Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2019: > 50,000
Salary Range
Median weekly earnings: < $920 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Reception is an extremely important role in any organisation. Receptionists are generally the client's first contact with a company and first impressions really count.

There are currently around 13,700 receptionists employed in South Australia. Just over half are employed full-time and most work in the health and community services and property and business services industries. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has an older age profile with just over half of receptionists aged 45 years or older.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Receptionist

Accredited (Award)

  • Receptionists greet people and attend to enquiries made by phone or in person. Although the range of tasks varies depending on the place of work, the clerical skills involved are similar with most positions requiring keyboard and computer skills. Receptionists are expected to be able to present an appropriate image for the organisation and deal competently with the people and problems they encounter. In some areas, such as the hospitality industry, they may be required to work outside normal hours including weekends and evenings.

    Michelle is a receptionist who has been working for around 20 years, and has a few tips of the trade to share. 'I believe, as with any job, that you should do it to the best of your ability. A sense of humour and a friendly manner really help. Whenever you see a client, greeting them with some kind words and a smile often helps to create the right environment for good customer service'.

    Clerical and Administrative

  • Of those currently employed approximately 5% have Certificate I or II; 14% have Certificate III or IV; 6% have Advanced Diplomas or Diplomas; and 6% have Bachelor degrees or higher qualifications. Approximately 64% of receptionists have no post-school qualifications. It is recommended that you gain the available qualifications to get the best possible chance of employment.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Diploma of Business Administration. Pathways include the Certificate I & II in Business, Certificate III and IV in Business Administration. Other courses associated with this occupation include the Certificate II and III in Customer Contact.

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • Receptionists work in a variety of organisations, such as medical centres, law and accounting firms, retail and wholesale firms, factories, travel agencies, hotels, motels, hospitals, schools and in professional offices.

    Experience in a variety of clerical duties may be needed for advancement into other areas of administration. These areas include accounts, secretarial, data processing, word processing and administration.

    There is strong competition for positions that do not require experience. Part-time work is becoming more common. Employment prospects are currently good and are enhanced for those with formal qualifications. Even though technology has changed the type of work receptionists do it has not changed employment prospects in the medium term. It is a very large occupational grouping with opportunities in all industry sectors.

  • The duties of a receptionist vary from job to job, but one of their major tasks is to answer the telephone. Operating a large phone system means that it can get very busy, especially when all lines ring at once. Even when under pressure, it is important to be confident and polite. Changes in technology have made answering the phone much easier. The press of a button and the dialling of an extension number will immediately connect you with the person you require. Phones with attached keyboards also simplify message taking. Whether it's over the telephone or in person, a receptionist must be able to direct clients to the person in the organisation who can best deal with their query or need. You must thoroughly understand the business or company that you work for, in order to be able to point people in the right direction.

  • At times, when an employer is busy, a receptionist must be very diplomatic. Without sounding rude, they must be able to turn clients away by asking them to make an appointment or to call back at a time that is convenient for both of them. It is essential that each client feels that they are the most important person. Other duties a receptionist may undertake include recording incoming and outgoing mail, posting the mail, invoicing clients, arranging couriers and making appointments. Depending upon the size of the office, they may also be asked to attend to other general office duties, such as the payment of accounts.

  • To become a receptionist you must have effective communication skills. You deal with people on a day to day basis, so it is important to be able to deal with them in a polite and friendly manner. Increasingly, receptionists are also required to have fast and accurate word processing skills in order to undertake tasks such as typing letters and other documents. Personal presentation is also very important. It is necessary to always look neat and to dress in a professional manner.

    For further information, contact:

    Australian Institute of Office Professionals (SA)
    PO Box 983, Kent Town SA 5071

    Australian Services Union (SA)
    5-9 Rundle St, Kent Town SA 5067
    Ph: (08) 8363 1322
    Fax: (08) 8363 2225

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online