Should I Become a Front Desk Clerk?
Front desk clerks spend most of their time interacting with the public. Their duties vary by industry, but primary responsibilities include customer service and some administrative work, such as word processing or data entry. They keep records, answer calls, handle customer complaints, and provide information to guests and clients. These workers often perform their duties in comfortable office environments, but dealing with dissatisfied customers is difficult. Many front desks are also open on weekends, evenings, and holidays, so clerks might be expected to work these hours.
Aspiring front desk clerks can usually find a job with just a high school diploma. Those who do pursue postsecondary education specialize in hospitality or business. Experience is beneficial, but not required for this entry-level career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary for receptionists and information clerks of $27,300 in 2015.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Degree Field(s)||Hospitality, business, or administration|
|Experience||Entry-level; no required experience|
|Key Skills||Strong verbal communication, organizational, and interpersonal skills; problem-solving ability; familiarity with database software and the Microsoft Office suite|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Steps to Become a Front Desk Clerk
Let's review what steps have to be taken to become a front desk clerk.
Step 1: Get an Education
There are no standard educational requirements for becoming a front desk clerk, but a high school diploma, including coursework in business and computer skills, is beneficial. Workers can receive additional training and experience through an associate's degree program in hospitality, which includes courses in computer literacy and management, or business administration, which covers accounting, business writing, and marketing. Some employers have specific education requirements.
Develop communication skills. Since front desk clerks frequently interact with customers and clients, candidates should have strong written and oral communication skills. Taking high school or postsecondary courses in English and public speaking helps workers communicate clearly and effectively.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
On-the-job training is common for a front desk clerk position. Duties for an entry-level job vary according to industry, but most training will concern the company's products or services, computer and phone systems, and answers to frequently asked questions. A front desk clerk directs customers to other staff members for assistance, so learning the company's internal structure is essential.
Choose an industry that suits your interests. Although duties such as greeting visitors are standard, front desk clerks have different responsibilities in each industry. Hotel clerks manage reservations, check guests into their rooms, arrange payment, and respond to customer problems or complaints. Front desk clerks working in health care centers compile and file patient information, while those in the transportation industry answer questions about bus or train schedules.
Learn industry technology. Front desk clerks familiar with their field's software are more attractive job candidates. Hotel clerks use programs such as ASI FrontDesk or Ramesys Hotel software, while those working in a health care office use Epic or Henry Schein Dentrix software. Training for these programs might be available from the software companies.
Step 3: Obtain Training for Advancement
Front desk clerk is an entry-level position that allows an employee to learn about a company. After several years of work experience in an industry or after acquiring more formal education in the field, front desk clerks can move up to supervisory customer service positions or transfer into another department with more opportunity for development.
To become a front desk clerk, you'll need to develop strong communication and computer skills and then gain work experience.