1. Careers
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Office Clerk: Career Information

By

Job Description:

It is difficult to describe, in a sentence or two, what an office clerk does. One's duties may vary by employer and by level of experience. They may even change from day to day depending on an employer's needs. An office clerk may do any or all of a variety of tasks including filing, answering phones, entering data, scheduling appointments, typing correspondence, proofreading documents, running errands and handling mail, to name but a few.

Employment Facts:

There were 2,951,000 office clerks employed in 2010. Most had full-time positions but some worked in part-time jobs. Another avenue for those who want to work as office clerks is temporary employment.

Clerks were employed in a variety of industries. The majority worked in schools, health care facilities and for local, state and federal government agencies.

Educational Requirements:

Most employers prefer to hire job candidates who have earned a high school or equivalency diploma (GED). Those who want to become office clerks can take high school or community college courses in, for example, word processing, other computer applications and office procedures. In addition, employers generally provide on-the-job training during which a worker will learn procedures that are specific to those workplaces.

Why Do You Need to Know About Educational Requirements?

Other Requirements:

While classroom and on-the-job training will provide you with the skills you need to do your job, there are certain character traits that will also contribute to your success in this occupation. Good communication skills will allow you to understand what others are telling you and let you effectively provide information to them. When you work in an office you are surrounded by other people. Good interpersonal skills will help you get along with your co-workers. There is often a lot of work to be done and being well-organized will allow you to complete it in a timely manner. Proofreading and other tasks call for attention to detail.

Advancement Opportunities:

With experience, office clerks can move into other administrative jobs that offer higher salaries and further opportunities for advancement. Some workers may be promoted to supervisory positions.

Why Do You Need to Know About Advancement?

Job Outlook:

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of office clerks will grow about as fast as the average for all occupations. This occupation is on top of a list of occupations with the most job openings through 2020.

Why Do You Need to Know About Job Outlook?

Earnings:

Office clerks earned a median annual salary of $27,190 and median hourly earnings of $13.07 in 2011 (US). Salary Wizard at Salary.com to find out how much an office clerk currently earns in your city.

A Day in an Office Clerk's Life:

On a typical day an office clerk's tasks might include:

  • answering telephones and routing calls to the appropriate parties
  • answering questions from callers
  • entering data using computer software
  • using word processing software to type correspondence and reports
  • maintaining filing systems
  • faxing documents
  • distributing mail
  • running errands
  • ordering, distributing and keeping track of supplies
  • keeping records of office activities

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, General Office Clerks, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/general-office-clerks.htm (visited December 7, 2012).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Office Clerks, General, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/link/details/43-9061.00 (visited December 7, 2012).

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.