Education and Training: High school diploma
Average Salary: $28,240 per year
Job Outlook: Good
A clerk, also called a general office clerk, is a type of white-collar worker who performs a variety of administrative support tasks. They are versatile generalists who must meet the changing demands in administrative work.
Specific duties vary depending on the employer’s industry, but may include: filing, answering phones, answering customer questions and complaints, keeping accurate records, keeping payroll logs, sorting checks, finding and presenting requested information for other staff, making photocopies, stuffing envelopes, receiving mail and delivering it to staff, making travel arrangements, preparing invoices, taking inventory of office supplies, purchasing office supplies, fact checking statistics and figures, fulfilling orders, preparing presentation materials, redirecting phone calls and e-mail correspondence, and staffing the front desk or service counter as needed.
In larger organizations, clerks may also assist more specialized administrative support staff or fill gaps as needed or as regularly scheduled. In some smaller organizations, clerks may be the sole member of the administrative support staff and literally be responsible for performing all the needed administrative support work.
Education and Training Requirements
Aspiring clerks must first earn a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Taking junior college or vocational courses in basic computer skills, keyboarding, and Microsoft Office applications, while not required, can be useful. Clerks often receive some type of basic on-the-job training when first hired and learn how the employer wants things done.
Getting the Job
Aspiring clerks should apply for job vacancies found in newspapers and on websites and dress professionally when attending an interview.
Clerks must have proof of a high school diploma or GED equivalent. In addition, employers look for evidence of good computer skills, good communication skills, the ability to multi-task, and familiarity with common computer applications and office machines, such as faxes and multi-line telephones. Candidates with previous clerk or office experience will have an advantage.
The greatest number of clerk jobs can be found in the states of California, Texas and New York; however, clerk jobs can be found throughout the nation.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
The employment outlook for clerks is good. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 12% increase in the number of clerk jobs from 2008 to 2018, which matches the rate of expected growth across all occupations. Clerks will be increasingly hired for their versatility in administrative support responsibilities. However, demand for clerks will be tempered by technology and the automation of certain tasks. Clerks wishing to advance will move to a supervisory position or a more specialized administrative position.
Working Conditions and Environment
Clerks work in comfortable office environments. Approximately 75% of clerks work a standard full-time schedule while 25% of clerks work a part-time schedule. Most clerks are permanent employees, but a significant number are hired on a temporary basis. Some clerks may be required to work overtime during busy periods.
Salary and Benefits
Most clerk salaries range from $17,280 to $41,850 per year, with an average of $28,240. Clerks tend to earn the most in the District of Columbia, Alaska, and Massachusetts or when working for the postal service, natural gas companies, or computer equipment manufacturing companies. Most clerks receive medical benefits.
Where to Go for More Information
American Management Association
New York, NY 10019
Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (AEAP)
900 S Washington St., Ste. G-13
Falls Church, VA 22046
Association of Professional Office Managers
PO Box 1926
Rockville, MD 20849
International Association of Administrative Professionals
10502 NW Ambassador Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64153