Career Detail

Receptionists and Information Clerks
“Thank You for Calling...”
Answer telephones, route and screen calls, greet visitors, respond to inquiries from the public, and provide information about the company or organization you work for.
The Job
Receptionists and information clerks are charged with a responsibility that may affect the success of an organization: making a good first impression. Whereas some tasks are common to most receptionists and information clerks, their specific responsibilities vary with the type of establishment in which they work. For example, receptionists and information clerks in hospitals and in doctors' offices may gather patients' personal and insurance information and direct them to the proper waiting rooms. In corporate headquarters, they may greet visitors and manage the scheduling of the board room or common conference area. In factories, large corporations, and government offices, receptionists and information clerks may provide identification cards and arrange for escorts to take visitors to the proper office. Increasingly, receptionists and information clerks use multiline telephone systems, personal computers, and fax machines. Despite the widespread use of automated answering systems or voice mail, many receptionists and clerks still take messages and inform other employees of visitors' arrivals or cancellation of an appointment.
Work Environment
Receptionists and information clerks who greet customers and visitors usually work in areas that are highly visible and designed and furnished to make a good impression.
College Majors
communications, business administration
Minimum Qualifications
Generally need a high school diploma or equivalent as most of their training is received on the job, however, employers often look for applicants who already possess certain skills, such as prior computer experience or answering telephones. Some employers also may prefer a degreed applicant.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Good interpersonal skills and being technologically proficient also are important to employers.
Quick Facts
  • Employment is expected to grow faster than average for all occupations.
  • A high school diploma or its equivalent is the most common educational requirement, however some employers prefer a degreed applicant.
Compensation and Outlook
Median hourly wages of receptionists and information clerks in May 2008 were $11.80. The middle 50 percent earned between $9.69 and $14.44. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.09, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $17.07.
Comments and Updates
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