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 $14.40.
Job Outlook: Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of receptionists with similar occupations.
Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.
Receptionists typically do the following:
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.
Receptionists held about 1.0 million jobs. The largest employers of receptionists are as follows:
|Healthcare and social assistance||47%|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||12%|
|Personal care services||6%|
|Administrative and support services||4%|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||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.
Most receptionists work full time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, work evenings and weekends.
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Although hiring requirements vary by industry and employer, receptionists typically need a high school diploma 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 applications. Courses in word processing and spreadsheet applications can 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 visitors and for telephone and computer use.
Receptionists may advance to other administrative occupations with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.
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.
The median hourly wage for receptionists is $14.40. 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 $11.08, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $22.00.
The median hourly wages for receptionists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Healthcare and social assistance||$16.44|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$14.62|
|Administrative and support services||$14.43|
|Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations||$14.26|
|Personal care services||$13.72|
Most receptionists work full time. Receptionists who work in hospitals and nursing homes may work evenings and weekends.
Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 134,000 openings for receptionists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
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.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2020||Projected Employment, 2030||Change, 2020-30|
|Receptionists and information clerks||1,016,200||1,060,000||4||43,800|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.