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Receptionists might find themselves answering phones, entering data, directing schedules, ensuring office operations run smoothly and even managing projects and events. As the initial point of contact, receptionists help form a visitor's first impression of a business or organization. These positions often serve as a stepping stone into the workforce – attracting young and relatively inexperienced people. However, receptionists at some organizations fill valuable positions that are critical to the operations and success of an employer. Although these professionals can be found in virtually every industry, physician and dentist offices employed just over a quarter of all receptionists in 2012.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects receptionist employment growth of 13.5 percent between 2012 and 2022, which translates to 135,900 new jobs. Continued strong growth in health care will likely support the creation of these positions in the next decade.
The median annual salary for receptionists was $25,990 in 2012, or $12.49 an hour, according to the BLS. The best-paid in the profession earned $37,770, while the least-paid earned $18,120. The highest-paid receptionists work in the metropolitan areas of Champaign, Ill., San Francisco and Santa Rosa, Calif.
Receptionists only need a high school diploma or its equivalent, but college graduates may seek receptionist positions as a strategic move to get their foot in the door at a desirable company in their career field. Knowing how to operate office equipment, such as photocopiers, sophisticated phone and paging systems and mailroom equipment is a plus, but most of the training occurs on the job. Some receptionists may eventually advance to become executive-level assistants at large corporate employers.
Aside from basic computer knowledge, candidates should have strong interpersonal skills. "A positive attitude and a friendly disposition are essential elements that employers seek in a solid candidate," says Rosalind Redrick, executive director of the National Association of Professional Receptionists. "Organizational skills and the ability to prioritize reception duties, as well as dependability and punctuality, are a must." Skills that make applicants even more attractive include knowledge of a foreign language or sign language, business education and computer hardware and software skills.
|Upward Mobility||poor Low|
|Stress Level||fair Average|
|Flexibility||poor Below Average|
Last updated by Evan Taylor.