There’s lots to like about working as a receptionist. You’ll make friends with pretty much everybody in your office building, plus you’ll get the satisfaction of helping people. Receptionists often have stable shift times with little overtime, while there’s room for career progression, too.
So if you’re considering applying for receptionist roles, keep reading. We’ll explore how much you can expect to earn in the US, impacting factors and more.
A receptionist wears many hats. They are the face of the company, they are vital admin support and they can even play a role in security. As a receptionist, your day-to-day tasks may include:
- Answering the phone and transferring calls
- Taking and delivering messages
- Greeting visitors and directing them to where they need to go
- Preparing refreshments for guests
- Checking access passes
- Booking and canceling appointments
- Ensuring paperwork is correctly filled in and filed
- Receiving mail
- Preparing and sending packages
- Providing room keys
- Liaising with the cleaning team
- Resolving guests’ problems
- Taking bookings and payments
- Preparing meeting rooms
- Ordering taxis
- Printing, copying and faxing
- Managing office supplies
- Triaging patients (e.g. if you work in a healthcare center)
- Ensuring children’s safety (e.g. if you work in a school)
At all times, as a receptionist, your job is to be professional, helpful and friendly. You may also have to handle confidential information or make judgment calls relating to safety and security. How likely you are to do this will depend on the sector and company.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average receptionist salary in May 2021 was $14.40 an hour. However, this varied according to the sector. Healthcare receptionists earned significantly more, at $16.44 an hour, while the highest-paid 10% of receptionists across the US earned over $22.00 an hour.
Although the BLS’ statistics are highly reliable, being based on government data, you might be wondering if they’re outdated. The Great Resignation of 2021—2022 has had a strong impact on job outlooks and wages across the US.
Fortunately, self-reported data from this year is also available online, via sites such as Payscale and Indeed. Their data is roughly in line with the BLS’, although there are slight variations.
Payscale reports that receptionists in the US earn an average of $34,138 a year or $13.76 an hour. Indeed, meanwhile, analyzed 34,700 reported salaries to calculate that receptionists earn $46,838 a year or $15.40 an hour.
So, how much can you expect to earn as a receptionist? Average wages fall between $13 and $16 an hour. However, depending on your background, experience level and sector, you might find yourself receiving higher or lower offers.
How much you can earn as a receptionist will depend on:
- Your experience level: If you’ve been working as a receptionist for a long time, you should be able to command higher wages.
- Location: A receptionist working in New York should earn more ($17.84 an hour, according to Indeed) than a receptionist in Fayetteville, North Carolina ($13.74), for example.
- Your responsibilities: Many receptionists also take on administrative tasks. Depending on how complicated these are, you may be able to negotiate a higher salary. Meanwhile, in larger organizations, you could work as a reception manager or front desk manager. This position should also be better compensated.
- Your sector: Certain sectors tend to pay more than others. You can position yourself well for a role in better-paying sectors by familiarizing yourself with sector-specific programs and systems.
- Your negotiating skills: Many applicants accept the salary offer they receive, but negotiating your wages can pay off significantly. Read our guide to asking for a higher starting salary to help you do this.
There are several options for receptionists looking to develop their careers. One of the most common routes is becoming a front desk manager. If you work in a hotel, you could even become a hotel manager.
Alternatively, you could move from being a receptionist to an admin assistant, and from there to a more specialist administrative worker or assistant, e.g. an HR administrator or an editorial assistant.
If you work as a receptionist in a medical center, you may find it a good stepping-stone to a career in nursing or medicine. That said, you will need to achieve certain qualifications if you want to go down this career path.
You don’t need special qualifications to become a receptionist. You can become one straight after leaving high school. However, there are certain steps you can take to improve your chances of receiving a job offer (and a better salary).
In addition to your high school diploma or GED, you could take courses in foundational IT skills, office administration and business management. Moreover, courses such as hospitality management or medical filing might be useful for specific receptionist roles.
If you don’t yet have any receptionist experience, you could volunteer to work as a receptionist or admin team for a non-governmental organization. Additionally, any work experience that demonstrates customer service, communication and organization skills will look good to potential employers. Whether you’ve waitressed in a restaurant or had a summer job as a lifeguard, make sure to emphasize these three skills in job interviews.
A well-presented resume will help you stand out from the crowd, even if you don’t yet have a lot of experience to include on your resume. Make sure to avoid common mistakes, like typos, bad formatting and a file type that isn’t machine-readable. We recommend using a hybrid resume format.
When applying for work as a receptionist and negotiating your salary, you need to make a strong first impression that will justify your worth. That’s why your resume is so important.
Your resume is a potential employer’s first introduction to you. What’s more, after reviewing your resume, they’ve probably already decided what salary range they would offer you.
Your resume should be customized to the role in question while highlighting your best features. It also needs to be machine-readable and well laid out.
Our resume builder will help you create a professional, polished and attractive receptionist resume in just minutes. It will suggest the ideal structure and layout, help you pick from different themes and recommend recruiter-approved phrasing.
In doing so, it will help you catch a recruiter’s attention, get invited to interviews and negotiate a higher starting salary. Build your resume now.