I want to learn about careers as a: Receptionist

Find out everything you need to know about becoming a Receptionist.

Job Title: Receptionists


Receptionists officially greet customers and visitors and direct them where to go. Duties vary greatly depending on the work situation. The receptionist is usually the first person in a company the client sees or speaks to, therefore it is important that they create a good impression on the client. 

Three different types of receptionist can be distinguished:

1. Dental and medical receptionists: Arrange appointments and keep patients' records. They may handle the payment of accounts. They may also see to the sterilization of medical instruments and keep them ready for use. 

2. Hotel receptionists: Welcome visitors to the hotel; allocate rooms; enter particulars such as names and periods of stay in the register and are also responsible for room keys and the payment of accounts. 

3. General business receptionists: Are the link between the firm and customers or clients and usually refer clients to appropriate members of staff.

Typical Job Activities

Greeting and directing visitors

Answering telephone calls Making appointments

Handling correspondence

Answering enquiries

Filing and completing of documents

Related Occupations

Office Supervisor


Educational Requirements

Which qualifications do I need to do this job?

A secretarial course is not always required, but subjects like Office Administration, Public Relations and Communication can be useful.  

Diploma: Secretarial qualifications are available at Northlink and Boland FET Colleges. Office Management courses at DUT, CPUT, TUT, VUT and UNISA.

After completing these courses, receptionists will be able to handle specialised routine tasks, as well as special assignments with confidence. Diplomas such as the N.Dip. Hotel Management and N.Dip. Public Relations can be of great advantage to any receptionist.

Compulsory Subjects: None 

Recommended Subjects: Computer Applications, Accounting

What natural skills and/or aptitudes do I need for this occupation?

Enjoy meeting new and different people

Be able to keep information confidential

Have a thorough understanding of the employing organization

Have a desire to be helpful and provide information

Be responsible and persistent

Have a thorough knowledge of the field in which they work

Have a good command of two official languages including spelling

Have good typing skills

Present a neat and well-groomed appearance

Employment Opportunities


Market Competitiveness


Income Potential


Self-Employment Options


International Employment Market


Possible Employers

Municipalities and provincial administrations 

Doctors, dentists and lawyers 

Nursing homes, hospitals and other health-care facilities 

Insurance companies and banks 


Government departments 

Firms providing business and personal services 


Working conditions

Keeping front offices or desks running smoothly and efficiently

Dealing with disagreeable people

Sitting for long periods

On occasion working overtime or on Saturdays

Working under pressure

Career Progress and Path

Further Studies in the specific career field

Further studies in related fields

Experience in specific field

Work performance

Experience in related fields

General management studies

Possible Career Paths – which kind of career path can I follow in this occupation?

Specialist career in the specific field Management positions in the specific field

Management positions in related fields

General business management

Executive positions

Employment Stability

Very stable   

I should consider this career if I want:

a job in government

a job in private companies

a stable job

to become a manager

to be of service to people

to learn new things

to work with languages

to work with people

to work fixed hours