|Number of Jobs:||248,500|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#22|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#84|
The job requirements and duties of receptionists are as varied as the companies and organizations that employ them. These diverse positions often serve as a stepping stone into the world of work, attracting younger and often relatively inexperienced people who greet office visitors, answer the phone, handle office correspondence, and a range of other duties. However, receptionists at some organizations fill valued career-path positions that are critical to the operations and success of many employers. Dental and medical offices employ nearly a fourth of all receptionists, and continued strong growth in healthcare will support the creation of new jobs. Larger and more specialized employers may require suitably trained receptionists who perform highly specialized duties. The ability to make a positive first impression is crucial to both doing this job and getting hired in the first place. Also, the growth of online communication is changing the job profiles of many receptionists to also include email and social media communications.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects receptionist employment growth of 23.7 percent between 2010 and 2020, adding 248,500 new jobs and another 317,100 replacement jobs. There were 973,800 receptionist jobs in 2011, and demand for these positions is directly linked with economic growth. Internet and communications technology advances will also influence demand and required job skills.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for receptionists was $25,690 in 2011. The best-paid 10 percent made an average of $37,500, while the lowest-paid 10 percent were paid $17,900 on average. The highest salaries were paid by the U.S. Postal Service, scientific research and development organizations, and telecommunication companies (excluding carriers and satellite firms). The highest-paid receptionists worked in the metropolitan areas of Champaign, Ill., San Francisco, and Bridgeport, Conn.
A high school diploma is normally the highest educational requirement, but some college graduates may fill receptionist positions as a way of getting a foot in the door at very attractive companies in their career fields. Having good listening skills is very important, as receptionists must deal frequently with visitors and callers who are unfamiliar with the organization or are seeking help in dealing with a problem. It's also a plus if the person can operate a wide range of office equipment —computers, photocopiers, sophisticated phone and paging systems, and mailroom equipment, as well as coffee makers. Most receptionists advance by transferring into another occupation. However, some may move up to senior, executive-level assistants, especially at large employers.
"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," she adds. Increasingly, top employers are looking for experience. According to Redrick, skills that enhance an applicant's chances include foreign languages, sign language, business education, and computer hardware and software skills.