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The Variety of Duties for a Receptionist

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A receptionist job demands organizational and multitasking skills, in addition to excellent personal relations. Whether you work in a medical office, hotel or financial institution, for example, you are the first person customers and clients meet and, therefore, become the face of the company. Because of this, a receptionist's duties are critical to the success of a business's bottom line.


Answering the phones, looking up data to efficiently answer questions and distributing the mail are just a few of the administrative duties a receptionist performs daily. A spa receptionist, for example, schedules appointments and answers questions about treatments and pricing, while a school receptionist keeps track of absent-child calls, drafts correspondence for school officials and maintains student records.

Greeting Guests

A warm smile and welcoming attitude from the receptionist puts visitors at ease, especially in a doctor or attorney's office where emotions can run high. In addition, she must know the company and its policies well to answer questions and give directions to new visitors. Also, the receptionist is often called a gatekeeper because she decides the amount of access a visitor gets to the rest of the office, such as when a salesperson asks -- without an appointment -- to see the company's buyer or manager.


A receptionist is responsible for coordinating travel arrangements, room assignments and other reservations. In a hotel, for example, she may book multiple rooms together for guest convenience, or offer a room upgrade when finding out it's a couple's anniversary. A spa receptionist coordinates a client's massage and facial services so that there is ample time to relax by the pool and eat lunch, for example, without the guest feeling rushed.

Keeping Organized

Receptionists keep work areas, data and people organized. In a doctor's office, for example, insurance information is kept current in patient files, the proper co-pays are collected and medical records are updated and transferred in a timely manner. In a hair salon, the receptionist spaces appointments appropriately based on client services; alerts stylists to arriving clients; and knows the differing prices of each stylist.

2016 Salary Information for Receptionists

Receptionists earned a median annual salary of $27,920 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, receptionists earned a 25th percentile salary of $22,700, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $34,280, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,053,700 people were employed in the U.S. as receptionists.


About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images