A proper educational background can help receptionists excel in a job that is often fast-paced. While in general, there is no exact standard for receptionist education, most employers require receptionists to have a minimum of a high school-level education. Aspiring receptionists can also complete classes that increase their proficiency in relevant computer applications or even career-specific receptionist education programs. Additionally, receptionists in some industries may need to obtain specialized training in areas such as medical terminology or bookkeeping. While not technically a form of education, the cultivation of certain traits can also help receptionists succeed in their job.
Unlike many other career fields, there is no established standard for receptionist education. Often, however, employers prefer to hire candidates who hold at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. In competitive job markets, receptionist candidates who have an associate's or bachelor’s degree may have an advantage over those who have not attended college.
Even though many employers train their receptionists on the job and thus do not require a career-specific receptionist education, acquiring some outside training may add distinction to a résumé and impart useful skills. Budding receptionists might wish to consider taking a computer literacy class through a local community college or vocational training organization. For a more comprehensive training experience, receptionist candidates can enroll in a training program that addresses a range of relevant skills, from word processing to letter drafting to interpersonal communication. Such programs can be completed online, and are also offered in a more traditional classroom format by certain business training institutes.
Receptionists working in certain fields may need to complete specialized training that allows them to navigate the technical aspects of that field. For instance, a receptionist in a doctor’s office may need to complete a class in medical terminology or medical billing. A receptionist who works for a building contractor may be required to have training in bookkeeping. Generally, receptionist job listings will note whether applicants must have some form of specialized training.
Finally, receptionists may find that the development of certain traits can improve their job performance. For example, as receptionists are often required to simultaneously attend to several duties, candidates will likely find it useful to hone their ability to multi-task. Further, would-be receptionists should ensure that they can maintain a pleasant, businesslike manner, even when faced with difficult clients or coworkers, and should also be willing to commit to looking professional each day.