How to Become a Receptionist in a Medical Office

Research the requirements to become a medical receptionist. Learn about the job duties and explore the step-by-step process to start a career in medical reception. View article »

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 0:59 Hone Receptionist Skills
  • 1:34 Consider a Medical…
  • 2:14 Obtain Employment

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Medical Office Receptionist?

Education Level High school diploma or equivalent; postsecondary education aids advancement
Degree Field Medical receptionist
Key Skills Interpersonal communication, customer service, and time management skills;, general office, medical scheduling, and accounting software; familiarity with office equipment
Salary $12 per hour (2016 median salary for all medical receptionists)


Medical office receptionists are usually the first line of communication between a patient and physician. Their job duties include greeting and assisting patients who have come for an appointment, thereby helping to create a friendly and orderly environment for their employer. Additionally, the receptionist usually performs clerical tasks around the office, such as scheduling, filing, and billing. Most work is completed during office hours, though for medical services that are open 24 hours a day, like hospital emergency rooms, irregular hours and night shifts may be required.

Generally, these employees are paid an hourly wage and the median wage of medical receptionists was $12 per hour as of January 2016, according to Now we'll walk through the steps to a career in medical office reception.

Step 1: Hone Receptionist Skills

Generally, a high school diploma or GED is the only education prospective receptionists will need. But these workers still need to acquire the necessary skills, including interpersonal, verbal and written communication, customer service and time management skills. They must also have proficiency with scheduling and accounting software as well as basic office equipment. Aspiring receptionists might take courses in communications during high school, and they might learn to use administrative software through online courses.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Health Care Administration
  • Health Information and Records Admin
  • Health Information Technology
  • Health Management and Clinical Administration
  • Health Unit Coordinator
  • Health Ward Supervisor
  • Medical Administrative Assistant or Secretary
  • Medical Claims Examiner
  • Medical Facilities Management
  • Medical Insurance Billing and Coding
  • Medical Insurance Services
  • Medical Office Computer Technologies
  • Medical Office Management
  • Medical Office Specialist
  • Medical Receptionist
  • Medical Staff Services
  • Medical Transcriptionist

Step 2: Consider a Medical Receptionist Program

While a high school diploma or the equivalent will suffice, receptionist may gain advantage over the competition by obtaining postsecondary training. Community colleges and other academic institutions offer certificate and associate degree programs designed for medical office receptionists, which can be completed in less than two years. Common medical receptionist or secretary coursework includes medical office software, business communication, medical terminology, office procedures, medical coding and records, transcription and confidentiality practices.

Some programs may offer internship opportunities that provide on-the-job training in reception.

Step 3: Obtain Employment

With the proper skill set, you may be eligible for an entry-level position at a physician's office, hospital, nursing home or other health care facility. Once hired, you'll likely go through weeks of on-the-job training to learn the ins and outs of the office. Keep in mind that medical reception is more complex than general reception positions, so you may need to gain initial experience in a lower-level reception position, such as in a real estate office or government agency, before qualifying for a medical receptionist position.

To become a medical receptionist, you'll need a high school diploma or the equivalent as well as on-the-job training, though a certificate or degree in medical reception can improve job prospects.

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