What is the average receptionist salary?

Last updated: April 12, 2024
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What is the average receptionist salary?
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Working as a receptionist can get your foot in the door for a long-term career in an office environment. In the United States, the job outlook for receptionists is set to grow by 4% by 2030.

Most receptionist positions require little previous experience and offer opportunities to learn new skills. While you’ll start at the low end of the pay scale, hardworking receptionists who participate in training programs can quickly increase their pay.

In this article, we’ll cover receptionist salaries from common industries and what factors impact them. This data is based on full-time salary ranges.

Then, we’ll take a look at the skills you can develop to earn a higher receptionist salary.

What is a receptionist?

Receptionists work in offices behind the front desk. They're usually the first person customers talk to when they enter the building.

Receptionists have a range of duties. For example, they use their excellent communication skills to answer incoming phone calls and take messages. When visitors arrive, they greet them and help them with any queries.

They look after calendars and schedule appointments and meetings. Receptionists perform other clerical tasks, such as opening letters, printing invoices, filing documents, and taking meeting minutes.

Receptionists work in different industries, including healthcare, legal, sales, government, and education.

There are a few minimum job requirements. Receptionists usually need a high school diploma or equivalent. They need strong interpersonal skills, computer skills, and accurate typing skills. They should be confident speaking on the phone and be organized and reliable.

Some jobs require specific knowledge. For example, a school receptionist needs to know about timetables and school policies.

If it's a dental office or doctor's clinic, the receptionist will need to understand medical terminology.

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How much does a receptionist make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average receptionist pay is $29,950 per year or $14.40 per hour.

Many receptionist jobs are in offices with bonus structures or other benefits so that you can increase your total compensation.

Like most jobs, your exact salary will depend on factors like:

  • Your location: You’ll earn more in one of the highest-paying cities like New York due to the higher cost of living.

  • Special skills: The more unique skills you have, the higher your total compensation might be.

  • Experience levels: More years of experience working as a receptionist often translates to a higher pay range.

  • Full-time or part-time work: Some offices only need a part-time receptionist rather than a full-time worker. Full-time receptionist jobs will generally result in a higher average salary.

You don't need a college degree or any previous experience for many entry-level receptionist jobs, such as front-desk receptionist roles. You’ll learn office norms and practices on the job.

As you build experience and skills, you can find specialized roles like dental receptionist jobs that come with a higher base salary.

What are the highest paying industries for a receptionist?

The salary for receptionists can vary depending on the industry. For example, the national average for healthcare industry jobs is $16.44 per hour. This is one of the top paying fields and includes hospitals, dental offices, and medical practices.

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If you'd prefer to work as a receptionist in technical services, the average hourly salary is $14.62.

For those in general administrative support services, the hourly salary will be around $14.43.

Receptionists working for organizations in the religious, professional, and civic fields make an average of $14.26 per hour. If you're interested in personal care services, the average hourly wage is $13.72 per hour.

How does a receptionist salary vary depending on location?

Where you live can also impact the average receptionist wage. So, what are the highest paying states?

Washington, D.C. has an average salary of $42,930 per hour. However, there are only 3000 receptionist jobs there.

Next on the list is Washington, with an average wage of $38,300 per year and 21,970 jobs. New York follows closely behind, with an average salary of $37,890. There are plenty of receptionist jobs in New York, with 63,980 positions.

Want to be a receptionist in California? The average yearly salary is $37,640, and there are 79,660 positions.

Hawaii also has a competitive receptionist salary, with an average of $37,380 per year. There are only 3,540 receptionist jobs.

Let's take a quick look at some other popular locations. In New Jersey, the average receptionist salary is $36,120 per year. In Florida, it's $30,880 per year, and in Texas, it's $30,270.

Receptionists in Wisconsin can make $33,280 per year, and those in Arkansas can make $29,070.

Top skills for high-paying receptionist jobs

In an entry-level receptionist job, you’ll support the day-to-day activities of your office or department.

Some of your responsibilities might include:

  • Greeting visitors and providing customer service

  • Answering and directing phone calls

  • Filing paperwork and making copies

  • Scheduling meetings or booking rooms

  • Ordering office supplies and other needs

Each office runs a little differently, and the responsibilities can impact the final salary.

Take a look at this receptionist job description example. While the position is responsible for the duties outlined above, they’ll also need to manage shipping and receiving for the office.

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If you’re looking for receptionist jobs with a higher pay range, you’ll want to take stock of any specialized skills you have.

For example, receptionists in healthcare-related jobs typically have a higher pay range than a general receptionist role.

You’ll need medical coding, claim handling, and billing skills to qualify for medical receptionist jobs.

You’ll also need to be an organized and highly skilled receptionist, particularly if you end up working in a busy medical office.

Healthcare-related skills aren’t your only pathway to high-paying receptionist jobs. Here are a few other types of job skills you can develop to start earning more:

  • Marketing experience in social media, email marketing, or graphic design

  • Computer or IT skills like tech setup and troubleshooting or website updates.

  • Human resources skills like payroll and employee onboarding

  • Accounting skills like purchase orders, invoicing, and data entry

  • Customer service skills like answering phones and problem-solving

Working as a receptionist can be a great way to get transferable skills that can be used for future career opportunities.

Average office job salaries

As you develop skills in office administration, you can move into other office positions.

Here’s a breakdown of some career paths that you may qualify for after gaining receptionist experience:

1. Administrative assistant

Rather than focusing on greeting visitors in an office, an administrative assistant supports the team with general office duties.

They help managers and supervisors with their administrative tasks like scheduling, booking travel, or entering data. Administrative assistants can answer phones, send faxes, and print reports.

Some administrative assistants help with bookkeeping. The average salary is $39,680 per year or $19.08 per hour.

The average pay range can vary depending on the industry. For example, scientific administrative assistants make $47,150 per hour. Those in the healthcare industry make an average of $37,660 per year.

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2. Office manager

Office managers oversee the operations of the office. They report to the executive team and ensure all office goals are met.

Office managers are responsible for training staff and creating rosters. They create budgets, attend meetings, and manage the team. If a customer has a complaint, the office manager will be there to resolve the issue.

Depending on the size of the workplace, some office managers may help with general office duties.

The average annual wage for an office manager is $50,121 per year.

3. Executive assistant

These high-level assistants work for executives. They may help with project management, administration, and other tasks.

Executive assistants schedule meetings, make travel arrangements and oversee the executive’s calendar. They write letters and answer phone calls for upper management.

Executive assistants often attend leadership meetings and take minutes.

It’s a much more personal level of support than an entry-level receptionist role.

The average salary for an executive assistant is $66,870 per year or $29.84 per hour.

Where to find a receptionist job

There may be receptionist openings in your area. If you want to see who is hiring, visit our job board.

You can search for receptionist roles and get notified of new positions by setting up job alerts.

If you want to work as a virtual receptionist, you can select "remote work only."

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Find a receptionist job today

Receptionist jobs offer a comfortable salary with room to grow your skills and increase your pay. By searching for entry-level receptionist jobs, you can get your foot in the door to the world of office work.

As you develop specialized skills and build up your years of experience, you can branch out into other fields to earn a higher receptionist salary.

Don’t forget, that the average receptionist salary can vary depending on your location, the industry, and your experience.

Review your resume and brush up on your interview skills as you prepare to apply for receptionist jobs. Check out the Jobcase Getting Hired Resource Center for more job search tips.

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