Summary

receptionists image
Receptionists provide general information about their organization to visitors.
Quick Facts: Receptionists
2016 Median Pay $27,920 per year
$13.42 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, 2016 1,053,700
Job Outlook, 2016-26 9% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 95,700

What Receptionists Do

Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.

Work Environment

Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry.

How to Become a Receptionist

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

Pay

The median hourly wage for receptionists was $13.42 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Overall job opportunities should be good, especially in the healthcare industries.

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 About this section

Receptionists
Receptionists greet patients in hospitals and doctors' offices.

Receptionists perform administrative tasks, such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing general information about their organization to the public and customers.

Duties

Receptionists typically do the following:

  • Answer telephone calls and take messages or forward calls
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and maintain calendars
  • Greet and welcome customers, clients, and other visitors
  • Check visitors in and direct or escort them to specific destinations
  • Inform other employees of visitors’ arrivals or cancellations
  • Enter customer data and send correspondence
  • Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email

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—an impression that can affect the organization’s success.

The specific responsibilities of receptionists vary with where they work. Receptionists in hospitals and doctors’ offices may collect patients’ personal information and direct patients to the waiting room. Some may handle billing and insurance payments.

In large corporations and government offices, receptionists may provide a security function. For example, they control access to the organization, provide visitor passes, and arrange to take visitors to the proper office.

Receptionists use telephones, computers, and other office equipment, such as scanners and fax machines.

Work Environment About this section

Receptionists
Receptionists are employed in virtually every industry.

Receptionists held about 1.1 million jobs in 2016. The largest employers of receptionists were as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance 45%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 11
Personal care services 6
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 4
Administrative and support services 4

Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry.

Receptionists usually work in an area that is visible and easily accessible to the public and other employees, such as the front desk of a lobby or waiting room.

Some receptionists may face stressful situations, as they answer numerous phone calls and sometimes deal with difficult callers.

Work Schedules

Most receptionists worked full time in 2016, but about 1 in 4 worked part time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, may work evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Receptionist About this section

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 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 applications. Courses in word processing and spreadsheet applications can 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 visitors and for telephone and computer use.

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 so that others may understand them.

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

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

Interpersonal skills. Receptionists should be comfortable interacting with people, even in stressful situations.

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

Pay About this section

Receptionists

Median hourly wages, May 2016

Total, all occupations

$17.81

Information and record clerks

$15.24

Receptionists

$13.42

 

The median hourly wage for receptionists was $13.42 in May 2016. 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 $9.39, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $19.41.

In May 2016, the median hourly wages for receptionists in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance $14.03
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13.56
Administrative and support services 13.23
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 11.94
Personal care services 10.75

Most receptionists worked full time in 2016, and about 1 in 4 worked part time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, may work evenings and weekends.

Job Outlook About this section

Receptionists

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Receptionists

9%

Total, all occupations

7%

Information and record clerks

5%

 

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 9 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

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 most other industries is expected to be slower as organizations continue to automate or consolidate administrative functions, such as by using computer software or websites to interact with the public or customers.

Job Prospects

Overall job prospects should be good, especially in the healthcare industries. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

Employment projections data for receptionists, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Receptionists and information clerks

43-4171 1,053,700 1,149,400 9 95,700 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) 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 About this section

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

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Customer service representatives

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and provide information about an organization’s products and services.

High school diploma or equivalent $32,300
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 $30,580
Information clerks

Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties such as maintaining records, collecting data, and providing information to customers.

See How to Become One $32,920
Library technicians and assistants

Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library. They assist patrons, organize library materials and information, and perform clerical and administrative tasks.

See How to Become One $28,440
Secretaries and administrative assistants

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,230
Tellers

Tellers

Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank. These transactions include cashing checks, depositing money, and collecting loan payments.

High school diploma or equivalent $27,260
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Receptionists,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/receptionists.htm (visited November 01, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.