Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.
What they do
Receptionists typically do the following:
- Answer the telephone and take messages or forward calls
- Schedule and confirm appointments and maintain calendars
- Greet customers, clients, and other visitors
- Check in visitors and direct or escort them to their destinations
- Inform other employees of visitors’ arrivals or cancellations
- Enter customer information into the organization's database
- Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents
- Handle incoming and outgoing correspondence
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.
Receptionists’ specific responsibilities vary by employer. For example, receptionists in hospitals and doctors’ offices may collect patients’ personal information and direct patients to the waiting room. Some handle billing and insurance payments.
In large corporations and government offices, receptionists may have a security role. For example, they may control access to the organization by issuing visitor passes and escorting visitors to their destination.
Receptionists use telephones, computers, and other office equipment, such as shredders and printers.
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.
How to become a Receptionist
Although hiring requirements vary by industry and employer, receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good communication skills.
Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, and employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience with certain computer software. Proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet applications may be particularly helpful.
Most receptionists receive short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few days up to a month. Training typically covers procedures for greeting visitors, answering the telephone, and using the computer.
The median hourly wage for receptionists was $14.45 in May 2019. 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 $10.16, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $20.86.
Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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 other industries is expected to be slower as organizations continue to automate or consolidate administrative functions. For example, many organizations use computer software, websites, mobile applications, or other technology to interact with the public or customers.
Similar Job Titles
Clerk Specialist, Community Liaison, Front Desk Receptionist, Greeter, Member Service Representative, Office Assistant, Receptionist, Scheduler, Senior Receptionist, Unit Assistant
Medical Records and Health Information Technician, Switchboard Operator, License Clerk, Medical Secretary, General Office Clerk
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- International Association of Administrative Professionals - IAAP is a non-profit professional association serving the administrative profession. IAAP is dedicated to helping office and administrative professionals advance their career in a demanding and ever-changing business environment.
- National Notary Association - This organization will help you take advantage of the most-respected resources for Notaries and Notary Signing Agents to get up to speed and stay in the lead.
Magazines and Publications
“Keeping information organized and getting things done” could be the motto of information clerks everywhere. And they do work everywhere— courts of law, hospitals, license offices, airports… just about every business out there... employs information clerks. Information clerks process many kinds of information both online and in print. They receive requests, orders, and applications, explain procedures, enter and retrieve data, and file documents. Some—such as front desk clerks— interact with the public frequently, and also handle fees and payments. These clerks often administer private information, so integrity is an essential quality in this field. They are also skilled at using different office equipment and have an excellent understanding of data storage tools and procedures. Although information clerks are employed in many industries, most work in government agencies, hotels, and healthcare facilities. While most work normal fulltime office hours, part-time schedules are common for file clerks and hotel clerks, who also often work evenings, weekends, and holidays. For those clerks who deal with dissatisfied customers, positions can be stressful at times. Clerks who work at airline ticket —or shipping—counters handle heavy luggage or packages, sometimes up to 100 pounds. Information clerks typically need a high school diploma and learn their skills on the job. In some positions, employers may prefer candidates with college experience or an associate degree.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org