What is a School Receptionist?
School receptionists are the gatekeepers at elementary, middle and high schools. They greet visitors and parents, answer the phone and schedule meetings for school administrators. Their job is a blend of customer service, clerical and secretarial work.
School Receptionists work at all sizes and types of schools, and their exact responsibilities vary based on the school at which they work. In general, they support the administration and staff and facilitate communication throughout the school.
School Receptionist Duties and Responsibilities
A School Receptionist is often the first point of contact for people who call or visit a school campus. As such, they should be prepared to handle a wide range of inquiries and requests. An analysis of School Receptionist job postings revealed the wide variety of responsibilities that the job entails. Here are some of the core duties of a School Receptionist.
Greet Visitors, Parents, and Students
School Receptionists answer phone calls, greet visitors and provide information to parents and students. They are able to provide information on a variety of topics, including rules, disciplinary measures, and day-to-day operations of the school.
Facilitate Communication Within the School
School Receptionists share information broadly with administrators, teachers, and students’ families through emails, flyers or phone calls, ensuring that necessary information is properly transmitted.
Keeping a variety of records is an important part of a School Receptionist’s job. They keep records of phone calls and visits. They also maintain records of school operations, such as registration and class schedules, bus scheduling and routes, academic transcripts and parent contact information.
In many schools, School Receptionists are in charge of the activities and meetings calendars. They schedule events such as parent-teacher conferences, back-to-school nights and staff calls. Some School Receptionists will also manage the principal’s daily calendar, organizing his or her meetings and helping them stay on schedule.
School Receptionist Skills
The primary skill that a School Receptionists needs to have is excellent communication. They must be able to effectively communicate information over the phone, in writing and in person. They also need to be highly organized, in order to maintain orderly and complete records. School Receptionists should be able to follow directions but to also proactively address issues that may arise. In addition to these personality traits, there are a number of other skills that a School Receptionist should have on their resume.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers are looking for School Receptionists who have mastered these core skills. If you want to work as School Receptionist, focus on developing the following.
- Knowledge and awareness of current customer service principles and practice
- Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize workload
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Ability to multitask
- Experience with cash handling and processing of payments
Advanced skills: Not all employers required the below listed skills, but many of them included them as desired skills for a School Receptionist. If you have these on your School Receptionist resume, you will be an excellent candidate.
- Experience of working with children
- Ability to do basic mathematical computations
- Experience in a school or office setting
Tools of the trade: School Receptionists use many different tools to perform their day-to-day duties. If you plan on pursuing a job as a School Receptionist, work on becoming proficient in using the following:
- Complex telecommunications equipment
- Computer systems and applications, such as Microsoft Word and Excel
- Common office equipment, such as copier machines and fax machines
- Computer scheduling software
- Mail processing equipment, such as postage meters
School Receptionist Q & A
To get a better sense of what it takes to be a School Receptionist, we talked to Mike Holiday, who began his career in that position. Today, he runs a homeschooling resource called Homeschool Base. Here are the insights he shared about being a School Receptionist.
What are some of the core duties performed by a School Receptionist?
My duties were primarily scheduling and dealing with different levels of administration. I also had to do a lot of interpersonal interactions between families. Our school didn’t receive very many visitors, but I was also usually the one in charge of greeting them.
What challenges does a School Receptionist face?
Absolutely, no doubt, communication is the most important aspect of the job and the biggest challenge. You have to communicate with people on every level: administrative, teachers, parents and students. The range of positions, age, and education level is vast.
What skills do School Receptionists use most?
Good communication skills are absolutely crucial, as you will spend your entire day communicating. I would also add that patience isn’t just a virtue as a School Receptionist, its more of a requirement. You will have to handle angry parents. This involves both communication and patience.
What should someone consider before becoming a School Receptionist?
Can you remain calm throughout a day of constant communication? Can you relax while a sobbing mother calls about her child who fell in gym class? Can you switch gears at the drop of a hat and talk with the principle about important district changes?
What type of person is successful in this job?
An extrovert. You must also be driven. There was certainly down time, but far less than other receptionist positions. Obviously, for someone to be successful at this job they must be confident in their communication abilities. You must be okay with confrontation. So, a meek or shy person will most likely be overwhelmed.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about being a School Receptionist?
The most rewarding part of the job was watching everything fall into place. It’s being able to finish the day knowing that you are the reason the wheels can keep on turning. This position connects the entire school. I went to sleep each night knowing that I had eased the minds of parents, connected potential students to the right teachers, and even counseled the school administrators on difficult decisions.
School Receptionist Salary
According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for all receptionists in the U.S. (including school receptionists) is $13.12. The lowest earning ten percent of receptionists make less than $9.17 an hour, while the highest earning 10 percent can earn more than $18.92 hourly. Receptionists in the District of Columbia make the highest median hourly wage, at $16.12. D.C. is followed by Connecticut, where the median hourly wage is $15.49, and Alaska, where it is $15.31.
School Receptionist Resources
Here is a list of additional resources to help you continue exploring a career as a School Receptionist. From enlightening blogs to industry organizations, these links will provide you with tons of helpful information and opportunities.
On the Web
Education World – Head to this website to read up on the latest in education and news and education administration information.
Homeroom – This is the official blog of the Department of Education, and it provides great video and written blogs on education and education administration topics concerning education.
American Association of School Administrators – AASA is an association of all association for school system leaders, and it offers career information and a job board to help you find an opening for a School Receptionist.
Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) – This global organization supports school business professionals such as School Receptionists, providing opportunities for learning and career development and industry information.
School Receptionist Books
Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook – This book has just about everything you will need to know about the roles, responsibilities of a Receptionist and tips for being successful in the job.
The Professional Secretary’s Handbook: Communication Skills – Since a large part of the job of a School Receptionist is communication – with parents, teachers and staff – this book will help sharpen your communication skills to excel in the position.
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