Receptionists (NOC 1414)

About this job

Receptionists work in hospitals, medical and dental centres, private businesses and public sector organizations. They greet visitors, answer phones, schedule appointments and perform other clerical duties.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a receptionist is like.

This group includes hospital admitting clerks, switchboard operators, telephone and answering service operators and desk clerks.

Common job titles
  • answering service / switchboard
  • assistant, medical office
  • beauty salon receptionist
  • booking clerk - hospital
  • booking clerk - medical office
  • clerk, appointment / information desk


In general, receptionists:
  • Answer telephones and route calls
  • Greet visitors
  • Provide information in person and by telephone
  • Receive, sort, prioritize, track and distribute incoming mail and courier packages
  • Send outgoing mail and packages
  • Help with catering
  • Order office supplies
  • Solve issues with facilities, office equipment and supplies
  • Make appointments and travel arrangements for staff
  • Book meetings and conference rooms

In some offices, receptionists maintain front desk security and security access lists.

Specific types of receptionists will also have duties relevant to their industry.

Hospital admitting clerks interview patients coming into the hospital to collect and process their information.

Medical and dental receptionists schedule appointments, as well as receive and record payment for services.

Answering service operators answer telephones, and record and forward messages.

Switchboard operators operate a telephone system or switchboard, screen and forward telephone calls, take messages and provide information, and may perform clerical duties.

Telephone operators operate telephone systems and connect customers, forward calls to and from persons with disabilities, and may calculate and record billing information.

Reception desk clerks record bookings, check credit cards, receive payments and issue receipts, and arrange tour reservations.

Work environment

Most receptionists work in office settings. Hours are generally Monday to Friday.

Receptionists spend much of their time sitting at their computers which can put stress on their neck, back, shoulders and eyes. Headsets are often required since a lot of time is spent answering the telephone.

Receptionists are often interrupted in their work with requests from the public, staff and management.

They are also expected to manage many tasks at the same time, and often work in busy, noisy offices.

Insights from industry

As companies become more streamlined and technology continues to evolve, the role of the receptionist has changed. Many companies now use digital portals, such as iPads or tablets, to augment the traditional receptionist position.

The receptionist position is a good entry-level role for those wanting to pursue other administrative professional roles.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With experience, receptionists can move into supervisory positions or go on to become office managers, administrative assistants or executive assistants.

Additional resources