What is a Receptionist?

Receptionists are front-desk employees who combine customer service roles with clerical and administrative duties. These workers may also be known as Clerk Specialists, Office Assistants, Greeters, Front Desk Receptionists, Unit Assistants or Schedulers in the workplace, among a number of other common job titles.

Job Responsibilities of Receptionists and Information Clerks

The duties of Receptionists can be widely varied according to the setting in which they are employed and the preferences of their employers. Healthcare settings, for instance, place different demands on these employees than would an insurance broker or corporate employer. Most Receptionists can expect to be responsible for the following general duties in the workplace: 

  • Greet and/or check in people entering an office or establishment 
  • Answer questions from and provide information to customers/visitors/clients 
  • Handle problems or complaints from customers/visitors/clients 
  • Schedule appointments and keep appointment calendars 
  • Answer phones, take messages, forward calls 
  • Prepare business correspondence 
  • Direct customers/visitors/clients and direct or escort them to specific destinations 
  • Discuss goods or services information with customers/visitors/clients 
  • Notify other workers of client/visitor appointments or arrivals 
  • Collect and record necessary data and documents from customers/visitors/clients 
  • Provide necessary information, materials or documentation to customers/clients and co-workers 
  • File and maintain paper and/or electronic records 
  • Proofread documents, records and correspondence to ensure accuracy 
  • Take payments for services and provide receipts 
  • Prepare routine reports, bills, claims and orders 
  • Manage incoming and outgoing mail, including email 
  • Order necessary office materials, supplies, and/or equipment 
  • Clean and/or maintain facilities or equipment 

Common Employment Settings for Receptionists and Information Clerks

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), receptionists are employed in nearly every industry. Receptionists usually work in areas that are visible and accessible to the public and other employees, such as the front desk of a lobby or waiting room. The largest employers of receptionists are as follows: healthcare and social assistance, professional, scientific, and technical services, personal care services, administrative and support services, and religious, grant making, civic, professional, and similar organizations.

Career Outlook: Receptionists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 142,600 openings for receptionists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.  

Growing healthcare industries are projected to lead demand for receptionists, particularly in physicians’ and dentists’ offices and in outpatient care centers.  

How to Become a Receptionist

To become a Receptionist, it is necessary to have a high school diploma or equivalent and be educated in the use of office technology and other skills, including clerical, communication, customer service, interpersonal and organizational skills, necessary to function efficiently in the modern office environment. These skills can be acquired via college courses, such as the Office Administrative Assistant diploma program at Bryant & Stratton College.

What can I do with an Office Administrative Assistant diploma? 

Bryant & Stratton’s Office Administration Assistant Diploma program offers a foundation of the knowledge and skills you need to successfully pursue receptionist and information clerk positions. Earning this diploma can also prepare you for many other front-office positions in a range of professional settings, including clerical, office support and administrative assistant positions. 

Additionally, completing the Office Administration Assistant diploma program can offer you a head start in taking your education – and your career – to the next level. Graduates of this diploma program can apply the courses it includes and the credits they have earned during their studies towards earning an associate degree in Office Management with Bryant & Stratton College

Receptionist: Additional Training/Requirements

Most newly hired Receptionists are expected to undergo a period of on-the-job training as a condition of employment. In most cases, training programs for these positions can be completed within several weeks. Training typically covers clerical procedures, computer applications, telephone systems, policies and procedures for managing customers/visitors/clients, and other topics specific to employers, office environments and organizations. 

However, on the job training is often more lengthy and complex for positions offered by local, state and federal governments. Training programs for these jobs may last several months as new employees are educated about government programs, policies, procedures and regulations specific to their positions. 

For more insights into starting a career as a Receptionist, please visit the Degree Insights section of the Bryant & Stratton College blog. By exploring the blog and our website, you will be sure to find helpful information as you plan your path to a successful and satisfying new career. 

While these projections can help career-minded people evaluate potential employment fields, it is important to note that job market data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook is only intended to provide insight on occupational opportunities. It should not be construed as a guarantee of salary or job title. Neither BLS nor Bryant & Stratton College can guarantee employment in any field.

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