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Career and Education Opportunities for Receptionists in Seattle, Washington

Receptionists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Seattle, Washington area. There are currently 22,730 working receptionists in Washington; this should grow by 21% to about 27,490 working receptionists in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for receptionists are expected to grow by about 15.2%. Receptionists generally answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties.

Receptionists earn approximately $12 per hour or $26,090 annually on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $11 per hour or $24,550 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Clerical, people working as receptionists in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Clerical nationally.

The Seattle area is home to sixty-five schools of higher education, including fourteen within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree as a receptionist. Receptionists usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a receptionist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Receptionist

Receptionist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, receptionists answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties. They also provide information regarding activities conducted at establishment; location of departments, offices, and employees within organization.

Receptionists operate telephone switchboard to respond to, screen and forward calls, providing data, taking messages and scheduling appointments. They also greet persons entering establishment, decide on nature and purpose of visit, and direct or escort them to specific destinations. Equally important, receptionists have to file and maintain archives. They are often called upon to collect, sort, distribute and ready mail, messages and courier deliveries. They are expected to furnish data related to establishment such as location of departments or offices, employees within the organization, or services provided. Finally, receptionists transmit data or documents to customers, using computers, mail, or fax machines.

Every day, receptionists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for receptionists to perform administrative support tasks such as proofreading, transcribing handwritten data, and operating calculators or computers to coordinate with pay archives, invoices, balance sheets and other documents. They are often called upon to hear and resolve complaints from customers and public. They also receive payment and record receipts for services. They are sometimes expected to perform duties such as taking care of plants and straightening magazines to maintain lobby or reception area. Somewhat less frequently, receptionists are also expected to conduct tours or deliver talks describing features of public facility such as a historic site or national park.

Receptionists sometimes are asked to take orders for products or materials and send them to the proper departments to be filled. and calculate and quote rates for tours or other products and services. And finally, they sometimes have to greet persons entering establishment, decide on nature and purpose of visit, and direct or escort them to specific destinations.

Like many other jobs, receptionists must believe in cooperation and coordination and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Broker Assistant. Perform clerical duties involving the purchase or sale of securities. Duties include writing orders for stock purchases and sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, tracking stock price fluctuations, computing equity, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.
  • Correspondence Clerk. Compose letters in reply to requests for merchandise, damage claims, credit and other information, delinquent accounts, or unsatisfactory services. Duties may include gathering data to formulate reply and typing correspondence.
  • Courtroom Clerk. Perform clerical duties in court of law; prepare docket of cases to be called; secure information for judges; and contact witnesses, attorneys, and litigants to obtain information for court.
  • File Clerk. File correspondence, cards, and other records in alphabetical or numerical order or according to the filing system used. Locate and remove material from file when requested.
  • Front Desk Manager. Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.
  • Insurance Claims Processor. Obtain information from insured or designated persons for purpose of settling claim with insurance carrier.
  • Insurance Processing Clerk. Process applications for, changes to, and cancellation of insurance policies. Duties include reviewing insurance applications to ensure that all questions have been answered, compiling data on insurance policy changes, changing policy records to conform to insured party's specifications, compiling data on lapsed insurance policies to determine automatic reinstatement according to company policies, canceling insurance policies as requested by agents, and verifying the accuracy of insurance company records.
  • Library Clerk. Compile records, sort and shelve books, and issue and receive library materials such as pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.
  • License Clerk. Issue licenses or permits to qualified applicants. Obtain necessary information; record data; advise applicants on requirements; collect fees; and issue licenses. May conduct oral, written, or performance testing.
  • Loan Inspector. Interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers; and forward findings, reports, and documents to appraisal department. Review loan papers to ensure completeness, and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers, and sellers upon approval of loan.
  • Municipal Clerk. Draft agendas and bylaws for town or city council; record minutes of council meetings; answer official correspondence; keep fiscal records and accounts; and prepare reports on civic needs.
  • Office Clerk. Perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures. Clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones, bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation, and filing.
  • Order Clerk. Receive and process incoming orders for materials, merchandise, or services such as repairs, installations, or rental of facilities. Duties include informing customers of receipt, prices, and delays; preparing contracts; and handling complaints.
  • Payroll Bookkeeper. Compile and post employee time and payroll data. May compute employees' time worked, production, and commission. May compute and post wages and deductions. May prepare paychecks.
  • Procurement Clerk. Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
  • Production Planner. Coordinate and expedite the flow of work and materials within or between departments of an establishment according to production schedule. Duties include reviewing and distributing production, work, and shipment schedules; conferring with department supervisors to determine progress of work and completion dates; and compiling reports on progress of work, inventory levels, and production problems.
  • Secretary. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.
  • Statement Clerk. Prepare and distribute bank statements to customers, answer inquiries, and reconcile discrepancies in records and accounts.
  • Statistical Clerk. Compile and compute data according to statistical formulas for use in statistical studies. May perform actuarial computations and compile charts and graphs for use by actuaries. Includes actuarial clerks.
  • Store Clerk. Receive, store, and issue sales floor merchandise. Stock shelves, racks, and tables with merchandise and arrange merchandise displays to attract customers. May periodically take physical count of stock or check and mark merchandise.
  • Telephone Operator. Provide information by accessing alphabetical and geographical directories. Assist customers with special billing requests.
  • Weighter. Weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment for the purpose of keeping relevant records. Duties are primarily clerical by nature.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Receptionist Training

Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom - Lakewood, WA

Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Dr SW, Lakewood, WA 98498-1999. Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,632 students. Pierce College at Fort Steilacoom has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated three and five students respectively in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Health Unit Coordinator/Ward Clerk, less than one year which graduated 72 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Pierce College at Puyallup - Puyallup, WA

Pierce College at Puyallup, 1601 39th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98374-2222. Pierce College at Puyallup is a small college located in Puyallup, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,101 students. Pierce College at Puyallup has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated three and four students respectively in 2008.

Tacoma Community College - Tacoma, WA

Tacoma Community College, 6501 S 19th St, Tacoma, WA 98466-6100. Tacoma Community College is a medium sized college located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,942 students. Tacoma Community College has 3 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 14 students in 2008.
  • Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.

Highline Community College - Des Moines, WA

Highline Community College, 2400 S 240th St, Des Moines, WA 98198-9800. Highline Community College is a medium sized college located in Des Moines, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,267 students. Highline Community College has a one to two year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated one student in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, one to two year which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, one to two year which graduated 8 students in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated eighty-six students in 2008.

Bellevue College - Bellevue, WA

Bellevue College, 3000 Landerholm Cir SE, Bellevue, WA 98007-6484. Bellevue College is a large college located in Bellevue, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 11,748 students. Bellevue College has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year which graduated 38 students in 2008.

Lake Washington Technical College - Kirkland, WA

Lake Washington Technical College, 11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98034-8506. Lake Washington Technical College is a small college located in Kirkland, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,010 students. Lake Washington Technical College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated one student in 2008.

Cascadia Community College - Bothell, WA

Cascadia Community College, 18345 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011-8205. Cascadia Community College is a small college located in Bothell, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,385 students. Cascadia Community College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated three students in 2008.

Seattle Vocational Institute - Seattle, WA

Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 S Jackson, Seattle, WA 98144-2219. Seattle Vocational Institute is a small school located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 270 students. Seattle Vocational Institute has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Health Unit Coordinator/Ward Clerk, less than one year and one to two year which graduated one and twenty-five students respectively in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year which graduated 32 students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has a less than one year program in Medical Reception/Receptionist which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

Renton Technical College - Renton, WA

Renton Technical College, 3000 NE Fourth St, Renton, WA 98056-4195. Renton Technical College is a small college located in Renton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,708 students. Renton Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 13 students in 2008.
  • Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 18 students in 2008.

Edmonds Community College - Lynnwood, WA

Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98036-5912. Edmonds Community College is a medium sized college located in Lynnwood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,823 students. Edmonds Community College has 2 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 22 students in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated fourteen and one students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.