Medical ReceptionistJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Job Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Medical receptionists work in healthcare settings as administrative professionals. They interact with patients for many different reasons, such as scheduling appointments, responding to billing inquiries, or checking patients into a hospital, clinic, or laboratory for an appointment. Medical receptionists have a basic knowledge of medical terminology and understand healthcare procedures. They act as the link between people seeking medical care and healthcare providers.

Medical receptionists are also responsible for coordinating the daily administration of doctors, staff, and visitors at a healthcare facility. They are responsible for handling patient emergencies and monitoring stock and supplies. Does working in the medical field sound interesting to you? A position as a medical receptionist where attention to detail is essential might be the right role for you.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] seeks a mature, friendly individual with a professional appearance for our front office. You must be a well-organized, dependable team player with good interpersonal skills. Our responsibilities include answering multiple phone lines, scheduling, check-in, and collections. Previous medical experience is required. As an ideal candidate, you have proven experience working with doctors and patients in a healthcare setting, excellent organizational and administrative skills, firm knowledge of medical terminology, and confidence working in a fast-paced environment and reacting to patient emergencies.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Greeting patients in a professional and friendly manner
  • Registering patients according to established protocols
  • Assisting patients to complete all necessary forms and documentation 
  • Ensuring patient information is accurate including billing information
  • Informing patients of medical office procedures and policies
  • Managing patient records
  • Answering incoming calls and handling or redirecting inquiries
  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Collecting co-pays and payments from patients
  • Scheduling hospital admissions, tests, scans, and outside appointments for patients
  • Obtaining medical reports as requested by medical professionals
  • Completing other clerical duties as assigned
  • Maintaining office supplies
  • Safeguarding patient privacy and confidentiality

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Completion of a certificate program in the medical field preferred
  • 2+ years of experience working as an administrative assistant or in a relevant role

Required skills and qualifications

  • Communicate effectively with doctors, staff, and patients
  • Prioritize and organize workflow effectively
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Work effectively as part of a team as well as independently
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Intermediate computer skills
  • Knowledge of medical software
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Understanding of basic medical terminology
  • Able to multitask
  • Strong organizational and administrative skills
  • Able to work under pressure and handle emergency situations

Preferred qualifications

  • Ability to remain calm in a stressful environment
  • Knowledge of HIPAA regulations, ICD, and CPT coding 
  • Ability to work in a changing environment
  • Previous experience in a private billing general practice
  • CPR certified

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a Medical Receptionist is $45,900 per year in the United States. Salaries will vary based on market and employer size.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$45,650$61,750
Los Angeles, California$51,500$69,700
Denver, Colorado$92,950$58,050
Washington, DC$52,300$70,750
Miami, Florida$72,700$57,800
Orlando, Florida$39,400$53,300
Tampa, Florida$39,800$53,850
Atlanta, Georgia$41,750$56,500
Chicago, Illinois$48,000$64,950
Boston, Massachusetts$51,900$70,200
Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota$41,350$55,950
New York City, New York$64,600$73,900
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$44,500$60,200
Dallas, Texas$43,300$58,600
Houston, Texas$42,900$58,050
Seattle, Washington$49,950$67,550
National Average$39,000$52,800

Typical work environment

Medical receptionists work in doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities. They generally work at reception desks and are the first people patients see when they arrive. Medical receptionists spend much of their day sitting at the front desk while answering phones, greeting visitors, and doing clerical work. They also call patients to remind them of upcoming appointments, record patient information, usually in a computer system, and process payments from patients. The environment can be stressful at times as they have to juggle various duties at the same time.

Typical hours

The typical working hours for a medical receptionist are during normal business hours between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Some work Saturdays as well. Others, such as hospital medical receptionists, might have to work shifts, including weekends.

Available certifications

Certificate programs can help medical receptionists strengthen their resumes and learn additional skills that can advance their careers. Below are three examples of many certifications available from a number of organizations, associations, and universities.

  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). Offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), this certificate program provides students with knowledge of medical terminology, office procedures, CPR, first aid, health insurance billing, and more. Eligibility requirements include a high school diploma or GED and 1 year of experience in the medical assistance field. 
  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS). The CEHRS is offered by the NHA and demonstrates competence in the basic concepts and functions associated with the keeping of electronic health records. The exam also covers the rapidly changing technology in today’s healthcare industry and how that technology is used in maintaining electronic health record systems. Topics include maintaining secure and accurate records, patient data, and insurance. The certification requires 1 year of experience working with electronic health records and successfully completing the exam.
  • Medical Receptionist Certificate. Many colleges and universities across the country offer certificate programs for medical receptionists. The courses generally require 15 to 30 credit hours to complete and offer students the skills needed to successfully provide exceptional service to patients in healthcare facilities and doctor’s offices. Students learn how to schedule appointments, screen telephone calls, obtain and enter patient registration information, and more. The course provides students with a clear understanding of the billing and collection cycle as well as understanding the principles of medical ethics and HIPAA regulations.

Career path

To become a medical receptionist, the first step is to earn a high school diploma or a GED. Many secondary schools offer medical receptionist certification programs for students seeking entry-level positions. Medical receptionists are employed in a wide variety of healthcare facilities from doctor’s offices to medical clinics and hospitals. Medical receptionists might start out greeting patients and answering phones and then progress to maintaining patient records, billing, scheduling, etc. Those with several years of experience can aspire to become assistant medical office managers and then medical office managers in charge of administrative duties for a doctor’s office or medical facility.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-6013

2020 Employment720,900
Projected Employment in 2030853,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 18% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift132,600 increase

Technology is ever-evolving, and medical receptionists will have to adapt to technological advancements in medical offices and healthcare facilities. Already, the vast majority of medical offices rely heavily on the use of computers. Going forward, other technology, such as tablets, will be used more and more in healthcare facilities. Staying current with technology in the medical office will provide doctors and healthcare administrators with more accurate and efficient ways to check in patients, schedule appointments, and bill patients. 

The role of the medical receptionist will include a greater dependence on technology. Data analytics skills needed to enter patient information into the medical office’s system will be in high demand to optimize patient care.

Sample interview questions

  • What experience do you have interacting with patients and visitors?
  • What role does a receptionist play in a customer’s first impression of an organization?
  • Are you familiar with scheduling patient appointments?
  • Have you maintained patient accounts? If so, what type of software system did you use?
  • What computer and technology skills do you have? Which programs and platforms have you worked with?
  • How familiar are you with medical terminology?
  • How would you describe your organizational skills?
  • What relevant training do you have?
  • How would you handle a challenging patient? 
  • Why is patient confidentiality important? 
  • How would you ensure confidential patient information is kept safe?
  • Do you enjoy interacting with people?
  • Are you comfortable with debt collection calls?
  • How many calls did you take on an average day in your last job?
  • How do you organize your tasks for the day?
  • How would you handle a patient emergency?
  • Are you comfortable multitasking in a fast-paced work environment?
  • How do you prioritize calls, clients, deliveries, and other immediate issues?

Are You Interested in Becoming a Medical Receptionist?

If you are interested in a career as a medical receptionist, we will connect you to one of our headhunters or recruiters to see if you are a perfect fit for one of our job openings. If a job does not suit you, we will keep you in mind as new positions open up. We have vast experience connecting medical professionals with some of the most well-known organizations in the country. Maybe your next job or career path is right around the corner. Check out our latest job openings and our blog for career advice.


Similar Job Titles and Careers

  • Medical Secretary
  • Medical Office Administrator
  • Administrative Medical Staff Secretary
  • Clinic Receptionist
  • Medical Office Assistant
  • Medical Front Office Clerk
  • Medical Scheduler
  • Patient Services Representative
  • Medical Biller
  • Dental Receptionist

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