Physical Therapist Salary Guide: Negotiate a Higher PT Salary (2023)

Physiotherapist vacancies are increasing, with an expected 25% growth between 2016 and 2026. In 2016, the total number of vacancies for physical therapists was 239,000. With an average of over 9,000 new physical therapists graduating from physical therapy programs across the country each year, the physical therapist job market gets a little more competitive every year.

I don't want to bore you with too much math, but unless at least 2% of PTs retire each year, that 25% growth rate won't keep up with the influx of new PT graduates! In other words, at the rate at which new graduate physical therapists are being produced, at least 2% of the PT workforce needs to retire to avoid saturation.

You can read this article to get my take on itCareer prospects for physiotherapists.

the bottom line: We get more graduates and fewer retirees. PT's job market is saturated with low-cost college graduates.

For a physiotherapist with 5, 10 or even more than 20 years of experience, this is a challenge. Let's face it, a new PT graduate is usually thrilled to start their career at an outpatient PT clinic with $64,000, and employers are thrilled to pay them that fee! Talk to a PT with just 5 or 10 years of experience and the story changes.

If you change jobs in PT or return to physical therapy, you need to differentiate yourself as much as possible!

Even the newly formed PT will face more competition as PT schools continue to pump out students.

There are many ways to stand out from the crowd in your physical therapy career: specialize, gain certifications and new skills, branch out into management.

BUT, it all depends on one thing: Can you sell yourself in a job interview?

5 Essential Physiotherapist Interview Tips

Whether you've just graduated, are a PT looking to change jobs, or a PT trying to get back into the job market, you have one thing in common:You must interview everyone.

If you're like most candidates, the thought of an interview makes you feel like you could curl up in a corner and break out in a cold sweat.

Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but it can still look intimidating, right?

You may have an interview at a new clinic or are trying to advance to a managerial position.

Of course you will be nervous!

Take a step back and see this: Everyone's a little nervous and it's okay if you're nervous.

the key isNOthat you should avoid getting nervous. The key is to make it seem like you have confidence even though you're nervous.

If you're good at building trust, that's GREAT!

But if you don't have confidence in yourself and your ability to command the room,Start with these tips:

1. An organized mind is prepared

Know your resume fully and be ready to explain everything about it in more detail. One of the strategies I share with PTs looking to improve their interviewing skills is to organize your performances on cards ahead of time. As you practice the sample interview questions below, look at your notecards to see trends in your examples.

The ability to answer each question confidently depends on your ability to recall an example or story.

You will find that you can answer many questions just by thinking of a story. This is important because instead of trying to memorize answers to specific questions, you can come up with an answer that fits the numerous variations of questions you might hear during an interview.

By organizing your accomplishments in notebooks or story cards, you start with the right mindset to provide a structured response.

2. Practice positivity

The aim of the interview is to learn more about you. The good news is that you are an expert in this field! Interviewers don't want to hear canned answers that might describe someone. You want to hear stories that make you unique.

You've already got your story cards ready, so now focus on the delivery. When presenting your story to answer their questions, tell it with a positive attitude. In other words, avoid being a "negative Nancy." Nobody likes a woe is me story. So emphasizing the positive side of things when delivering your answer will keep the energy in the room high.

3. Practice out loud

If you're like most people, you're more likely to read your notes and story cards, and prefer to practice interview questions by thinking them through.

There's nothing wrong with this approach at first, but it does require serious practice of what you're saying out loud.

At first it will seem like you're tripping over your answer. That is normal. But when that happens, think about the item that's getting you stuck. Now make a little outline of what you are trying to say.

Here is an example:

You practice answering the question: "Tell me about yourself"

Go ahead and try to answer that question out loud now. I'll wait. Seriously, do it.

How was it? did you mess something up You feel like you don't have the structure you need. Have you been hiking and couldn't find a good stopping point?

Consider this: you're not looking for your entire life story here. Get straight to the point.

First of all, never, ever, EVER, start with

"My name is _________, I am ______ years old and I was born in ____________."

*This hurts my ears and heart. Please never do this.

A better place to start is this:

“My name is _____________ and I recently graduated from the University of __________. I moved into this field 2 months ago and intend to move into an outpatient orthopedic that values ​​teamwork and professional development. (Try not to get overly sentimental here - I think both statements are realistic. You really want a job that values ​​teamwork and isn't a dead end or a black hole.)

“I like ____(insert 2-3 interesting and tasty hobbies/activities). Outside of physical therapy, I have worked in a _________ (retail/customer service/administrative) environment and I find these skills transfer well to this clinic.”

Join in and don't chatter! Give them the opportunity to ask about their interests.

This sketch looks like this:

  • Name
  • University / Major
  • enjoy hobbies/interests
  • Past experience emphasizing background/strengths

Here is my answer to the question.

“My name is Tim Fraticelli and I have been a PT for 2 years working in an ambulance. Before becoming a physical therapist, I worked in finance for 5 years and did my MBA in market strategy. I learned about PT and was fascinated by how one can be an expert on all joints and muscles so I entered PT school. During my studies I was able to support my family with the small marketing consulting company I started in 2008. Outside of PT, I enjoy reading marketing books, working with wood, playing the saxophone and writing about development for physical therapists. I hope to use these skills to grow with an ambulance.”

You understood. It doesn't have to be a standard 4-part answer, but it doesn't have to take more than 60 seconds to come out either!

Be brief and give the interviewer a chance to ask about the new facts they've learned about you.

4. Command the room before entering it

One of the best videos I've seen on confidence building comes from Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, who presented a 21-minute video about body language. She explains how our body language now affects not only how people perceive us, but also how we perceive ourselves. In other words, the way we position ourselves and present our body language can really instill the confidence we so desperately need.

In her TED Talk, she offers a concept of power posing to boost self-confidence. The idea is this: by striking a power pose, your body increases testosterone levels by 20% and decreases cortisol levels by 25%.

The idea is to hold a power pose for 2 minutes (120 seconds) before entering a situation that might seem intimidating (like a PT interview!).

Physical Therapist Salary Guide: Negotiate a Higher PT Salary (2)Give it a try - what do you have to lose?

"But where can I do that without looking like an idiot?" Fair question. When you strike the "superhero" pose (my recommendation), take a quick bathroom break and find a tent to stand on. Seriously.

But just as important as trying to strike a strong pose before the interview, try to avoid weak poses during the interview. Here is an image showing the difference between the two.

You can see the full video in his TED Talk here:

5. Prepare questions in advance

Think of your interview as a conversation. How awkward would a conversation be if you didn't ask any questions?

Sure, the hiring manager will take the lead with standard interview questions, but that doesn't mean you can't ask relevant questions during the interview.

I'm assuming you've done your research on the company (please, for the love of all good things PT, spend at least an hour researching the company before your interview).

Did you notice anything during your search? Does their website say anything about special training or mentoring opportunities? What about your marketing efforts and social media presence? Bring up these questions as the conversation progresses. Don't just save them for the end!

knowledgeQuestions to ask in a job interviewIt's so important that I wrote an entire article about it!

As promised, below are 10 of the most common PT interview questions you will see. In the Physical Therapist Interview Guide, we share 30+ potential PT-specific questions, 2 sample resumes, 2 sample cover letters, and 40+ pages that highlight:

  • EN Tips for job interviews
  • Salary negotiation strategies
  • Resume and cover letter templates
  • First email templates and follow-up notes
  • And expert tips from a hiring manager

If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out the book:

PT Superior Salary Guide includes:

  • 2 Sample Resume Templates - Fully Editable
  • 2 sample cover letter templates – for new graduates and existing PTs
  • 35 interview questions and strategies for answering them
  • Our PT checklist for job interviews
  • Salary Comparison Table
  • Trade scripts to command a higher bid
  • +45+ pages of valuable resources guaranteed to set you apart from the competition.

Top 10 Physiotherapy Interview Questions

  • Because you want to work here?
  • Tell me about your experience in physical therapy (internship or full-time job).
  • What did you like best about the previous clinics?
  • What did you like least about the previous clinics?
  • What would your previous manager say was your greatest strength?
  • How do you deal with stressful or unexpected situations?
  • Describe a time when you "blew it up" and how you recovered from it.
  • What condition or body part would you most like to assess and treat?
  • What would you do if a patient you were working with refused to work with you?
  • What are your professional goals for the next 5 years?

You will find more than 15 real management-oriented interview questions in the book:

PT Superior salary guide
How to negotiate a higher PT salary and master your PT interview

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Author: Tuan Roob DDS

Last Updated: 03/01/2023

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