Become a Receptionist Online: Overview of Online Training Options

Get info about online programs for receptionist training. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career options.

Essential Information

Receptionists are the first point of contact for customers, patients and vendors in many businesses and offices. Online receptionist training programs are most common at the certificate level and may be either general or specialized in nature. Courses are offered fully online and include keyboarding, bookkeeping, business communications and workplace relations.

General Receptionist Training Programs

General online training programs for receptionists cover a variety of topics and typically take under a year to complete. Programs may include coursework in areas such as the following:

Workplace Relations

To meet the communications needs of their students, most general receptionist training programs offer workplace relations classes. These classes provide students with the skills needed to effectively communicate over the phone and in person with colleagues, clients and vendors. Students learn to handle multiple priorities and develop the ability to calm angry callers. The online class allows students to improve their electronic communications techniques through interactions with classmates and instructors.

Business Communications

Business communications classes provide additional communications training. Students review business grammar and learn the proper formatting for a variety of business documents, including reports and letters. The course materials include style manuals and other reference materials that students can use on the job.


Many employers test their receptionists' keyboarding speed because the receptionist often assists with data entry and general correspondence. Since most online students already have some basic computer skills, these classes are a good way to improve typing speed.


Bookkeeping classes discuss the billing cycle and transaction recording methods. This training gives prospective receptionists a better understanding of the business. Bookkeeping instruction also allows receptionists to assist billing departments.

Specialized Training Programs

There are also more specialized receptionist training programs that allow students to become familiar with the terminology and processes used by particular fields, such as the medical or legal fields. For example, aspiring medical receptionists take classes in medical terminology and medical transcription. These specialized programs typically include the same coursework as general receptionist programs, as well as the specialized instruction.

Career Information

Receptionists need excellent communication skills to aid their frequent telephone and in-person interactions. In many companies, receptionists do more than answer the phone and greet guests. They are often asked to assist with data entry, general correspondence and billing. To perform all these tasks, candidates need strong computer skills and excellent communications skills. In some offices, specialized training in medical or legal terminology is also helpful.

By enrolling in an online certificate program, aspiring receptionists can gain the technical skills and sense of professionalism that are crucial in an office work environment.

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