According to a recent US report about the changing nature of the workplace, work is now:
- more cognitively complex
- more team-based and collaborative
- more dependent on social skills
- more dependent on technological competence
- more time pressured
- more mobile and less dependent on geography.
While these features will vary according to the type of workplace and kind of industry, the bottom line is that workers these days need to be prepared for a dynamic work environment.
Employers want people who can think on their feet and cope with problems as they arise.
Erin Hudson, manager of a busy suburban medical practice in Brisbane, told me that aspiring receptionists sometimes underestimated the demands of such an environment.
‘There could be five phones ringing, several patients at the counter, two doctors standing behind the receptionists wanting something done. Not everyone can deal with the constant pressure,’ she said.
Erin nominated technology as the area of biggest change in the practice in recent years, not only in the programs they use, but also from outside agencies such as Medicare.
All the Monday-Friday receptionists in Erin’s workplace are permanent part-time; casuals are employed on weekends.
Australian Government statistics show that just over half receptionist employment is part-time, and around a quarter have year 12 qualifications. 95% are women.
Average weekly income is around $850 full-time, before tax.
Erin Hudson said that a vocational qualification is not an essential prerequisite for employment in the medical practice she manages, but might help in being selected for interview.
The main vocational qualification in this field is the Certificate III in Business Administration (Medical).
Examples of course providers* for the Certificate III include: TAFE Queensland which for $2300 offers an online course that takes up to 12 months; and Wesley Institute of Training has a combined face-to-face and self-paced course over 6-12 months for $2442. Concessions apply.
The Department of Employment says that the receptionist workforce should grow slightly in coming years and employment prospects are high.
Medical receptionist – at a glance:
- Technology skills are a must
- A vocational qualification is not essential, but may help you get an interview & potentially an edge in selection – but you need to weigh the $ cost of the course against the potential benefit.
- The weekly/annual salary is modest
- About half the workforce are employed part-time
- There are good employment prospects – but also likely plenty of competition for jobs because a formal qualification is not essential for many of these positions, and part-time employment is appealing.
Do you have work experience in this field, or of training or applying for medical receptionist positions? If so, please share your experience through the ‘Comments’ button.
Erin Hudson also had a piece of advice for those chosen for interview for a medical receptionist job: Remember that you will be the front-of-office for the practice, and dress for the interview as you would for the job you are applying for.
Until next time …
Director, Confident4Work Project
*Mention of a specific educational provider does not mean endorsement of that provider or a particular program.