Receptionists are responsible for performing administrative tasks in various business facilities. They answer the phone, greet guests and provide general information about their organization. In addition to that, they schedule and confirm appointments, maintain calendars, check-in customers and escort them to their destinations, inform the relevant persons of the arrival of visitors and enter customer information into databases.
If this line of work sounds interesting to you, you would want to continue reading the following document on how to become a receptionist in the US.
Should I Become a Receptionist?
If you like the idea of being the face of the organization you work for, then becoming a receptionist might just be the thing for you. In addition to that, receptionists are typically very skilled, contrary to common misconception. Receptionists are often talented multitaskers, in charge of managing multiple ongoing situations without breaking a sweat. They typically have great computer, communication and organizational skills. In addition to that, the path to progression is always available. Receptionists can move on to work in more technical work spaces, such as clinics, medical facilities and law firms etc.
The following table provides a quick insight into the career of a receptionist, detailing the salary data, along with the minimum education requirements.
High School Diploma or Equivalent
Hotel Management preferred, though not mandatory
Short-term on-the-job training
Communication skills, computer skills, customer-service skills, integrity,
interpersonal skills and organizational skills
Annual Mean Salary (2018)
& Information Clerks
Job Outlook (2018-28)
5% (As fast as average)
Career Outlook for a Receptionist
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment for receptionists is expected to grow by 5%, which is as fast as the average growth for all other occupations. Growth in the healthcare sector is expected to drive the demand for receptionists, particularly in offices of physicians, dentists and healthcare professionals.
However, employment growth for receptionists is expected to be slower in industries with a big focus on automation or consolidation of administrative functions. For example, many organizations are now moving towards the use of computer software, mobile applications, websites and other technology to interact with customers.
Demand for receptionists will also vary according to location. For instance, California is the state with the highest level of employment in this category, with 102,590 jobs. This is closely followed by New York, Florida, Texas and New Jersey. Salary potential will also vary according to location, with District of Columbia paying the most to receptionists among the states, with an annual mean wage of $38,290. Other high paying states include Alaska, Connecticut, New York and Washington. The top paying industry for receptionists was the postal service, paying $59,230 in annual mean wages.
Steps to Become a Receptionist
Step 1: Get the Necessary Skills
The minimum education needed to become a receptionist is a high school diploma. However, most employers would prefer to hire those with some experience and administrative skills. You can obtain these skills by getting a certificate in clerical studies or administration, which can typically be earned in a year or less. In addition to this, proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet applications may be helpful.
Programs for receptionists can be found in community colleges or vocational schools. A 2-year long degree in hotel management or communications might give you an edge over your competition, though it is generally not required by most employers.
Step 2: Get a Job and Complete On-the-Job Training
Aspiring receptionists can look for jobs in a variety of industries, including hotels, offices of doctors or dentists, travel agencies, fitness clubs, publishing agencies, design firms etc. Once you get a job, your employer is likely to put you through a few weeks of training on the job, to give you an idea of the work requirements. This training would typically cover procedures for greeting visitors, answering the phone and using computers.
Step 3: Look for Advancement Options
Receptionists can look for advancement in their career by going for other administrative occupations that have a more enriched job description, such as the job of a secretary or administrative assistant.