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Online Schools for Receptionists: How to Choose

When potential customers walk into an office, typically the first person they see after walking in the door is the receptionist. Whether a receptionist works in a manufacturing business, medical practice or legal office, he or she usually needs training beyond a high school diploma. Receptionists typically have completed certificate programs that may be offered partially or completely online.

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How to Select an Online Receptionist School

Programs Offered

Receptionist certificates may be offered in general, medical or legal reception. Students interested in working in a doctor's office may be interested in applying to a medical receptionist program. Those interested in working in a law office may want to apply to a legal receptionist program. Medical and legal reception programs are more common than general reception programs. These programs typically take a year or less.

Program Types

Students enrolled in online reception certificate programs access coursework and communicate with professors and other students through the Internet. They may also use online course management programs. Some of these certificate programs are hybrid programs, requiring both online and classroom training. In some cases, students may be required to complete internships that cannot be conducted online.

Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

Schools that offer a receptionist certificate may charge tuition per credit hour, or they may set one fee for the entire program. Additional fees may apply to online courses. Schools also commonly charge for books, registration or exam proctoring. While there may be financial aid available through the school offering the program, not all schools offer aid for this type of program.

List of Online Receptionist Programs

Online Receptionist Certificate

Students learn typical office skills like data entry, filing and appointment setting. Coursework also usually includes practice using common computer programs for document and spreadsheet preparation. Some online receptionist programs may offer students instruction on workplace issues like sexual harassment, business etiquette and performance reviews or guidance with career skills like resume preparation.

Online Medical Receptionist Certificate

In addition to typical reception skills that include interacting with patients by phone and in person, students in a medical receptionist program learn medical terminology and medical transcription. They develop oral and written communication skills for business and office procedures, and they discover how to update computerized information and records.

In some cases, students are required to complete on-site internships at approved locations. Internship activities are performed under the supervision and guidance of working medical receptionists or other office management personnel. Interns in medical reception programs may practice skills like telephone work, appointment setting, insurance billing and coding, medical transcription and relevant office procedures specific to medical settings.

Online Legal Receptionist Certificate

A legal receptionist may have training beyond general office skills, specific to the duties that may be required in a legal office. Students discuss common legal terms and office procedures specific to law offices. Lessons include handling legal forms and documents as well as records management and retention. A legal receptionist certificate program may be conducted completely online or may be offered as a hybrid program that requires some on-campus work.

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