This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Receptionists greet visitors and clients and deal with enquiries and requests. Their work includes scheduling appointments, keeping records, and doing other administration tasks.
Receptionists usually earn
$35K-$50K per year
Source: Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Pay for receptionists varies depending on experience.
- Receptionists usually earn between $35,000 and $45,000 a year.
- Senior receptionists may earn up to $50,000.
Sources: Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Receptionists may do some or all of the following:
- greet visitors, clients or patients and notify staff of their arrival
- answer telephone calls and other enquiries
- make appointments for clients or patients
- administrative tasks such as filing, or organising catering
- collect money from clients or patients.
Medical/dental receptionists and admissions officers may also maintain accounts and patient records, and maintain and check hospital waiting lists.
Skills and knowledge
Receptionists need to have:
- computer and word-processing skills
- clerical (office work) skills, including telephone skills
- knowledge of administration policies, systems and procedures.
Medical receptionists and admissions officers may also need to know about hospital and staff routines, medical services, booking procedures and timetables, and have an understanding of medical terms.
Receptionists usually work:
- regular office hours but may have to work nights or weekends
- at front desks or reception areas of businesses and organisations.
What's the job really like?
Making things happen for patients
Christine Dalley finds her job as an admissions officer very rewarding. "While you're not actually giving people the surgery you're a big part of it happening for them. People that need surgery really appreciate what you do.
"It can be pretty full-on – you're constantly dealing with phone calls, cancellations or people wanting to change things, and there can be a lot of last-minute stuff."
When a phonecall brings great – or terrible – news
One of the biggest challenges of Christine's job is telling a patient when their surgery has to be cancelled due to staff illness or other unforeseeable circumstances. "That's really hard because I know these people are desperately waiting for their surgery. However, when I get to call someone up and tell them they can have their surgery much before they expected to, I get a real buzz."
Busy days aside, Christine says she loves her job. "I work with a great bunch of medical and administrative staff, as well as dealing with some lovely patients. The people are a real highlight of my job."
There are no specific entry requirements to become a receptionist as skills are usually learned on the job. However, computer skills and customer service experience are valuable.
A minimum of NCEA Level 1 maths and English is recommended.
Receptionists need to:
- have a pleasant and efficient manner
- have good communication and listening skills
have planning and organisational skills
- be able to multitask and work well under pressure
- be able to work independently
- be able to keep information confidential.
Previous customer service experience, such as work in a store or cafe, is useful for receptionists.
Find out more about training
- Association of Administrative Professionals NZ
- firstname.lastname@example.org - www.aapnz.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Receptionist vacancies regularly become available because it is a large occupation employing thousands of workers, and people tend to stay in the role for a short time only. This is because:
- the job is usually an entry-level position, so receptionists often progress to other roles in the organisation
- pay is low.
However, vacancies often attract high numbers of applicants.
Chances are best for receptionists with strong interpersonal and presentation skills, who have experience working for large companies.
Types of employers varied
Receptionists work for many types of organisations in the private and public sector, including:
- hotels and motels
- doctors' and dentists' clinics
- public and private hospitals
- various businesses
- government departments.
- Hays, '2015 Hays Salary Guide', 2015, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Hays, 'Office Support – Quarterly Report, April-June 2016', 2016, (www.hays.net.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2014 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2016 Occupational Outlook – Receptionists', 2016, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Receptionists can move into other roles in the organisation or hospital where they work such as:
- administration officer
- clinical coder
- personal assistant
- medical records officer
- medical typist.
Receptionists may specialise in working in a particular area, such as:
- Admissions Officer
- Admissions officers greet hospital patients and organise their admission and discharge.
- Hotel/Motel Receptionist
- Hotel and motel receptionists greet and assist guests.
- Medical/Dental Receptionist
- Medical and dental receptionists work in doctors' or dental surgeries, hospitals, or private clinics.
Last updated 10 February 2017