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What is a Receptionist?

The receptionist is often the first face visitors see when they arrive at a business or the first person they speak with when they call. A receptionist handles administrative tasks and serves as an information resource for staff, customers, or clients by answering questions about products, order status, scheduling appointments, or performing other office duties.

Typically, businesses or hotels put their receptionists in locations such as front entryways or lobbies. In these areas, a receptionist will greet people as they enter, answer phones, and help to direct people where they need to go.

What Do People in Receptionist Jobs Do?

People in receptionist jobs may do a range of duties depending on the business they work for. Some common tasks include answering phone calls, greeting customers or clients, handling mail or deliveries, and keeping reception and other areas of the business clean.

Typically, a business will task its receptionist with scheduling appointments and arranging meetings or events. Or, it might include performing basic administrative tasks, like faxing documents or ordering supplies.

Where Do People in Receptionist Jobs Work?

Receptionists typically work for a variety of companies. These companies include law firms, medical offices, spas or salons, and hotels. Some receptionists may find receptionist jobs working for small businesses in their local community.

Others find employment at larger companies with multiple locations across the country. Receptionists may additionally find work with organizations such as nonprofits and government agencies.

Receptionists often work regular business hours during the week. However, some receptionist jobs require employees to work nights or weekends. Weekend scheduling depends on the industry they’re involved in, such as hospitality or entertainment.

Receptionists are typically found working in reception rooms or lobbies of businesses and offices. Though receptionists work primarily indoors, they may also have to perform some outdoor duties. These duties may involve activities such as retrieving deliveries from couriers at front doors.

Some receptionists sit behind a desk while others do their jobs standing up. Standing up often makes it easier to greet people as they enter an office area or building. Most receptionist positions require applicants to enjoy interacting with people face-to-face. Much of the job involves greeting and communicating with people in person.

What Degree is Required to Become a Receptionist?

While receptionists may not need a college degree, they typically do require a high school diploma and previous office experience or training. Most employers provide receptionists with on-the-job training. The training generally takes several days before the receptionist can handle all tasks without needing assistance from other employees.

How Much Money Does a Receptionist Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), receptionists typically earn between $24,000 and $36,000 annually. The amount receptionists make can vary depending on their level of experience, skills, training, and the company for which they work. Some receptionists may also receive additional pay for working overtime schedules.

Receptionist Job Requirements

The main requirements for receptionist work include good verbal communication skills, organization, and customer service skills.

The job involves talking to people all day long. Most receptionists spend a lot of time on the phone or computer keyboard, which requires quality typing proficiency. A receptionist will also need some familiarity with using computer software such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

Some receptionist jobs require applicants to be bilingual since many businesses sell to customers who speak more than one language. The ability to speak Spanish, for example, comes into play for receptionists working at hospitals where doctors may treat Spanish-speaking patients.

Integrity comes into play if a receptionist comes into contact with confidential customer information.

Other valuable job requirements include basic office skills such as using fax machines or copiers.

It is also valuable to possess the ability to stay calm under pressure. Situations may arise where a receptionist needs to calm down an upset customer or handle disputes between other co-workers.

Receptionists need to work with a team, as they often rely on other office staff for support in completing their duties.

A typical day for a receptionist can involve different tasks. Receptionists often stay busy answering phones, greeting customers and visitors, handling mail and deliveries, ordering office supplies, and running errands.

Receptionists often need to multitask as they juggle several phone calls at once while also trying to keep the reception area tidy. Some receptionists are even required to do light bookkeeping or data entry.

In short, no two days are alike for receptionists, requiring a need to handle a bit of chaos.

Some benefits of meeting receptionist job requirements include paid vacation days, sick leave, and opportunities for advancement within some companies. The potential for flexible hours makes a receptionist job ideal for people who want to work part-time or work a second job.

Many receptionists also receive health insurance and 401k retirement savings plans from their employers.

Receptionist Career Path

Some receptionists choose to stay at the same receptionist job for many years. Others prefer to move on and take receptionist positions with other companies or organizations to gain more experience and skills.

Hardworking and dedicated receptionists also use their position as a springboard into different careers. They use it as an opportunity to network or learn new skills. These new skills can transfer into other jobs, such as administrative assistants or customer service representatives.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that receptionist jobs will increase by 4% through 2030, which represents a slower average growth rate when compared to all other potential careers.

However, over one million receptionist jobs existed in 2020. It’s also estimated by the BLS that over 130,000 receptionist jobs will become available each year over the next 10 years. Anyone looking for a receptionist job can likely find one in the coming years.

Secretaries and administrative assistants represent related or alternative jobs to the receptionist position. These careers generally need a high school diploma or equivalent, but some positions may require an associate’s degree. People working in those jobs perform clerical tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering phones, and providing customer service.

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