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Receptionist Jobs and Salaries

Updated on November 6, 2012
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© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Because receptionists are usually the first employees that customers see when walking in the company door, they act as the important first impression for any organization. A neat and professional appearance, and a friendly personality are some of their necessary characteristics. Their salaries and jobs differ according to employer and location.


Getting the Job

No formal education other than a high school diploma is necessary for receptionists. Employers typically train these employees, informally through more experienced workers, or through more formal sessions that may last several weeks. An organization's phone and communication systems are often covered in a classroom setting. The ability to listen, speak clearly, and interact positively with customers, vendors and staff are pluses. So is experience with computer software such as word processors, databases, and spreadsheets. Many of these skills can be developed in high school or through classes at local business schools or community colleges.


What They Do

Receptionists answer and forward telephone calls, greet visitors and make them feel welcome, and perform miscellaneous clerical tasks such as entering customer information into databases or typing correspondence. Their duties vary by employer type. For example, in beauty salons, they make take appointments and schedule hairdressers. In doctors' offices, they may take medical information from patients and process insurance claims. Besides computers and phone systems, they also use copiers and fax machines. They may help set up lobbies and reception areas by providing coffee and snacks.


What They Earn

Although they earned as much as $37,500 per year, or $18.03 per hour, or as little as $17,900 annually, or $8.60 hourly, receptionists averaged a yearly $26,730, or $12.85 per hour, as of May 2011, states the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over 18 percent found positions in doctors' offices, their largest employers, where mean salaries ran $27,310 per year, or $13.13 per hour. Other big employers were dentists' offices, personal care services and the offices of other health practitioners. The highest pay was with the Postal Service at a mean annual $53,940, or $25.94 per hour, followed by scientific research and development services, averaging $34,870 per year, or $16.77 per hour.


Advancement

Receptionist jobs, as are those of many administrative workers, are considered entry level positions. Workers who gain experience, show initiative and display organizational skills can advance to supervisory positions that oversee clerks and other receptionists. With additional education, receptionists can become administrative department managers. The BLS sees jobs for receptionists increasing at 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is far greater than the 14 percent expected for all jobs in all industries, and more than the 10 percent predicted for all office support positions. Although business tasks are becoming increasingly automated, the job of greeting customers and adding a personal voice to the phones cannot be replaced by computer. Many of the jobs will come from the rapidly growing healthcare industry. Those wanting to take advantage of this trend can supplement their training with classes on medical terminology and procedures. The best opportunities will go to those who show extensive computer skills.


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Aurelio,

      Gave this a 5 star rating, up and useful votes. The post office receptionists undoubtedly get more money because it is a government job with all of the associated perks. Still, it surprised me that they made so much more than the private sector.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 

      5 years ago from USA

      This is great information - the salary is higher than I expected as well. I was surprised to see that the post office had receptionists. I normally see them at lawyer's offices and the other places that you mentioned. Voted up.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      I think $37k is pretty good and higher than I expected. Someone needs to tell a certain receptionist I know what the responsibilities are for this job. Playing on the ipod is not a good image for the front office! Voted up.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Who knew they made so much at the post office? Might that have anything to do with the fast rising cost of stamps? On the other hand, they do have an important position in an important establishment. Great hub as usual. Voted Up!

    • Michele Travis profile image

      Michele Travis 

      5 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

      You write very good hubs. Even if they help one person find a job, then they are wonderful.

      Voted up.

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