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How to Become a Receptionist

If you enjoy working with people and have excellent communication and organisational skills, then you could consider becoming a receptionist. Besides these skills, you would need to have good time-management skills and the ability to multitask.

You would have a chance to try yourself in a number of organisations, such as hospitals, hotels, schools, and sport centres. 

Receptionist is the first person visitors see when they enter a building; a lot of these people base their decision on whether to have any future interaction with the company concerned on this first impression.  Therefore, it is very important that the receptionist looks and sounds professional, is polite with visitors and is able to answer all questions.  

What do Receptionists do?

Your duties may differ depending on the type of organisation you are employed with. However, there are some typical responsibilities that almost all receptionists share:

  • greeting visitors and directing them to the right person or department
  • answering enquiries in person, by phone, or on email
  • managing the visitor book and handing out security passes
  • keeping the reception area in order
  • giving out refreshments

If you happen to work at a medical centre, you will need to also arrange appointments and take payments for the visit. Many employers also expect from receptionists to book flight tickets and hotel rooms for the travelling staff, do some basic clerical work and bookkeeping, and organise conference rooms.

Entry Requirements and Qualifications 

No formal qualifications are needed to start work as a receptionist. However, your employer would consider it a plus if you have a good general education, such as GSCEs in English and maths. Basic IT skills, such as word processing and using email, would also be helpful.

Some organisations that serve international clients would prefer you to speak foreign languages. Any prior experience in customer service would make you considerably more employable.

There are a number of courses you could consider taking, depending on the organisation you hope to work with. The following are some of the most popular courses that could teach you skills needed in this field:

Your employer could organise some training to teach whatever skills and rules they consider important.

Receptionists working in healthcare have to complete additional courses in medical terminology and healthcare administration. The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) offers relevant qualifications throughout the country; for more details about these programmes, visit  AMSPAR website

You may start the career of a receptionist by joining an apprenticeship scheme. For the list of current openings, visit the Apprenticeship website.  

Hours and Income

Receptionists normally work regular office hours, Monday to Friday. For some type of organisations, such as medical centres, irregular hours and shift system may be available. 

The following are the estimated salary levels for receptionists, according to the National Career Service: 

Receptionist Salaries





New Receptionists





Experienced Receptionists


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Employers and Career Growth

You could work with many different organisations, including hospitals, schools, factories, and hotels. Jobs are advertised in the local press or on company websites. Experienced receptionists could be promoted to more advanced positions within different departments, such as HR or Customer Service. For current job openings and further reading about the job of a receptionist, visit:

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