School-Based Physical Therapy Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

by Howard Gerber on September 7, 2017

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school physical therapy interviewYou want to work as a school-based physical therapist and work with students? Working with children as a school physical therapist has many rewards. You’ll have the chance to help children overcome their challenges and reach their potential.

Working as a school PT is a desirable job for many therapists for several reasons. School-based physical therapists usually do not work evenings, weekends, or holidays, which can be a nice change of pace from other settings. Also, school-based physical therapists often have the chance to work with students over several months, which allows you to see the difference you’re making. But before you can develop any treatment plans, you need to land the job. The demand for school-based physical therapists may vary based on what part of the country you live.

One way to give yourself the edge against the competition is to ace your interview. Remember, it’s important always to be yourself, but a little preparation can also be helpful. Consider some of the following interview questions you might get asked as part of your interview prep.

What is your communication style?

Good communication skills are a critical part of the therapeutic relationship with students, their parents, and other staff members. Strong communication improves outcomes, facilitates teamwork, and increases patient satisfaction, but not everyone has the same communication style. Some people are more assertive while others are more passive. Some have an analytical style and like to focus on the hard data when communicating. Some therapists prefer to communicate things in a step by step fashion. Think about how you tend to communicate and how that may be an asset when working with students and their families.

Tell me about a particularly challenging situation and how you handled it?

Whether it involves a difficult case or problems meeting goals, every physical therapist has challenging situations. Be honest about a time when you had a difficult situation. How did you resolve it and what happened? Your potential employer is trying to assess your problem-solving skills.

What experience do you have working with a pediatric population?

If you worked as a pediatric physical therapist in any setting, talk about your experience as a PT. If you don’t have pediatric physical therapy experience, consider discussing any work or volunteer experience you have with kids. You interviewer wants to make sure you are comfortable working with children.

How do you think school-based PT is different from medically-based outpatient PT?

Your potential employer wants to make sure you understand that working in a school setting is different than working in a hospital-based setting, such as an acute care hospital. School-based physical therapists work on goals related to helping a child achieve their academic potential.

What makes you want to work in a school setting?

Take a minute before your interview and think about what drives you to want to work as a school-based physical therapist. It may be several factors. Just remember to speak from your heart, and you can’t go wrong.

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