What Receptionists Do

Receptionists do tasks such as answering phones, receiving visitors, and providing information about their organization to the public.

Work Environment

Receptionists are employed in nearly every industry.

How to Become a Receptionist

Receptionists typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and good communication skills.


The median hourly wage for receptionists was $14.45 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of receptionists is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Overall job opportunities should be good, especially in healthcare industries.

Receptionists do administrative tasks, such as answering phones, greeting visitors, and providing general information about their organization.


Receptionists typically do the following:

  • Answer the telephone and take messages or forward calls
  • Schedule and confirm appointments and maintain calendars
  • Greet customers, clients, and other visitors
  • Check in visitors and direct or escort them to their destinations
  • Inform other employees of visitors’ arrivals or cancellations
  • Enter customer information into the organization’s database
  • Copy, file, and maintain paper or electronic documents
  • Handle incoming and outgoing correspondence

Receptionists are often the first employee of an organization to have contact with a customer or client. They are responsible for making a good first impression for the organization.

Receptionists’ specific responsibilities vary by employer. For example, receptionists in hospitals and doctors’ offices may collect patients’ personal information and direct patients to the waiting room. Some handle billing and insurance payments.

In large corporations and government offices, receptionists may have a security role. For example, they may control access to the organization by issuing visitor passes and escorting visitors to their destination.

Receptionists use telephones, computers, and other office equipment, such as shredders and printers.

Receptionists held about 1.1 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of receptionists were as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance 46%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 11
Personal care services 6
Administrative and support services 4
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 3

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.

Some receptionists face stressful situations. They may have to answer numerous phone calls or deal with difficult visitors.

Work Schedules

Most receptionists work full time. Some receptionists, such as those who work in hospitals and nursing homes, work evenings and weekends.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of receptionists.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Customer Service Representatives

Customer service representatives interact with customers to handle complaints, process orders, and answer questions.

High school diploma or equivalent $34,710

General Office Clerks

General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

High school diploma or equivalent $34,040

Information Clerks

Information clerks perform routine clerical duties, maintain records, collect data, and provide information to customers.

See How to Become One $35,390

Library Technicians and Assistants

Library technicians and assistants help librarians with all aspects of running a library.

See How to Become One $30,560

Secretaries and administrative assistants

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties.

High school diploma or equivalent $39,850



Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank.

High school diploma or equivalent $31,230

For more information about training for receptionists and those in other administrative careers, visit

American Society of Administrative Professionals


Receptionists and Information Clerks

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Receptionists,
at (visited ).