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Career and Education Opportunities for Receptionists in Vancouver, Washington

If you want to be a receptionist, the Vancouver, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 22,730 working receptionists in Washington; this should grow 21% to 27,490 working receptionists in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for receptionists, which sees this job pool growing by about 15.2% over the next eight years. Receptionists generally answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties.

Receptionists earn about $12 per hour or $26,090 annually on average in Washington and about $11 per hour or $24,550 per year on average nationally. Incomes for receptionists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Clerical in Washington, and not quite as good as the overall Clerical category nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can study to be a receptionist, among forty-eight schools of higher education total in the Vancouver area. Receptionists usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Vancouver 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated eight and zero students respectively in 2008.

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated one student in 2008.

Clark College - Vancouver, WA

Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA 98663-3598. Clark College is a large college located in Vancouver, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,378 students. Clark College has 3 areas of study related to Receptionist. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 9 students in 2008.
  • Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • General Office Occupations and Clerical Services, less than one year and one to two year which graduated eight and three students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.