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Become a Hospital Receptionist: Education and Career Information

Research the requirements to become a hospital receptionist. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in office technology. View article »

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Become a Hospital Receptionist

Hospital receptionists perform many of the same duties as other receptionists, such as greeting visitors and distributing messages. A difference is that hospital receptionists also have to gather patient insurance information and direct patients to the proper waiting room.

Around 25% of all receptionists were employed at physician and other health practitioner officers in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Many of these workers were employed part time. Juggling phone calls, patients and doctors' orders may sometimes be demanding.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma or equivalent; certificate programs in medical office technology available
Training Office technology; hospital specific procedures
Key Skills Customer service; communication; knowledge of accounting and computer basics
Salary $13.79 per hour (2015 median for receptionists working in physicians' offices)
$12.84 per hour (2015 median for health practitioners' receptionists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Lone Star College System, O*NET Online

Requirements for being a hospital receptionist include at least a high school diploma and skills in customer service, communication, accounting and computers. In May 2015, the BLS reported that receptionists working in physicians' offices made a median hourly wage of $13.79, while those in other health practitioners' offices made a median wage of $12.84.

Hospital Receptionist Job Steps

There are three main steps you can take to become a hospital receptionist.

Step 1: Complete a Medical Receptionist Program

Some hospitals may prefer to hire receptionists with formal education or training. Community colleges and vocational schools offer certificate programs in medical reception for students interested in becoming hospital receptionists. In addition to general receptionist skills, students learn about health insurance, medical terminology, medical office procedures, and coding. These programs may take from several months to 1 year to complete. Students are awarded a Certificate of Completion upon meeting all of the program requirements.

You should also develop computer skills. Individuals who are familiar with spreadsheets and other software applications may be preferred by employers.

Step 2: Get On-The-Job Training

Most hospital receptionists learn their skills on the job. During this training period, receptionists may learn the procedures for greeting visitors and how to operate the computers. Receptionists may need several weeks to learn the unique details and specific procedures for the hospital or clinic for which they are employed.

Step 3: Develop Additional Skills

Opportunities exist for receptionists wishing to move into administrative roles with more responsibilities, such as administrative assistants. Those wishing to further their career should continue to develop their computer skills, prove themselves trustworthy when protecting patient privacy, and have excellent work habits.

To summarize, hospital receptionists need a high school diploma and on-the-job training, but they may seek medical receptionist training at a college as well.

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