How to Become a Receptionist

A career as a receptionist can be rewarding, enjoyable, and profitable. This is a position that essentially puts you in a front line position in a company, and you will often be the first voice customers hear, as well as the first face they see when they walk into the building. More than that, you may provide the company with an incredible range of support services, making you an invaluable asset to the company you work for. Before you can enjoy working as a receptionist for a great company, you may first need to learn how to become a receptionist. 

Education and Training Requirements

Each company may have slightly different education and training requirements. Some companies may be willing to provide all of the training necessary for the right job applicant, so you may be able to find an entry-level position with no experience required with only a high school diploma. Some receptionist positions may require you to have an associate's degree or even a bachelor's degree, but there typically is not a specific field or area of study that the degree needs to be in. In addition, you may benefit from having special training with office equipment, typing with speed, dictation and other skills that are commonly needed with a receptionist position. Certifications may not be required for most positions, but they may give you an edge on the competition during the hiring process. 

Other Skills Required for the Job

With most receptionist positions, you will be asked to perform tasks related to answering phones, taking messages, greeting clients and customers, scheduling appointments, and even ordering office supplies or sending packages. You may need to type quickly and accurately, have a professional demeanor, and be able to multi-task. Some office environments are very busy and fast-paced, and you may need to maintain composure in this type of environment in order to retain a professional image for the customers and clients that you greet and correspond with. 

Gaining Real-World Work Experiences

Receptionists may be needed for an office with just one or several workers, or it may be needed for a busy office with several hundred employees or more. Generally, the offices that are smaller in size and that have less demanding tasks may be more willing to train the right candidate. These entry-level positions can give you the experience that you need to advance to other positions in larger companies. Typically, larger companies with a more stressful and fast-paced environment may place greater demands on a receptionist. While the compensation is generally commensurate with the amount of work that you will be required to do, these more advanced receptionist positions often require you to have several years of experience working in a similar job function. 

Working as a receptionist can be a great career opportunity to pursue, and there is a regular need for professionals in this field who have the right combination of skills and charisma for the position. If you believe that you would make a great receptionist, you can consider looking for an entry-level position and fine-tuning some of your basic job skills in order to get started in the field. 

Last Updated: April 15, 2015