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Job Outlook for:

SOC: 43-4171        OOH: U250

Quick Stats
Total Jobs in 2016 1,053,700
Expected Growth 9%    (As fast as average)
New Jobs To Be Added
from 2016 to 2026
Median Pay $25,000 to $34,999



Employment Outlook for Receptionists

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.




Typical Pay for Receptionists

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.


What Receptionists Do All Day

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—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 for Receptionists

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

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 up to a month. Training typically covers procedures for visitors and for telephone and computer use.


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.






"Receptionists"   SOC:  43-4171     OOH Code: U250

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