Receptionist jobs are a large part of the economy. About 1.1 million people held the job of receptionist in 2008. Nearly 36% of these jobs were in the medical field, such as doctors' and dentists' offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and lab facilities. Receptionists can also be found in a wide variety of businesses and offices of other professionals, such as engineers, finance workers, or realtors. Educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies also hire receptionists.
What is involved in receptionist jobs?
The job of a receptionist may seem small against that of a doctor, dentist, or engineer. However, the receptionist provides the first impression of any business, and so the job is crucial. Businesspeople and professional people know that the person in the receptionist job makes a big impact by the way they treat the company's clients and patients.
A receptionist greets people as they enter the business or office, asks for information that might be needed from the client or patient, and answers questions posed to them. The job may also include scheduling, answering phones, handling mail and deliveries, and receiving payments.
What are the qualifications for the job?
The number one qualification for a receptionist is good people skills. A receptionist must have the personality to be friendly, compassionate and patient, and have good listening skills. He or she must also be able to multi-task. Computer and telephone skills are necessary, as most offices have scheduling and record keeping run by computer systems.
The minimum requirement for a receptionist is a high school diploma or equivalent. Some specialized training may be required for a medical office, or the person may receive on-the-job training from the company. It is a benefit to already know office software programs, such as word processing, spreadsheet, and databases.
What is the work environment?
A receptionist works in a front office of a business or medical facility. The work requires time on the computer and telephone, so the person must guard against repetitive injuries. It can be a stressful job as a receptionist may be greeting a sick patient, dealing with a mail delivery, and answering the phone all at the same time.
Most receptionist jobs are business hours through the week, although some will work a few hours on weekends. Some receptionist jobs are part time positions.
What are the job outlook and the chance of advancement?
The job outlook for a receptionist is good. It is a job that has a fairly quick turnover, so jobs open up at a consistent rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a healthy rate of growth in jobs, particularly in the medical field.
The chance of advancement is good. Usually a receptionist will move up to a job such as a supervisor or office manager, or take their people and computer skills to a different occupation. Many people today have six figure salary positions from starting out in receptionist jobs.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013