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Career profile Receptionist

Also known as Clerk Specialist, Front Desk Receptionist, Greeter, Member Service Representative, Office Assistant, Receptionist, Scheduler, Senior Receptionist

Receptionist

Also known as Clerk Specialist, Front Desk Receptionist, Greeter

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$22,030 - $45,150 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Service Orientation
Knowledge Areas
  • Administrative
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Operate telephone switchboard to answer, screen, or forward calls, providing information, taking messages, or scheduling appointments.
  • Greet persons entering establishment, determine nature and purpose of visit, and direct or escort them to specific destinations.
  • Schedule appointments and maintain and update appointment calendars.
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What does a Receptionist do?

Receptionists answer inquiries and provide information to the general public, customers, visitors, and other interested parties regarding activities conducted at establishment and location of departments, offices, and employees within the organization.

What kind of tasks does a Receptionist perform regularly?

Receptionists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Operate telephone switchboard to answer, screen, or forward calls, providing information, taking messages, or scheduling appointments.
  • Greet persons entering establishment, determine nature and purpose of visit, and direct or escort them to specific destinations.
  • Schedule appointments and maintain and update appointment calendars.
  • File and maintain records.
  • Hear and resolve complaints from customers or the public.
  • Perform administrative support tasks, such as proofreading, transcribing handwritten information, or operating calculators or computers to work with pay records, invoices, balance sheets, or other documents.
  • Transmit information or documents to customers, using computer, mail, or facsimile machine.
  • Receive payment and record receipts for services.
  • Analyze data to determine answers to questions from customers or members of the public.
  • Collect, sort, distribute, or prepare mail, messages, or courier deliveries.
  • Provide information about establishment, such as location of departments or offices, employees within the organization, or services provided.

The above responsibilities are specific to Receptionists. More generally, Receptionists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Performing Administrative Activities
Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Receptionist salary?

The median salary for a Receptionist is $31,110, and the average salary is $32,410. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Receptionist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Receptionists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Receptionists earn less than $22,030 per year, 25% earn less than $26,380, 75% earn less than $37,830, and 90% earn less than $45,150.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Receptionists is expected to change by 4.3%, and there should be roughly 134,000 open positions for Receptionists every year.

Median annual salary
$31,110
Typical salary range
$22,030 - $45,150
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
4.3%

What personality traits are common among Receptionists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Receptionist are usually higher in their Conventional and Enterprising interests.

Receptionists typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Receptionists typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Receptionist tend to value Relationships, Support, and Independence.

Most importantly, Receptionists strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Receptionists moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Receptionists somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Receptionists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, dependability, and attention to detail.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Receptionists, ranked by importance:

Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Receptionists need?

Working as a Receptionist usually requires a high school diploma.

Receptionists need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Receptionists

  • 3.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 33.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 32.5% completed some college coursework
  • 13.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 14.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Receptionists

Receptionists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administrative, customer and personal service, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Receptionists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Important Abilities needed by Receptionists

Receptionists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Receptionists need abilities such as speech recognition, oral comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Receptionists, ranked by their relative importance.

Speech Recognition
The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Speech Clarity
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Receptionists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Receptionists frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and service orientation to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Receptionists, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Service Orientation
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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