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Receptionist Careers

Can you hear me now? That's because a receptionist spends quite a bit of time on the phone, but that's not all their responsible for. Receptionists also spend time helping visitors and educating the public about the organization they work for.

This is one of those jobs that comes with a lot of opportunities. In fact, there are receptionist positions across almost every industry so you definitely won't have a hard time finding a job in this field.

Typically, a receptionist needs a high school diploma. More specific training will be given once you have the job. Then, when you've got the swing of things, you'll be answering phones and helping guests like a pro.

What Does a Receptionist Do

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


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, which can affect the organization’s success.

The specific responsibilities of receptionists vary depending on 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 beauty or hair salons, they schedule appointments, direct clients to the hairstylist, and may serve as cashiers.

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

When they are not busy with callers or visitors, receptionists perform other office tasks, such as processing documents or entering data.

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

How To Become a Receptionist

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


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.


Most receptionists receive short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few days to a week. Training typically covers procedures for visitors, and for telephone and computer use. Medical and legal offices also may instruct new employees on privacy rules related to patient and client information.


Receptionists may advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as secretaries and administrative assistants. Advancement opportunities often depend on the employee’s experience in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet applications.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Receptionists must speak and write clearly so that others may understand them.

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

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.

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Receptionist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Receptionist

20.4 %

Top Careers After Receptionist

15.1 %

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Average Salary for a Receptionist

Receptionists in America make an average salary of $28,105 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $34,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Salary

Best Paying Cities

Average Salarydesc
San Jose, CA
Salary Range30k - 40k$35k$35,117
Anchorage, AK
Salary Range32k - 37k$35k$34,904
Seattle, WA
Salary Range29k - 38k$34k$33,623
Providence, RI
Salary Range28k - 36k$32k$32,125
Washington, DC
Salary Range27k - 37k$32k$32,107
New York, NY
Salary Range27k - 36k$32k$31,793

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Receptionist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Receptionist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Receptionist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Receptionist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Receptionist Demographics



81.6 %


14.2 %


4.1 %



60.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

20.5 %

Black or African American

12.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken


74.3 %


5.9 %


2.1 %
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Receptionist Education



29.4 %

High School Diploma

24.6 %


21.1 %
See More Education Info
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Top Skills For a Receptionist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.7% of receptionists listed phone calls on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and computer skills are important as well.

  • Phone Calls, 13.7%
  • Front Office, 9.3%
  • Customer Service, 7.5%
  • Data Entry, 7.5%
  • Telephone Calls, 6.9%
  • Other Skills, 55.1%
  • See All Receptionist Skills

Best States For a Receptionist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a receptionist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Washington, California, and Rhode Island. Receptionists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $34,901. Whereas in Washington and California, they would average $33,077 and $33,058, respectively. While receptionists would only make an average of $32,117 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Receptionist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Receptionist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New York

Total Receptionist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Receptionist Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ receptionists and discovered their number of receptionist opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that H&R; Block was the best, especially with an average salary of $28,973. Great Clips follows up with an average salary of $25,547, and then comes State Farm with an average of $28,707. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a receptionist. The employers include Sutter Health, Winter Wyman & Co, and Thrivas

1. H&R Block
Avg. Salary: 
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2. Great Clips
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3. State Farm
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4. Massage Envy
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5. Jackson Hewitt
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6. Robert Half International
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Receptionist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020