How To Become a Receptionist

how to become a receptionist

How To Become a Receptionist

We’ve all dealt with receptionists before. They call to confirm your appointment at the doctors, they take your call when you book in for your dentist, they email you back with the new client forms at the physiotherapist and they send your contract through after you’ve bought a car or hired a builder.

Receptionists keep the world running smoothly. Chances are you’ve dealt with a receptionist almost on a daily basis in your adult life. They have the kind of job that might not seem like a big job looking from the outside in but it’s actually more vital to the smooth running of the world than you might realise.

A receptionist does many small jobs that, if missed, can have a massive effect on their company and the clients they serve. Are you considering a career change? Here are some tips and information on how to become a receptionist!

What is a Receptionist?

A receptionist (also sometimes called an administrative assistant) is the face of the company and the front-line worker for the office. They greet customers as they arrive, answer phone call enquires, make appointments and deal generally with the public on behalf the business.

What does a Receptionist do?

There are so many tasks that a receptionist might have to do. Depending on the industry they work in and the size of the company, their roles can change but standard tasks usually include:

  • Answering phones
  • Operating a switchboard
  • Monitoring visitor access
  • Making appointments
  • Responding to email enquires
  • Greeting people as they enter the business
  • Data entry
  • Handling the mail outs and incoming mail
  • File management
  • Ordering office supplies

Where do Receptionists work?

Receptionists are needed in every industry. There is a receptionist at the hotel you stay at on your holiday, manning the phones at your doctors’ office, handling enquires at your accountant’s firm and responding to your emails at your builder’s business.

Because there is a need for receptionists in every industry, it is a good future-proof career path as there will always be administration and scheduling to be organised at any place of business. As a receptionist, you can also take your skills anywhere.

How much can a Receptionist earn?

The pay scale for receptionists can vary depending on the industry they are working in. In some industries they may be paid more as an incentive if the work is far away, like in the mines for example. And in larger companies and corporations they may offer a higher salary and look for someone more experienced.

The average full-time receptionist salary in Australia is $57,348. Entry level positions start at $50,700 and more experienced workers earn up to $65,000 per year.

What’s next – career progression options

Depending on the field you are working in and the direction you have an interest in, being a receptionist could be a stepping stone to becoming an office manager, an administration manager or an executive assistant.

There are a lot of options out there for your career progression and the skills a receptionist learns will come in handy in many different careers.

What skills do you need to become a Receptionist?

Receptionists have a lot of work on their plate and they also have to deal with constant interruptions from phone calls and clients walking into the business. It can be a challenging but rewarding role. To succeed as a Receptionist, you should have the following skills.


Receptionists have a million different little tasks pulling their attention in different directions. Phones ringing, people walking into the office, emails coming through, reminders going off for meetings and scheduled appointments. They have a lot of balls in the air so the ability to successfully multi-task is paramount to the role of any receptionist.

People skills

It might sound obvious but a receptionist needs to like talking to people and being around people. They need to be able to handle clients who might have arrived early or late and become impatient when they are not immediately seen.

They will need to balance having polite conversations with incoming clients as well as getting to the phone that is ringing or moving clients through the check-in process so they can assist the next person in line.

A receptionist needs to have diplomacy in their dealings with people and a polite but firm approach to handling tricky situations.


80% of the job is communicating. Talking to customers face to face, answering and making phone calls, sending emails. A receptionist needs excellent verbal and written communication skills and a stellar phone demeanor.

It will also be a part of your job to clarify miscommunications such as missed appointment times, or gaps in personal information provided.

Attention to detail

As a receptionist there will be a million little things you’ll need to remember and to get to in your day. Keeping everything ticking along and making sure the office runs smoothly is essential.

So, a keen attention to detail and an understanding of how to prioritise your work so you don’t drop the ball will be a big part of your role as a receptionist.

What course should you take to become a receptionist?

While there are no formal qualifications required to work as a receptionist, the soft skills and practical skills you need can be learned in a Certificate III in Business Administration.

What will I learn in a Certificate III in Business Administration course?

The course covers:

  • Developing keyboard skills including speed and accuracy
  • Health and safety practices for the office
  • Organising schedules
  • Creating electronic presentations
  • Designing and producing documents
  • Designing and producing spreadsheets
  • Designing and producing business documents
  • Producing desktop documents
  • Writing simple documents
  • Processing customer complaints
  • Delivering and monitoring customer service
  • Organising personal work priorities and more

How long does it take to complete the course?

The course can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months depending on your delivery method. If you complete the course through accelerated study, you’ll have two units per month for up to 6 months or you can complete it through standard delivery which is one unit per month for up to 12 months.

The course is delivered through self-paced online study and you are assigned a dedicated trainer who will check in with you and be available for zoom or phone call catch ups if you have any questions about the course content.

How much does it cost?

The full fee for service cost of this course is $2350 however there is some funding you might qualify for.

The funding available for this course is called Certificate 3 Guarantee Funding and you might be eligible if you meet the following requirements:

  • be aged 15 years or older;
  • be no longer at school (with the exception of school students in Year 10, 11 and 12 undertaking a VET in School (VETiS) program;
  • permanently reside in QLD;
  • be an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident (includes humanitarian entrant), temporary resident with the necessary visa and work permits on the pathway to permanent residency, or a New Zealand citizen; and
  • not hold, and not be enrolled in, a Certificate III or higher-level qualification, not including qualifications completed at school and foundation skills training.

If you are successful in gaining this funding you will only need to pay a co-contribution fee of either $13 or $39 depending on whether you hold a current concession card.

Now you know more about how to become a receptionist, you should decide if it is the right career path for you. If you’re thinking about getting into the exciting and varied field of reception and administration, our course advisors can help with any further questions you might have. Just contact us.

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