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 Salary Guide, the demand for skilled administrative healthcare workers continues to grow. Providers and payers are trying to add staff in patient registration and reception.

Read on to learn more, from the duties of a medical receptionist to salaries, skills and career paths.

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

Medical receptionist salary

You can find out the starting salary projections for medical receptionists in the U.S. As with any role, medical receptionist salaries depend largely on the market, practice or office, along with the knowledge and experience required.

You can also find out the going rate for a medical receptionist in your city.


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, 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.
  • Certifications — Professional certifications like the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) can show your dedication.
  • 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.