In most medical offices, the receptionist is the first staff member to interact with patients. These professionals are responsible for patient registration and many of a practice’s operational tasks, including collecting paperwork and scheduling appointments. Medical receptionists must be highly organized and able to work well under pressure while maintaining high levels of care, compassion and confidentiality.
According to the Robert Half 2019 Administrative Salary Guide, the aging U.S. population is driving increased patient loads and a rising need for healthcare services. In fact, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the healthcare sector will have added 2.4 million jobs in the 10 years leading up to 2026 — more than any other industry.
This upward trend within the healthcare field has placed skilled medical receptionists in high demand, and our Salary Guide reports these positions can be challenging to staff — giving candidates the advantage when applying for this role. Read on to learn more, from medical receptionist salaries to job duties and career paths.
Medical receptionist salary
According to the Salary Guide, the midpoint starting salary for a medical receptionist in the U.S. is $29,250, with the higher end of starting compensation reaching $42,750 or more. As with any role, medical receptionist salaries depend largely on the market, practice or office, and the degree of knowledge or experience required. Still, certain traits, such as speaking a second language or holding professional certifications — like the CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) — can increase your pay.
You can quickly find out the going rate for a medical receptionist in your city using our Salary Calculator.
Job duties of medical receptionists
Skilled medical receptionists may find work in doctors’ offices, dental offices, hospitals and outpatient care facilities. The typical duties of these healthcare employees vary greatly depending on the size and type of practice, but common tasks include the following:
- Greeting office visitors and managing patient intake
- Answering and routing incoming calls
- Scheduling patient appointments and managing providers’ calendars
- Updating patient records, including personal information and insurance and billing data
- Filing medical records and performing other administrative tasks, such as scanning or data entry
Required skills, education, experience
Most medical practices require a high school diploma and at least one year of relevant work experience. Additional qualifications consist of these:
- Excellent telephone etiquette and proficiency managing multiline phone systems
- Experience with electronic medical record (EMR) systems
- Familiarity with Microsoft Office
- Knowledge of medical terminology and insurance products
- Customer service skills
- The ability to calmly handle stressful situations
Because the medical receptionist role combines administrative tasks with patient interactions, soft skills are critical for success. Employers value individuals who possess the following:
- An ability to multitask and keep up with the fast pace of a clinical environment
- Interpersonal skills that enhance rapport with patients — such as high emotional intelligence
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Organizational prowess
- Proficiency in time management
- A problem-solving mentality for prioritizing tasks and addressing patient issues that may arise
In keeping with industry trends reported in our Salary Guide, there are several other characteristics that can set candidates apart and possibly provide an edge over the competition:
- Multilingualism — This ability is increasingly sought as the number of non-English-speaking patients seeking care continues to rise.
- Industry experience — While not required, experience within the healthcare field is generally preferred.
- Tech savvy — Employers need receptionists who can stay current with and adapt to the latest software and technologies, such as EMRs and electronic health records (EHRs).
- A desire to help others — Customer service can make or break a practice. Healthcare organizations seek administrative professionals who treat patients with care and compassion.
Diversity of career paths
The career paths for administrative professionals in the healthcare industry are varied. The role may be a springboard to office or practice manager. This job requires many of the same basic skills as a medical receptionist but comes with additional responsibilities, such as overseeing budgets, making sure business goals are met and managing staffing needs.
Depending on their level of expertise, medical receptionists may seek additional training or education and enter other areas of the field. Future career opportunities include medical assistant, lab tech and medical coding specialist.
Medical receptionists can also translate their experience to careers in other sectors. Professionals with the right combination of administrative talent and soft skills can find work as executive assistants, front desk coordinators or customer service managers for a variety of industries.
Does this position sound like it’s perfect for your abilities and experience? Explore medical receptionist jobs in your area.