What Does a School Receptionist Do? (With Duties and Skills)

Updated 23 January 2023

If you're interested in an administrative role in education that allows you to help students, families and visitors, you might consider a job as a school receptionist. These professionals have an important role in making sure schools are safe, welcoming and operate efficiently. Learning about this role can help you determine if pursuing it as a career may allow you to reach your goals. In this article, we answer 'What does a school receptionist do?', explore their duties, describe the work environment of a school receptionist, share their salary and a sample job description and explain how to become one.

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What does a school receptionist do?

When you're researching whether a job as a school receptionist is right for you, it's important to learn the answer to 'What does a school receptionist do?' A school receptionist uses a combination of customer service and clerical skills to keep administrative tasks organised, communicate with people who contact the school and assist visitors who enter the facility. They often interact with administrators, teachers, students, families and guests and serve as primary contact for the school.

School receptionists often serve as representatives of the school. As the first contact a person meets when they enter the school, it's important for school receptionists to make a positive impression on visitors. Some receptionists may have basic duties, while others take on a more in-depth role. Some tasks a school receptionist might complete in addition to their regular duties include finance, marketing and human resources.

School receptionist duties

The duties of a school receptionist vary depending on where they work, but they usually focus on ensuring communication within the school and performing typical office duties. As a representative of the school, they provide professional services in a friendly, positive manner that reflects the school's values. Here are some common school receptionist duties:

Communicate with parents, students and guests

School receptionists use communication skills daily to correspond with students, staff, families and visitors to the school by phone, email or in person. They greet students, parents and visitors who enter the school, address concerns from families and answer questions for guests. Although they don't have teaching roles, school receptionists often communicate with children at school, help them with certain tasks and assist teachers with student supervision and care as needed. They may also correspond with other organisations, such as government or media agencies.

Related: What Is the Importance of Soft Skills? (7 Key Reasons)

Perform typical clerical duties

School receptionists usually perform regular clerical duties, such as answering phone calls and emails, accepting postage and freight the school receives and maintaining an organised filing system. They may use software like bookkeeping programmes, education platforms and office software suites to help them complete their tasks and store records efficiently. To perform their duties, they typically use standard office equipment, like copying machines, scanners, printers, multi-line phone systems and intercoms.

Provide administrative support to staff

School receptionists may provide varying levels of administrative support to teachers, administrators and other staff members as needed. They often relay important messages throughout the school and schedule meetings for staff. In some schools, receptionists may help students and teachers by placing supply orders, assisting in the classroom during projects and helping students and children find educational resources.

Related: Top 15 Administrative Assistant Interview Questions

Plan and organise school events and activities

Schools often rely on receptionists to plan, manage and host activities and events. They might organise fund-raising or community events that bring attention to the school or they may arrange for the school to offer extracurricular activities and sports games. Those who take part in organising school activities may also help run them. For example, a school receptionist who starts a drama programme may help theatre instructors prepare students for a play.

School receptionist work environment

School receptionists typically work in school offices during regular hours. They may arrive shortly before school begins and stay for some time after teachers dismiss students to finish their work. Their work environment may vary based on the time of day. For example, they may be especially busy in the morning and at the end of the day when students are arriving and leaving school. During this time, they may answer questions from families and make announcements about activities or updates.

During the rest of the day, school receptionists may have more independence to perform their clerical duties in a relatively quiet environment. Teachers and administrators may share some of the same office space, but receptionists usually have their own desks and storage areas where they keep their supplies and complete their duties. School receptionists take breaks from their other responsibilities to prioritise greeting guests, answering phone calls and responding to emails.

Salary and job outlook for a school receptionist

The salary you may earn as a school receptionist depends on your level of education, your professional experience, your geographic location and your employer. The national average salary for all receptionists is $53,422 per year. Over the next five years, the Australian Government's Job Outlook initiative predicts stable growth. School receptionists who work in certain areas of the country may earn a salary that's higher than average. Here are some of the highest-paying areas for school receptionists:

  • Central Business District (CBD), Sydney: $60,540 per year

  • Sydney, New South Wales (Outside CBD): $55,658 per year

  • Melbourne, Victoria: $54,877 per year

  • Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: $54,059 per year

Related: How to Write a Salary Increase Letter (With Example)

Sample school receptionist job description

Here's an example of a school receptionist job description you may see when looking for a new position:

Suncoast Day School is looking for a full-time school receptionist. The ideal candidate will have at least two years of experience in a customer service or clerical role and a minimum of a Certificate III in Business Administration. Other requirements for the role include:

  • ability to type 60 words per minute

  • proficiency in office software programmes

  • advanced written and verbal communication skills

  • compassionate attitude towards children and families

  • passion for quality education

  • time management and organisational skills

  • experience creating and managing digital filing systems

Related: How to Write an Effective Cover Letter for a Receptionist Job

How to become a school receptionist

The process for becoming a school receptionist may vary, but there are some general steps many professionals take to get started in the role. Here are some steps you can take to become a school receptionist:

1. Earn a certificate

Although some schools may not require it, you might consider earning a professional certificate. These certifications may improve your chances of finding a job by adding to your credentials and can help you distinguish yourself from other candidates who apply for the same positions. Candidates who are interested in becoming school receptionists often start by pursuing a Certificate III in Business Administration, which introduces the basics of working in an administrative role. After receiving this certification, you can earn a Certificate IV in Business Administration to enhance your skills in the field.

2. Gain relevant work experience

Candidates can gain experience that may benefit them as a school receptionist by working in an entry-level role or one of many related roles. Alternatively, consider finding a job in customer service, as helping customers enables you to gain communication skills. If you want to gain clerical experience, you might find a job as an office clerk or administrative assistant to learn more about running an office and keeping it organised. Some school receptionists also gain experience by working in childcare roles, such as at a nursery or as a nanny, to help them communicate with students and families effectively.

3. Update your resume

Before you look for a job as a school receptionist, it's important to update your resume so hiring managers can see your credentials. Remember to add educational qualifications, like certifications you've received or relevant courses you've completed. You can also add any work experience you have and highlight duties you performed and skills you used in those roles that may also benefit you in a school receptionist position. Emphasising transferable experience and skills may improve your chances of getting an interview.

Related: How to Write an Effective Cover Letter for a Receptionist Job

4. Consult your network

Communicating with professionals in the field may help you find a job as a school receptionist. If you have experience working in education or know professionals who work at schools, consider asking them if they know about any job opportunities. If so, they may offer to recommend you for the role. You can also use networking platforms like professional social media pages and organisations to learn more about potential openings, search job listings and make new connections with professionals in the industry who could help you find a job.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies or certificates mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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