What Are the Qualifications for a Receptionist?

Receptionist roles vary by industry and organization, but a high school diploma is the standard minimum educational requirement. A combination of skills, including good communication, organization and customer-service abilities, is often required.

Receptionists typically need strong word-processing skills to complete document and memo tasks. To develop and demonstrate typing abilities, some aspiring receptionists take keyboarding courses at community colleges. Some also pursue administrative assistant programs to improve their career options and to further develop receptionist skills.

Communication, interpersonal and customer-service skills are critical because a primary receptionist role is to greet visitors. The business needs receptionists who project a professional image and who deliver and receive messages accurately. Receptionists also communicate internally with employees, and effective communication is important to the accuracy and efficiency of internal operations.

In many work settings, receptionists also need a high degree of integrity and trustworthiness. In legal and medical offices, for instance, receptionists have close access to confidential information about clients and patients. Professionals in these environments rely on receptionists to respect the legal and ethical privacy rights of their clients.

Organizational skills enable a receptionist to carry out more administrative tasks common to the job. Such tasks include taking messages, keeping schedules and maintaining document files.