Receptionists

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.

Work Environment: Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry.

How to Become One: Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good communication skills.

Salary: The median hourly wage for receptionists is $14.01.

Job Outlook: Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Overall job opportunities should be good, especially in healthcare industries.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of receptionists with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a receptionist with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Receptionist Jobs

  • Receptionist Administrative Assistant - Stivers Staffing Services - Phoenix, AZ

    We are seeking a hardworking professional Receptionists / Administrative Assistants in Phoenix to undertake a variety of tasks and work diligently in a fast-paced environment. The Receptionist should ...

  • Administrative Receptionist ($15-17/hr) - Aerotek - Indianapolis, Indiana

    Aerotek is hiring a Receptionist for an engineering firm on the NW side of Indianapolis! This is a long-term career opportunity. Duties: * Check visitors in and out * Act as the front-face of the ...

  • Office Assistant 2 - DA's Office - Lane County - Eugene, OR

    Serves as receptionist ; greets the public and provides information on routine questions and direct complex technical questions or unusual requests to appropriate staff members; takes and relays ...

See all Receptionist jobs

What Receptionists Do[About this section] [To Top]

Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.

Duties of Receptionists

Receptionists typically do the following:

  • Answer telephone calls and take messages or forward calls
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and maintain calendars
  • Greet and welcome customers, clients, and other visitors
  • Check visitors in and direct or escort them to specific destinations
  • Inform other employees of visitors' arrivals or cancellations
  • Enter customer data and send correspondence
  • Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email

Receptionists are often the first employee of an organization to have contact with a customer or client. They are responsible for making a good first impression for the organization—an impression that can affect the organization's success.

The specific responsibilities of receptionists vary with where they work. Receptionists in hospitals and doctors' offices may collect patients' personal information and direct patients to the waiting room. Some may handle billing and insurance payments.

In large corporations and government offices, receptionists may provide a security function. For example, they control access to the organization, provide visitor passes, and arrange to take visitors to the proper office.

Receptionists use telephones, computers, and other office equipment, such as scanners and fax machines.

Work Environment for Receptionists[About this section] [To Top]

Receptionists held about 1.1 million jobs. The largest employers of receptionists are as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance 46%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 10%
Personal care services 6%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 4%
Administrative and support services 4%

Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry.

Receptionists usually work in areas that are visible and accessible to the public and other employees, such as the front desk of a lobby or waiting room.

Some receptionists face stressful situations. They may have to answer numerous phone calls or deal with difficult visitors.

Receptionist Work Schedules

Most receptionists work full time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, work evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Receptionist[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Receptionists near you!

Although hiring requirements vary by industry and employer, receptionists typically need a high school diploma and good communication skills.

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Education for Receptionists

Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, and employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience with certain computer software applications. Courses in word processing and spreadsheet applications can be particularly helpful.

Receptionist Training

Most receptionists receive short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few days up to a month. Training typically covers procedures for visitors and for telephone and computer use.

Advancement for Receptionists

Receptionists may advance to other administrative occupations with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.

Important Qualities for Receptionists

Communication skills. Receptionists must speak and write clearly so that others may understand them.

Customer-service skills. Receptionists represent an organization, so they should be courteous, professional, and helpful toward customers and the public.

Integrity. Receptionists may handle client and patient data, especially in medical and legal offices. They must be trustworthy and protect their clients' privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Receptionists should be comfortable interacting with people, even in stressful situations.

Organizational skills. Receptionists take messages, schedule appointments, and maintain employee files. They need good organizational skills to manage their diverse responsibilities.

Receptionist Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median hourly wage for receptionists is $14.01. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.90, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.03.

The median hourly wages for receptionists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance $14.61
Professional, scientific, and technical services $14.32
Administrative and support services $13.90
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations $12.60
Personal care services $11.68

Most receptionists work full time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, work evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook for Receptionists[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 5 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Growing healthcare industries are projected to lead demand for receptionists, particularly in the offices of physicians, dentists, and other healthcare practitioners.

Employment growth of receptionists in most other industries is expected to be slower as organizations continue to automate or consolidate administrative functions, such as by using computer software or websites to interact with the public or customers.

Job Prospects for Receptionists

Overall job prospects should be good, especially in the healthcare industries. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for Receptionists, 2018-28
Occupational Title Employment, 2018 Projected Employment, 2028 Change, 2018-28
Percent Numeric
Receptionists and information clerks 1,101,500 1,160,800 5 59,300


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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