What is a Medical Receptionist

A medical receptionist is a very important part of a medical clinic, office, or hospital. While the doctor may diagnose and treat a patient, a receptionist is the one who has first contact with them, organizing appointments, performing administrative tasks, and making sure the business stays well-run and efficient. They are integral to the overall state of the business, and to the impression patients receive about it. For more on job duties, please visit our medical receptionist job description page.

Work Environment

The work environment for medical receptionists will be clean and healthful, and while they may interact with patients with various forms of disease, the chances of contracting these diseases is slim; there are a greater number of methods of maintaining a clean workspace in a medical environment.

However, the work itself can be demanding. On top of a hectic schedule that includes greeting patients, gathering requisite information from them (name, address, insurance information, etc), and answering phones, medical receptionists must also perform the various administrative tasks required for the smooth running of the office.

Work Schedule

Generally, the work schedule for medical receptionists will be full time, with a regular forty-hour work week. These hours may differ, with private offices and clinics offering regular business hours, and hospitals offering both regular business hours, and evening and weekend times, as the hospital must remain open at all times.

This being said, nearly one third of all receptionists work part time hours.

Mean Annual Medical Receptionist Salary

The average annual medical receptionist salary is $27,450. The average salary is calculated by adding all the wages within the occupation and dividing that value by the total number of workers in this profession. The lowest 10% of medical receptionist salaries are less than $18,330. The top 10% of medical receptionist salaries reach more than $38,170.

Medical Receptionist Salary: Quick Summary

2013 Mean Salary$27,450 per year
$13.20 per hour
Top 10% Salary$38,170 per year
$18.35 per hour
Bottom 10% Salary$18,330 per year
$8.82 per hour
Number of Jobs, 2013973,580

Medical Receptionist Job Outlook and Prospects

Employment for medical receptionists is expected to grow by at least 14 percent in the coming years. The average job growth is anticipated to be around 10 percent, so this extra growth is, in part, due to the anticipated growth of the medical industry as a whole, an outcome of the aging population and various increased demands caused by improvements in the affordability of health insurance due to federal programs.

Further to this, as the current generation of youth enters the workforce, those with good computer skills and related work experience will find themselves in demand as receptionists.

What Affects Medical Receptionist Salary

The average medical receptionist salary in the United States is $27,450. This is influenced by a number of factors, including the industry worked, the education of the receptionist, and their geographic location. Experience is one of the best means of salary improvements. Specialization is not; there is little specialization in receptionist work, however there are potential additional skills that may help.

Education and Specialization 

There are few special requirements to become a medical receptionist. One needs a high school diploma, as well as strong interpersonal and communication skills. Those with more advanced education, such as a bachelor’s degree, may find themselves more employable, and may see minor pay raises, but this is unlikely.

Specialization, while not specifically a part of medical receptionist work, can be considered from the view of additional skills. A receptionist that can also perform other tasks may see increases in wages; for example, the receptionist that is trained, and performs, phlebotomy, may receive a higher wage than the average medical receptionist.

Experience and Position 

Experience is the primary means of medical receptionist salary increases. The receptionist who knows and understands their work well, who develops good relationships with the patients, and who can keep the business running, anticipating the needs of the doctor, will be an invaluable asset, and will thus be justly rewarded. These are all skills that come mainly from experience, and five or ten years’ work will bring strong raises in pay.

Position is not a factor in medical receptionist salary, unless it is considered similarly to specialization; the medical receptionist who is also a phlebotomist will receive a higher rate of pay than a regular medical receptionist. However, there is little room for vertical growth in position, merely lateral.


Many receptionist salaries are based at or below the average. Medical receptionist salary, however, fluctuates greatly, with those in personal care services being on the lower end of the pay scale at $21,670. Working in the offices of physicians, meanwhile, brings a salary of $27,810, very close to the average, while dentist’s offices offer the best medical receptionist salary at $31,350.


Generally speaking, higher wages will be earned in areas with higher costs of living. District of Columbia, for example, has the highest salaries, at $33,680. Connecticut is an outlier in the second position, at $31,880, and Alaska comes in third, at $31,270.

On the metropolitan scale, a similar trend exists; Californian metropolitan districts make up the majority of the top ten, along with two in Connecticut and one in Alaska. Champaign-Urbana, IL, however, eschews all trends, taking the top-paying metropolitan area with average wages of $38,130.

Medical Receptionist Salary State by State 2013