Job description

Receptionists perform administrative tasks in an organisation such as answering telephone calls, greeting visitors and giving general information to customers, clients and the public. They usually make the first impression of an organisation, as they are the first contact a client or customer meets.

Receptionists are typically responsible for paperwork, emails, appointments and sometimes billing and insurance payments. Their role is generally dependent on the type of company they work for.


    • Answer, screen and forward telephone calls
    • Create and respond to emails
    • Schedule and arrange appointments and calendars
    • Greet and escort customers and visitors
    • Inform managers and employees of visitors
    • Monitor visitors’ access
    • Enter and record information into the database
    • Maintain documents
    • Arrange and collect mail deliveries
    • Take care of billing or insurance payments

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Attention to detail
Computer skills
Customer service

Working hours and environment

Average working hours


Typical schedule

Full Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Receptionists work in corporate offices, hospitals, doctors' offices or even hairdressers. They are usually positioned somewhere visible and accessible to the public and employees, such as in the lobby or waiting room of a company. Most receptionists work in relatively quiet surroundings that are well-lit and clean.

They may have a busy schedule answering telephone calls, tending to emails and making appointments for their managers. This sometimes gets repetitive and stressful, especially when dealing with difficult customers.

Receptionists typically work full time and sometimes might have to work evenings and weekends (especially those who work in hospitals or nursing homes).


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

DVM / VMD degree

Study time


A high school diploma is usually sufficient when applying for a receptionist role. Hiring requirements sometimes vary depending on the employer or industry. For example, some employers want receptionists who have had formal office education or training.

Training is usually provided on the job and can take between a few days and a month. This training involves getting to know the organisation’s culture, how to greet customers and answer the phone.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.


No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Receptionists often advance into other administrative-related positions such as secretary, executive assistant, interviewer, dispatcher or production assistant.

There is also the chance of progressing into higher positions within the same company, like sales representative, human resources manager or recruitment officer. Receptionists have the benefit of familiarising themselves with every company department, giving them more chance of a career boost within the organisation.