How to Become a Receptionist?

Are you thinking of becoming a Receptionist or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Receptionist, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Receptionist job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Receptionist

If you have a friendly personality and you like keeping everyone around you organized, becoming a receptionist could be an ideal choice. You can work in many different industries and get to know a variety of people. To become a receptionist, take these steps:

Get an education.

Most receptionist positions need at least a high school diploma or a GED. Some jobs require an associate's or bachelor's degree in communications or business. Receptionists should be familiar with word processing programs, typing, using computers and multi-line phone systems, and office etiquette.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Receptionist?

44% of people working as a Receptionist earned a GED / High School Degree

What skills do you need to be a Receptionist?

  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Confidence
  • Microsoft Office Software
  • Windows
  • Faxing
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent Communication
  • Computer Literate
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Receptionist in the United States.

Understand the required skills.

A receptionist is often the first person that a customer has contact with, and working as a receptionist requires several skills. You should be professional, well-spoken, courteous, and well-dressed. You should also have good personal communication and organizational skills and be adept at grammar, spelling, and composition. Receptionists often send emails, transfer calls, use accounting programs, and take care of office management tasks. They should be able to work independently, help customers, schedule meetings and appointments, and help other team members manage their time.


Apply for professional certification.

Professional certifications can make your application and resume more attractive to potential employers. They can also help you learn more about a receptionist's daily responsibilities. The Certified Professional Receptionist certification is administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals. It recognizes professional proficiency and encourages continued development.

To apply, you'll need a one-page letter to the association about why you should get a certification and a one-year membership in the National Association of Professional Receptionists. You'll also need to submit a resume that shows you have five years of experience as a receptionist, information clerk, switchboard operator, customer service representative, administrative assistant, secretary, or greeter.

Three certificates of continued education from any accredited customer service, human resources, management, or receptionist/front desk seminar are required as well. Instead, you can also submit a diploma or certificate from an accredited secretarial or business school. You'll also need a character reference letter from an employer.


Prepare your resume.

A concise, relevant, clear resume can help you stand out compared to other applicants. Review job descriptions for receptionists, and use keywords that appear often, such as 'courteous', 'high school diploma', or 'Microsoft Word'. Many companies use search software to look for applicants with the qualifications they want most. A hiring manager may not see resumes or cover letters without those phrases.


Search for jobs.

During interviews, talk about how you solved a problem like a conflict with a difficult customer. Also, discuss why you want to be a receptionist and why you think you would be good at the job. Along with traditional companies, you can apply for a receptionist job at staffing agencies. Some entry-level receptionists do temporary work for people who take sick days or go on vacation at different businesses.

Receptionist Career Path


0 - 1Years of Experience
$35K - $49K /yrMost Likely Range
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Senior Receptionist

2 - 4Years of Experience
$37K - $53K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Receptionist

5 - 7Years of Experience
$38K - $53K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Receptionist Career Path

Summer Receptionist
Senior Receptionist
Lead Receptionist
Receptionist V
Head Receptionist
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Related Careers in the Administrative Industry

Interested in other Administrative careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Receptionist skills. Discover some of the most common Receptionist career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Front Desk Agent
13% skills overlap
10% transitioned to Front Desk Agent