the session so he can move on to the next patient."
Your type of communication style will tell the interviewer what it will be like to work with you. Is your communication style passive and you go with the flow? Are you aggressive and try to dominate all communication? When answering this question tap into your inner assertive communication style. Having an assertive communication style is the least abrasive or hard to work with.
"I use good eye contact, use I statements and rarely interrupt."
"I foster clear communication between myself, the therapist and the patient. We need to know we all understand each other and are on the same page. Our good communication skills make treatment flow easily."
If becoming a Physical Therapist isn't on your priority list don't stress out about how to answer this question. If you're new to this position tell the interviewer that you'd like to stay put for a few years and become an expert Physical Therapist Assistant.
"I have thought about becoming a Physical Therapist, but for now I want to become a proficient assistant."
"I would like to become a Physical Therapist. I'm actually enrolled in night classes to further my education and become a Physical Therapist."
This question is your chance to sell yourself to the interviewer. Tell the interviewer about your professional skills, education and goals as a Physical Therapist Assistant. Bring something unique to the table to set yourself apart from the rest. How do you plan on making an impact at the work place? Keep your answer to 30-45 seconds. Make it big and wow the interviewers.
"I'm right out of school and come with a fresh mind and a new set of eyes. I'm eager and hard working."
Working within the medical career field you may encounter work stress. Tell the interviewer how you deal with your stress and use it to your advantage to motivate you. A little stress within the workplace can motivate you and keep things from getting boring. Managing your stress so it doesn't make you unhappy and unproductive is important. Tell the interviewer about a time you faced a stressful work situation and how you handled it.
"To manage my work stress I make a point to leave the clinic for lunch each day. I like to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air with my packed lunch and a book. Relaxing during my lunch hour gives me my second wind."
Your day as a Physical Therapist Assistant can be full of patients and administrative work. Figuring out a balance between the two so one doesn't suffer is sometimes difficult to do. How do you go about prioritizing your work and choosing to work on one thing at a time. Tell the interviewer about a time you were faced with different solutions and how you came up with the one. What was the outcome? Why was it successful?
"When faced with a difficult decision or situation I like to get a second opinion from my colleagues to make sure I'm on the right page."
"Sometimes making a simple pro's and con's list will help me make difficult situations. Being able to see it all down in front of me can help me weigh my options and make a decision."
During some point in your career you may be in a leadership position. If the position you are interviewing for is a leadership position be sure to relay your leadership style as well as the way you manage your responsibilities clear throughout the interview. Are you a to-do list type of person? do you delegate your duties and responsibilities?
"When managing my responsibilities I like to keep a to-do list. I prioritize my to do list a few times a day. I like to have something in front of me as not only a reminder but to help me keep on track."
"I manage responsibilities by prioritizing them."
Becoming impatient with your co-workers or yourself at work is not only counterproductive, it can also be bad for your health. Stress and anxiety in the workplace can lead to conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, so it's in your interests to keep a lid on things. Answer this question calm, cool and collective. Showing irritation or impatience during your interview will make it seem like you are hard to work with.
"I interact with people all day so I need to show them that I'm an approachable and patient person which will lead to a positive outcome."
"Patience is important as a Physical Therapist Assistant so I don't upset the patient. If I'm short or inpatient my patient might shut down and not do well during our session. If the patient is upset during the session it might cause an unnecessary injury."
The interviewer is looking for a particular story. It's a great idea to have a few stories in your back pocket for your interview to show how you personally impacted your patients treatment. When you share your story be sure to follow it with feedback that was provided to you either by the patient that you helped or a co-worker that applauded your care.
"Excellent patient care is given the second they walk through the door until they leave the office. A smile, encouraging words and kind interaction is all examples of the patient care that I provide."
This is one of the most common interview answers so you need to have this one memorized. Don't choose a weakness that will make the interviewer hesitant to hire you but a weakness that can be improved upon to make it a strength.
"My greatest weakness as a Physical Therapist Assistant is being able to say no. I always want to help but I've found that its a great way to put too much on my plate. I'm working on saying no to helping at that moment but offering to help once I've completed my own tasks."
"My greatest weakness is not being able to say no. I've been working on letting people know that I can help them but not right at that second. This gives me time to work on my own work as well as provide a healthy boundary with my colleagues."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have to adjust your style of therapy quite often. Working with older patients require a softer approach than a man in his 30's in good health. Tell the interviewer about a time you successfully rehabilitated an older patient. What steps did you take and how did you adjust your regular style of treatment?
"Last week I started working with a patient that is recovering after a hip replacement. Treatment may be running slower than some but we are still making progress."
"I provide the same level of care and caring to every age of patient that I see. I may move a little slower and speak a little louder with older patients but I adjust my patient care based on the patients needs."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant you have had the opportunity to work with all age groups. Do you enjoy working with children because of their inquisitive minds and sense of humor? Can you relate with them best? Are you most comfortable working with adults because they are able to communicate a bit easier with you? Because your job is hands on with all age groups be sure to tell the interviewer that- follow it up with your favorite group to work with if you'd like.
"I am comfortable working with all age groups. I think my favorite group to work with are children. I love making up games for treatment and being a kid again myself."
"I do get a bit nervous working with the elderly because of their limitations and lack of strength. I just take my time and work along side the patient to make them feel confident and comfortable."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant specializing in Orthopedic Physical Therapy you work alongside a Physical Therapist treating patients after orthopedic surgery, sprains, strains, bursitis and deformities like scoliosis. Tell the interviewer about your work history taking part in treating patients with Orthopedic issues.
"I haven't had the opportunity to treat too many serious Orthopedic issues but I look forward to utilizing my education and learning alongside my peers."
As a Physical Therapist Assistant, you provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a licensed physical therapist. Your day consists of helping people of all ages who have medical problems, or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. You work in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health, nursing homes, schools, sports facilities, and more. Physical therapist Assistants may also measure changes in the patient's performance as a result of the physical therapy provided. You'll teach patients exercises for mobility, strength and coordination and provide training for activities such as walking with crutches, canes, or walkers, massage, and the use of physical agents and electrotherapy such as ultrasound and electrical stimulation.
Skills and characteristics as a Physical Therapist Assistant include a professional and caring mindset, the ability to work effectively with other medical professionals, strict attention to detail and the willingness to engage with your patient. The education required to be a Physical Therapist Assistant is an associate degree from an accredited PTA program at a technical or community college, college, or university. You must pass the national examination for licensing/certification/regulation in most states to be eligible to work.
To prepare for your interview you'll want to brush up on your behavioral questions. Because you work directly with patients, the interviewer will want to know about your patient interaction and communication style. The interviewer will also want to know about your ability to work within a team. Have a few situational stories in your back pocket to share as part of your interview answers. Have your elevator speech memorized and ready to go!