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Clerical Careers

Career Description

Clerical Workers perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures. Clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones,  bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation,  and filing.

Common Work Tasks

  • Perform filing or keyboarding duties, enter data at a computer terminal
  • Operate photocopiers, fax machines, and other office equipment; prepare mailings; proofread documents; and answer telephones and deliver messages
  • Sort checks, keep payroll records, take inventory, and access information
  • Organizing medications in a doctor’s office,  preparing materials for presentations in a corporate office, or filling orders received by fax machine for a wholesaler
  • Make photocopies, stuff envelopes, or record inquiries
  • Maintain financial or other records, set up spreadsheets, and verify statistical reports for accuracy and completeness
  • Handle and adjust customer complaints, work with vendors, make travel arrangements, take inventory of equipment and supplies,  answer questions on departmental services and functions, or help prepare invoices or budgetary requests
  • Monitor and direct the work of lower level clerks

Other Job Titles

Clerical Workers are also known by other titles, including:

  • Administrative Assistants
  • Secretaries
  • Office Managers
  • Office Clerks

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Although most clerical jobs are entry-level positions, employers may prefer or require previous office or business experience. Employers usually require a high school diploma or equivalent, and some require basic computer skills, including familiarity with word processing software, as well as other general office skills.
  Training for this occupation is available through business education programs offered in high schools, community and junior colleges, and postsecondary vocational schools. Courses in office practices, word processing, and other computer applications are particularly helpful.

Because clerical workers usually work with other office staff, they should be cooperative and able to work as part of a team. Employers prefer individuals who can perform a variety of tasks and satisfy the needs of the many departments within a company. In addition, applicants should have good communication skills, be detail oriented, and adaptable.


The median annual salary for a Clerical Worker is $24,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $38,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $15,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of clerical workers are:

  • Local Government- $28,650
  • Employment Services  - $24,190
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $26,070
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools - $26,300
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals  - $27,380

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  13%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 404,000
  • Employment 2006 : 3,200,000
  • Employment 2016:  3,604,000
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