Career outlook for receptionist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would greet visitors to the organisation you work for. As the first point of contact you would help people with their enquiries.

You could work in all kinds of locations, including businesses, schools, hospitals, sports centres and hotels.

Depending on where you work, you would:

  • Greet visitors and direct them to the right person or place
  • Look after the visitors book and give out security passes
  • Answer enquiries in person, on the phone and by email
  • Provide or send out information
  • Manage a booking system
  • Provide refreshments
  • Keep the reception area tidy

As a medical or dental receptionist you would arrange people’s appointments and take payments for treatments.

You should be friendly and able to deal with lots of different people. Sometimes people might be difficult because they are impatient or upset so you’d need to be polite but firm.

It would be important to follow safety and security procedures and put them into effect, such as checking who is going in and out of the building.

In some companies, especially if the reception area is not busy, you could have other tasks. For example, you might:

  • Book transport and travel
  • Organise meeting rooms
  • Do basic clerical work
  • Handle cash
  • Do simple bookkeeping

Some large organisations and office buildings contain several companies. In this type of location you may act as a receptionist as well as work as a security officer.

Working conditions


You would usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. However, organisations like hotels and restaurants will often cover weekends and evenings using a shift rota. Part-time work is normally available.


You would sit behind a reception desk.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Positive attitude
  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Respecting

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Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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Although there are no set routes to employment, some employers will look for qualifications at SCQF level 4 /5 or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as Scottish Vocational Qualification in Business and Administration (SVQ level 2/3).

If you decide to study a business or administration National Certificate or National Qualification, the entry requirements vary from no formal qualifications up to three to four subjects at National 4/5.

Some courses include units in reception skills. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most employers)
  • Administrative subjeects
  • Business
  • ICT
  • Maths.

Languages may be important for some roles.