Receptionists: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
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.
Training Required
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.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 9% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Advancement
Receptionists may advance to other administrative occupations with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.
Median pay: How much do Receptionists make?
$27,920 Annual Salary
$13.42 per hour

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

What do Receptionists do?

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.

Careers for Receptionists

  • Appointment clerks
  • Clerks
  • Dental receptionists
  • Front desk coordinators
  • Front desk receptionists
  • Greeters
  • Land leasing information clerks
  • Receptionists and information clerks

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