Receptionists

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 receptionist Jobs

  • Receptionist - Birch Family Services - New York State

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    Our company has been a local Mortgage Banker in Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo area for more than 22 years and is very

  • Receptionist - Hair Club - Glendale, CA

    Full company paid training and excellent opportunities for growth and advancement. IDEAL CANDIDATES POSSESS THE FOLLOWING: University degree

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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, which can affect the organization’s success.

The specific responsibilities of receptionists vary depending on 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 beauty or hair salons, they schedule appointments, direct clients to the hairstylist, and may serve as cashiers.

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

When they are not busy with callers or visitors, receptionists perform other office tasks, such as processing documents or entering data.

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

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

Receptionists hold about 1.0 million jobs. The industries that employ the most receptionists are as follows:

Offices of physicians 19%
Offices of dentists 7
Offices of other health practitioners 6
Personal care services 6
Veterinary services 5

Although receptionists are employed in nearly every industry, many work in healthcare, veterinary, and personal care services, including physicians’ and dentists’ offices, veterinary offices, and hair salons.

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

Some receptionists may face stressful situations, as they answer numerous phone calls and sometimes deal with difficult callers.

Receptionist Work Schedules

Although most receptionists work during regular business hours, about 3 in 10 work part time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, may 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.

Receptionist Education

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 to a week. Training typically covers procedures for visitors, and for telephone and computer use. Medical and legal offices also may instruct new employees on privacy rules related to patient and client information.

Advancement for Receptionists

Receptionists may advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants. Advancement opportunities often depend on the employee’s experience in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet applications.

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. As a result, they should be courteous, professional, and helpful toward the public and customers.

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 $13.12. 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 $9.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $18.92.

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

Offices of dentists $15.28
Offices of physicians 13.79
Offices of other health practitioners 12.84
Veterinary services 12.50
Personal care services 10.39

Although most receptionists work during regular business hours, about 3 in 10 work part time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, may work evenings and weekends.

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

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 10 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Growing healthcare industries are projected to lead demand for receptionists, particularly in the offices of physicians, other healthcare practitioners, and dentists. The number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. Coupled with demand for medical services from an aging population, this should result in a strong outlook for receptionists in the healthcare industries. Additionally, some receptionists’ tasks, such as checking patients in and coordinating patient care, are not easily automated.

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. In addition, organizations will continue to use technology, such as automated phone and online systems, further reducing the need for receptionists.

Receptionists Job Prospects

Overall job prospects should be very good, with the best job opportunities in the healthcare industries.

Many job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Those with related work experience and experience in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet applications, should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Receptionists, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Receptionists and information clerks 1,028,600 1,126,300 10 97,800


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

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