Bureau of Labor Statistics

Receptionists

receptionists image
Receptionists provide general information about their organization to visitors.
Quick Facts: Receptionists
2020 Median Pay $31,110 per year
$14.96 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 1,016,200
Job Outlook, 2020-30 4% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 43,800

Summary

What Receptionists 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 a Receptionist

Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good communication skills.

Pay

The median hourly wage for receptionists was $14.96 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2020 to 2030, 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.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for receptionists.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of receptionists with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about receptionists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Receptionists Do

Receptionists
Receptionists greet patients in hospitals and doctors' offices.

Receptionists do administrative tasks, such as answering phones, greeting visitors, and providing general information about their organization.

Duties

Receptionists typically do the following:

  • Answer the telephone and take messages or forward calls
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and maintain calendars
  • Greet customers, clients, and other visitors
  • Check in visitors and direct or escort them to their destinations
  • Inform other employees of visitors’ arrivals or cancellations
  • Enter customer information into the organization's database
  • Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents
  • Handle incoming and outgoing correspondence

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.

Receptionists’ specific responsibilities vary by employer. For example, receptionists in hospitals and doctors’ offices may collect patients’ personal information and direct patients to the waiting room. Some handle billing and insurance payments.

In large corporations and government offices, receptionists may have a security role. For example, they may control access to the organization by issuing visitor passes and escorting visitors to their destination.

Receptionists use telephones, computers, and other office equipment, such as shredders and printers.

Work Environment

Receptionists
Receptionists are employed in virtually every industry.

Receptionists held about 1.0 million jobs in 2020. The largest employers of receptionists were 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.

Work Schedules

Most receptionists work full time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, work evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Receptionist

Receptionists
Receptionists need to be good at communicating with people.

Although hiring requirements vary by industry and employer, receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good communication skills.

Education

Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, and employers may prefer to hire candidates who have experience with certain computer software. Proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet applications may be particularly helpful.

Training

Most receptionists receive short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few days up to a month. Training typically covers procedures for greeting visitors, answering the telephone, and using the computer.

Advancement

Receptionists may advance to other administrative occupations with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Receptionists must speak and write clearly when providing information and corresponding with customers.

Computer skills. Receptionists should be adept at using computers.

Customer-service skills. Receptionists represent the organization, so they should be courteous, professional, and helpful to customers and the public.

Integrity. Receptionists may handle confidential data, especially in medical and legal offices. They must be trustworthy and protect clients’ privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Receptionists should be comfortable interacting with people in different types of situations.

Organizational skills. Receptionists take messages, schedule appointments, and maintain employee files. They need good organizational skills to manage their diverse responsibilities.

Pay

Receptionists

Median hourly wages, May 2020

Total, all occupations

$20.17

Information and record clerks

$16.97

Receptionists and information clerks

$14.96

 

The median hourly wage for receptionists was $14.96 in May 2020. 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 $10.59, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.71.

In May 2020, the median hourly wages for receptionists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance $15.46
Professional, scientific, and technical services 15.09
Administrative and support services 14.98
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 14.37
Personal care services 12.91

Most receptionists work full time. Receptionists who work in hospitals and nursing homes may work evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook

Receptionists

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Total, all occupations

8%

Receptionists and information clerks

4%

Information and record clerks

0%

 

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2020 to 2030, 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.

Employment

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.

Employment projections data for receptionists, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Receptionists and information clerks

SOC Code43-4171
Employment, 20201,016,200
Projected Employment, 20301,060,000
Percent Change, 2020-304
Numeric Change, 2020-3043,800
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of receptionists.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Customer service representatives Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $35,830
General office clerks General Office Clerks

General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

High school diploma or equivalent $35,330
Information clerks Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties, maintain records, collect data, and provide information to customers.

See How to Become One $36,920
Library technicians and assistants Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library.

See How to Become One $31,840
Secretaries and administrative assistants Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants do routine clerical and organizational tasks.

High school diploma or equivalent $40,990
Tellers Tellers

Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank.

High school diploma or equivalent $32,620

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Receptionists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/receptionists.htm (visited November 12, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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