20+ Difference between Secretary and Receptionist

Several different responsibilities would need to be performed to ensure that an office or a firm’s branch runs well daily.

Both secretaries and receptionists play an important role in ensuring that an office runs efficiently by completing some administrative responsibilities and acting as a liaison between coworkers.

Before choosing between being a secretary or a receptionist, one has to be aware of the considerable differences between the two occupations. These differences are important to consider.

Comparison Between Secretary And Receptionist

DefinitionThe job of a Secretary is mostly unseen by clients and customers, but crucial to the smooth operation of an office. Some of the things they perform include arranging appointments, maintaining office supply stock, and organizing papers and filing systems.A receptionist is an employee whose job is to operate the front desk of an establishment. As such, they often serve as consumers’ first point of contact. A receptionist’s duties extend beyond the front desk and into the administrative sphere.
SupervisionIn many organizations, the line of authority for a secretary extends directly to a manager or supervisor. The function of the secretary could morph into that of an assistant in the future, with the person getting support with things like the planning of meetings, the running of errands, and the completion of paperwork.Workers that are assigned to the front desk often do not report to anybody higher up in the office hierarchy. Instead, it is their responsibility to simplify the process of communication between customers and the organization in general.
DutiesMaking appointments, typing papers, filing, and answering the phone are just a few of the clerical, administrative, and organizational chores that occupy a secretary’s day. The role of the secretary has expanded in recent years to include booking trips and mediating between the boss and the general public.Two of a receptionist’s primary responsibilities are to welcome visitors to the office and answer the phone. Receptionists may be asked to take on extra software and computer responsibilities at certain businesses.
SalaryAccording to the data supplied by the business, the company has said that the typical pay for a secretary is somewhere between $23,160 and $36,020. This is the information that was provided about the salary range. The firm gave the data.The data that the Bureau of Labor Statistics supplied shows that the median hourly salary for a receptionist in the United States is $13.44. This information was provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Skills requiredCustomer service skills, both verbal and written, are very important for receptionists to have. They must be able to direct callers to the correct extension with ease and clarity. Work as a receptionist may be quite fast-paced, requiring employees to master a complicated phone system with several lines and constant incoming calls.Those who want to be secretaries need to be fast typists. They need to be familiar with the office telephone system and fax machines, photocopiers, and videoconferencing systems. The secretaries at a small company may need to understand the ins and outs of a complicated phone system because they take turns filling in for the receptionist.

Major Difference Between Secretary And Receptionist

Who exactly is Secretary?

A secretary’s job is to maintain order and efficiency in an office or company, and they do this by doing various administrative tasks.

They do administrative duties such as making appointments, arranging meetings, and filing paperwork. Professionals in this field often do administrative tasks, such as filing documents and arranging meetings, in a more private setting.

They might also choose to specialize in a field or field of study that would enable them to work in that field or field.

Key Difference: Secretary

  • Even though many workplaces have someone designated as the office manager, the secretaries conduct many of the company’s day-to-day operations. 
  • Appointment setting but also filing, record keeping, or letters to go out to other individuals in the firm or to clientele are all jobs that administrative assistants commonly accomplish. 
  • A high school diploma is usually required for secretarial work, and in the healthcare industry, candidates for some jobs must complete training to get conversant.
  • Executive roles (think high-paying jobs in posh offices) often need substantial work experience before an applicant is considered. 
  • You need to have great interpersonal skills, but you also need to be well-organized and productive. 
  • A secretary’s primary responsibility is to the company, including responsibilities such as filing, scheduling, and assisting others. 
  • Secretaries are often found in the offices of attorneys and executives and in educational institutions, medical facilities, and governmental institutions.

Who exactly is a Receptionist?

In addition to greeting visitors and answering phones, a receptionist’s job description also includes a variety of administrative tasks that contribute to the smooth running of a company or office.

They interact with customers in various ways, including welcoming them, sending and receiving messages, and answering inquiries.

These experts often find employment in the medical sector and related departments. An office receptionist usually deals with the front desk or waiting area’s hectic pace and client-centric nature.

Key Difference: receptionist

  • “Receive” is the word that comes to mind when considering a receptionist. Serving as a liaison between the company and its clients is fundamental to a receptionist’s role. 
  • When you contact a salon, the person who answers the phone is usually a receptionist who may help you schedule an appointment or provide general information.
  • They could also be responsible for secretarial duties in smaller organizations. A person’s people skills are tested in a job as a receptionist. 
  • This necessitates maintaining a positive attitude and assisting customers regardless of their gratitude. 
  • A high school diploma or GED is often required, coupled with relevant work experience, computer literacy, and a positive attitude. 
  • Receptionists don’t earn nearly as much as they should, considering how frequently they decide whether a consumer chooses to patronize.
  • Each customer that enters through the door should be treated with care and respect, and the receptionist’s primary responsibility is to the customer. 
  • While both may be found in several workplaces, receptionists are often seen in professional service providers’ waiting rooms like dentists’ and doctor’s offices.

Contrast Between Secretary And Receptionist


  • Secretary – Secretary duties include the execution of standard administrative and authoritative tasks.

    They maintain filing systems, draft and schedule papers, set up appointments and support other team members. Clerical workers like secretaries and administrative assistants deal with mundane but necessary tasks for running a business or organization.

    They help with things like scheduling meetings and appointments, keeping track of attendance, and preparing paperwork.
  • Receptionist – It’s important to have a clear definition of a receptionist in mind before choosing whether this is the proper career path for you.

    Receptionists, who are also called administrative assistants and front office clerks, are responsible for handling the front desk and other administrative chores for a company or organization.

    Since they are often the first to interact with visitors and customers, they directly reflect the firm and must always offer a positive image.


  • Secretary – A secretary’s main responsibility is to organize the different meetings, appointments, and schedules that take place inside a business.

    Secretaries spend much of their time in the office’s backroom. Most of a secretary’s work is done behind the scenes. It may include anything from arranging employee travel and lodging to maintaining business records and drafting agendas for internal meetings.

    In addition, secretaries may be expected to type longer texts or convert paper documents to digital formats than receptionists.
  • Receptionist – A receptionist’s primary responsibility is to greet and assist clients. A receptionist’s workstation is often located near the front door of an office, making them the initial point of contact for visitors.

    More often than not, receptionists are the first point of contact for clients, fielding calls, emails, and chats and referring them to other departments or employees (such as the customer service department).


  • Secretary – A secretarial position requires higher levels of efficiency and organization. Secretaries need organizational skills to manage the timetables of several groups or departments within an organization.

    Better computer abilities, including typing, utilizing spreadsheets, and fixing basic computer difficulties, are also usually required for a secretarial position.

    If the Secretary works in a specialized field, she or he may need to draw on technical expertise and industry knowledge.
  • Receptionist – Possessing excellent people skills might be very useful for a receptionist.

    Because of the high volume of interactions they have with clients, receptionists must possess excellent customer service skills such as empathy, professionalism, politeness, and knowledge of where to find relevant information.

    With such a heavy focus on customer interaction, the receptionist must have excellent people skills and years of experience communicating with the public.

Work environment:

  • Secretary – Since secretaries spend most of their time in an office’s background, the duties they are responsible for may not need as much urgency.

    When teenagers focus on writing and producing reports and other written materials, they may also develop a higher feeling of responsibility for the work that they are doing.

    Because secretaries often have fewer encounters with customers and other employees, their work environments may be more flexible.
  • Receptionist – Receptionists sometimes find themselves in high-pressure circumstances at work because of the nature of their occupation.

    This is because their job requires them to multitask and interact with consumers in person, over the phone, and online.

    In an environment like this, one’s ability to engage with one’s colleagues and successfully cooperate with one another may also increase.


  • Secretary – Secretarial jobs, compared to receptionist jobs, often need more advanced education and training.

    Secretaries who have attended courses or earned certificates in areas like typing, database management, and spreadsheet creation are sometimes highly sought after by employers.

    Candidates for the role of Secretary may also be asked to demonstrate experience with file management and scheduling.
  • Receptionist – It is unusual for employers to need certain education or work experience of prospective receptionist candidates.

    They learn much of what they need to know while working. However, a candidate for a receptionist role may stand out if they have relevant computer skills or certifications throughout the recruiting process.

    Candidates for the position of receptionist who has worked in customer-facing positions before, such as retail or even volunteer work at a local library, may also be favored by hiring managers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What are the qualities of an effective Secretary?

Excellent secretaries can multitask, maintain organization, and maintain a nice demeanor all at the same time.

They are constantly on top of their game. They also need to have strong communication skills, including the ability to conduct themselves professionally over the phone.

Secretaries must maintain discretion and a high regard for confidentiality since they often handle sensitive information.

Q2. What exactly does it mean to be a receptionist, as far as duties and obligations go?

In addition to providing them with refreshments while they wait, the tasks and responsibilities of a receptionist also include welcoming guests, assisting them in navigating the office, and greeting guests as they arrive.

In addition to this, they are responsible for maintaining appointment schedules, organizing mail, producing copies, and making travel arrangements.

In certain settings, they may even aid with security by monitoring who can enter the building.

Q3. What are some of the duties that are expected of someone holding the position of Secretary?

The bulk of the work that secretaries are responsible for completing is carried out to assure the continued success of a business.

Secretaries are answerable for a significant quantity of labor. They are accountable for carrying out normal administrative responsibilities such as preparing letters and scheduling appointments, managing files, and providing information to persons who call the office.

Q4. Who precisely does a receptionist offer their services to when they walk in the door?

Receptionists talk to a wide number of people during the course of their workdays, including clients, customers, delivery staff, and other members of the public sector.

These conversations may take place in a variety of settings. In most instances, they are liable for supplying answers to inquiries given by an Office Manager who sits right above them on the organizational ladder. This position places the Office Manager directly above them.

Q5. Which role, that of a secretary or that of a receptionist, is considered to be more vital?

When compared to a receptionist, a secretary is accountable for a wider array of additional and more complicated tasks.

When it comes to activities that take place in an office, such as meetings, appointments, and calendars, the Secretary receives training to support their superiors in several different ways.

Secretaries can have larger roles and supervise more subordinates depending on the nature of their immediate superior or employer.

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