Receptionists are often the first person our patients see. They use customer service and admin skills to welcome people to a hospital, health centre, clinic or NHS headquarters.
Training and qualifications required
There are no set entry requirements to become a receptionist. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications and often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in an admin or customer service role. You will get the training you need to do the job. You may also have training in customer care and the chance to take qualifications such as those from AMSPAR and BSMSA.
Expected working hours and salary range
Administrative staff in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a receptionist you would typically be on AfC band 2 or 3. With further training and qualifications you could consider supervisory and managerial posts higher bands. Terms and conditions will be different for administrative staff working outside of the NHS. Receptionists work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. Some staff may work shifts, which could involve nights, early starts, evenings and weekends.
Desirable skills and values
As a receptionist, you'll need to be friendly and welcoming, patient and understanding, follow instructions and procedures, work accurately and methodically, work in a team but use your own initiative, work with all types of people, deal with people who may be angry or upset, be confident using the phone. You'll also need organisation skills, good communication and IT skills and excellent customer service skills.
With experience, you could become a team leader, coordinating the work of a team of reception and allied staff. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for the staff in a broader department. Some receptionists move into specialist roles such as medical secretary or PA. Others move into areas such as finance or HR. You may also have the opportunity to move into informatics, specialising in electronic data, or into IT.