Regardless of what type of business they work for, front desk clerks need to be friendly, personable, organized and efficient to succeed in their careers. Education requirements for front desk personnel vary based on industry or work expectations. Some front desk workers get hired with just a high school education, while administrative employees who work directly with top executives are more often required to have a degree.
Hotel Front Desk Clerk
Front desk clerks at hotels check guests in and out, provide tourist information and offer service with a smile. You don't need a postsecondary education to work at a hotel's front desk. Instead, you'll receive most of your training on the job after being hired. According to 2009 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pay for front desk staff at hotels is relatively low. The lowest paid employees make $7.48 per hour, or $15,560 per year. The highest paid personnel get $14.05 per hour, or $29,220 annually. Entry-level employees generally earn at the low end of the wage spectrum.
Medical and Legal Secretaries
Medical and legal secretaries are specialized administrative professionals. Like hotel front desk staff, they're responsible for answering phones and dealing directly with clients and customers, but they also need to be familiar with industry terminology. For this reason, most legal offices and medical practices look for administrative staff with one or two years of community college training. Medical secretaries are responsible for billing patients, scheduling appointments and recording charts. Starting salaries are low, at around $10.13 per hour or $21,080 annually. Experienced medical administrators have the potential to make more, with the highest earners taking home $21.18 hourly, or $44,060 per year. Legal secretaries draft letters and emails, organize files, book appointments and field questions. Starting salaries are around $12.66 per hour, or $26,330 annually. Like medical secretaries, legal secretaries make more with experience, with the best paid professionals earning $30.76 per hour, equivalent to over $60,000 per year.
Executive Administrative Assistants
Besides receiving visitors, organizing meetings and keeping information organized, executive administrative assistants are expected to prepare reports and handle information requests from higher-level staff. Most desk staff in this sector hold four-year bachelor's degrees. Like other front office professionals, starting salaries are low with the potential for higher earnings later. Entry-level administrative assistants make about $13.36 per hour, or $27,780 per year. The most well compensated professionals earn $30.93 per hour on average, equivalent to $64,330 annually.
Other Administrative Personnel
Front desk personnel also include those who work in elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, government offices and other less specialized roles. These workers don't have to have postsecondary education, though it can prove an asset during the job hunt. Expect to start at $9.23 per hour or $19,190 per year; work your way up and you could earn as much as $21.72 per hour, or $44,060 annually.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009, Medical Secretaries
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009, Legal Secretaties
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009, Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Hotel, Motel, and Resort Desk Clerks
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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