Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

17 common PT school interview questions you should be prepared for

common pt school interview questions

The decision to apply to a physical therapy graduate program is a significant step toward a rewarding career. When applying, you can also expect that there will be an interview stage of the process. The interview can be your opportunity to shine a light on your knowledge and skills. It can also allow you to ask questions about the school and program. A successful PT school interview can help assess your academic qualifications, interpersonal skills, ethical reasoning and commitment to the profession. 

General questions

“Why are you interested in physical therapy versus other health-related fields?”

  • Take this time to discuss the unique aspects of physical therapy that interest you. You could mention a personal experience that helped spark your interest in the field. You may also include the approaches of physical therapy that appeal to you over other health care professions.

“Which patient population would you like to work with?”

  • Share your preference, but also show that you are flexible. You can discuss any experiences or coursework that helped influence your decision. 

“What are your main motivations for pursuing a physical therapy degree?”

  • Other than your desire to help people, what motivates you to pursue your path? It could be the potential to directly impact your patients, the evolution of the field or even the opportunity to help others advance in their rehabilitation.

“How do you define success in your life?”

  • Share your personal definition of success, making sure to consider your professional and personal aspects. You can discuss how achieving success in your physical therapy career can align with your values and long-term goals. 

“What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?”

  • You can provide examples of how your strengths have positively influenced your experiences in the academic and professional setting. When you discuss your weaknesses, you can focus on how you’ve recognized them and are working to improve them.

Experience and knowledge questions

“How did your undergraduate degree prepare you for an advanced physical therapy education?”

  • Discuss any transferable skills you gained during your undergraduate studies. Detail how these skills, like critical thinking or effective communication, can contribute to your success in physical therapy school.

“What kind of clinical experience do you have?”

  • Share an overview of your clinical experiences, including any internships or hands-on opportunities. You can reflect on how these experiences helped confirm your passion for physical therapy and develop your clinical skills.

“Tell me about your shadowing or volunteer experiences.”

  • Share the variety of settings you’ve volunteered or shadowed in. You can share any specific patient interactions or cases that have impacted your understanding of the field. 

“What did you learn from your clinical or shadowing experience?”

  • Share the valuable lessons you have gained from observing and interacting with experienced physical therapists. You can discuss insights into patient care, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the day-to-day challenges and rewards of the profession. 

“What do you do when you don’t understand a concept in class?”

  • Outline how you approach seeking clarification. Do you seek clarification through discussions with professors, peer collaboration or doing further research? You can show off your proactive attitude toward overcoming academic challenges. 

Personality questions

“How do you handle stress?”

  • Describe how you cope with stress and showcase your ability to maintain your composure and focus during a demanding situation. 

“How would you describe your work ethic?”

  • Share examples from your academic and professional settings that can illustrate your strong work ethic. 

“What would make you a great physical therapist?”

  • Share the qualities, skills and values you believe contribute to making you an exceptional physical therapist.

Ethical and future outlook questions

“What would you do if you saw one of your classmates cheating on an exam?”

  • Share your commitment to academic integrity and ethical conduct. 

“If you could improve one thing about the health care system, what would it be and why?”

  • Give your perspective on a specific aspect of the health care system you believe needs to be improved. You can also share a potential solution and how your role as a physical therapist can help contribute to these changes.

Physical therapy program-specific questions

“What made you decide to apply to this specific program?”

  • Be honest about the factors that influenced your decision to apply. These could be the faculty expertise, specialized resources or even a particular focus that aligns with your career goals. 

“What can you offer our graduate program and the physical therapy profession?”

  • Highlight your unique strengths, experiences and perspectives that you believe can help you contribute to the program. Discuss how your contributions can extend beyond the classroom to help benefit the profession. 

This can be a peek into questions you can expect in an interview to join a physical therapy graduate program. The key to acing any interview is to be calm and collected and answer the questions as honestly as possible. Your interviewer wants to get to know the real you. They don’t want to hear the answers you think they want to hear. Being honest can help you both decide if you are a good fit for a program. Take a deep breath, and good luck!

Is applying to physical therapy graduate school posing a challenge for you? Peak Performance is here to help 

Need a partner to help you address challenges like physical therapy graduate school interviews? Peak Performance is in your corner. We’re aware (as physical therapy providers) that it can be tough to get into and finish PT school. But we also know how important it is for the PT field to have more great physical therapists. That’s why we want to help provide support for not only recently graduated physical therapists but also people who are trying to get their DPT degree. We’ll help you get the support you need as a newly graduated physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. Even better, you’ll get full access to our employee support services while still maintaining complete control over how you’re working to improve your skills.