Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Make a Difference With Your People Skills
If you love to make people feel welcome and are naturally organized, a career as a receptionist could be both enjoyable and fulfilling. Your smile will bring cheer to others throughout the day, while your office skills help keep things running smoothly. A reliable hourly wage and consistent work hours make this a dependable job when you are raising little children. Many jobs also offer full-time hours and benefits.
Receptionists play an important role in almost any business, as they are usually the first smile or voice that clients and business colleagues encounter. Receptionists greet people, answer the phones, help organize schedules, inform coworkers when appointments have arrived, make copies, organize files, answer emails, and handle incoming and outgoing mail. Receptionists are sometimes responsible for limiting access to important figures within a company by ensuring visitors have an appointment and prioritizing who gets appointments.
Most receptionists are required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many employers prefer candidates who type quickly and have excellent computer skills, especially in spreadsheets, word-processing programs, email and scheduling programs. Local community colleges often offer basic typing and computer skills courses if you need help getting up to speed. On-the-job training normally lasts a few days or a week and helps you learn anything else you need to know about phone systems, particular office procedures and company specifics. Your most important assets are your friendly smile, interpersonal skills and integrity.
Receptionists earn a median hourly wage of $13.42, which means that half of all receptionists earned more than this amount, while the other half earned less. The top 10 percent earned more than $19.41 per hour, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $9.39 per hour. Those in health care and social assistance earn the highest median wage, at $14.03 per hour.
Almost all businesses need receptionists, but 45 percent are employed in health care or social service settings. The rest work in professional services, corporate settings, technical services, spas, salons, places of worship, religious organizations, nonprofits and many other environments. Most receptionists work in an office setting at a front desk, in a waiting room or at a reception desk. Daytime office hours are most common, though receptionists who work in nursing homes or hospitals may sometimes need to work evenings and weekends. Most positions are full-time, though some part-time positions are available and could be a good fit for someone raising a young family who needs a little extra income. The work environment can be stressful when the phones are busy and people are walking in for appointments, so excellent stress management and communication skills are a definite bonus.
Years of Experience
Receptionists normally see a gradual increase in hourly rate with experience, though many do not remain in the profession longer than 20 years before moving on to other positions. One projection of income for those who remain in the profession looks like this:
- Entry-Level: $9.13‒$15.35
- Mid-Career: $9.92‒$16.86
- Experienced: $10.03‒$18.07
Job Growth Trend
Job opportunities for receptionists are expected to grow 9 percent over the next decade, about as fast as in other industries. Positions in the health care industry are expected to increase the most as the population ages and health care continues to expand. Receptionist positions in other fields may decline, as computer automation and technology continue to replace many of the tasks receptionists completed in the past.
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.