Learn About Being a Clerk



What does a clerk do?

Clerks are professionals that execute a variety of administrative duties in an office environment. These individuals are integral to an organization, as they take care of all the day-to-day tasks that keep an office running. Clerks can also function as the public face of a company since they answer and return phone calls and manage incoming and outgoing emails. 

The duties of a clerk vary from company to company. For instance, the responsibilities of clerks in smaller companies may incorporate advanced tasks like managing the payroll system and issuing paychecks, whereas the duties of clerks in bigger organizations may involve mainly administrative tasks. Office clerks may have any of the following duties: 

Typical salary

A clerk’s salary can vary depending on their level of education and work history and the employer’s industry, company size and location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

Clerk requirements


Typically, an office clerk will need a high-school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) qualification. Candidates who wish to qualify themselves, however, can opt for an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in office management, which is a two-year undergraduate degree program. During this program, which you can complete at various community colleges and technical schools, students learn how to manage administrative functions, including office correspondence, bookkeeping and filing. 

Course subjects include records management, business law, database management, accounting and computer operations. Also, students learn how to design business plans, and those in specialized tracks can also opt for field-specific subjects, such as legal writing. Apart from course work, some institutions also expect candidates to complete an internship or some form of practical experience to complete the course.


Most office clerks receive on-the-job training, which may include learning company-specific systems like payroll. Trainees may also receive instruction on office procedures and how office equipment works. Candidates who wish to become clerks will increase their chances of gaining employment by attending courses. The American Management Association, for instance, also offers office administration courses, which provide instruction on things like time management and how to best organize your work.


Getting a certification is another way in which you can show your knowledge and skills. Certification can also distinguish you from competing applicants. Organizations like the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and the American Certified Institute (ACI) offer these certification tracks:

IAAP, Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certificatio

Although you can study for this exam on your own, many students opt to attend a training program that covers the main four topic areas of the exam, namely Office Systems and Technology, Office Administration, Management and Advanced Organizational Management. You can attend these courses at selected community colleges, universities and adult education centers. Some of these programs also include internship opportunities.

ACI, Certified Business Administration (CBA) certification

This certification program features four main modules, namely Dynamic Modern Organization, Management Practices & Office Administration, Communication and Human Resource Management & Organizational Behavior. Students who complete this program know a broad range of disciplines, including human resources, finance, administration and business management, which may be attractive to prospective employers.


Since office clerks communicate directly with clients, they need good interpersonal and communication skills. Interaction with clients also requires solid customer-service skills, which include responding to client requests efficiently and professionally. Here are some additional skills these professionals need:

Clerk work environment

Office clerks typically complete their duties in an office. They can either work 40 hours per week in a full-time position or may work in a part-time capacity. The job rarely requires working outside of office hours or traveling. Although these professionals work in a wide range of industries and sectors, BLS reports that the top employers of clerks in 2016 were:

How to become a clerk

If you are an organized and efficient person with great interpersonal skills, working as an office clerk may be a good fit. To pursue a career as a clerk, you could consider following these steps:

    Get a high school diploma: Most employers expect clerical staff to have a high school diploma or GED. As an adult, you can get a high school diploma by attending adult school, or through distance learning. The Distance Education and Accrediting Commission (DEAC) offers classes. To complete a GED, you could either study on your own or attend prep classes, and then take the exams.

    Attend office administration courses: Although clerks normally receive on-the-job training, you could benefit from additional training before you apply for clerical positions.

    Certify yourself: The best way to distinguish yourself from other competitors is to obtain certification. This will show that you have the knowledge and skills to do the job.

    Gain practical experience: Employers favor applicants who have previous experience in an administrative position. The best way to gain experience is by gaining an internship or volunteering for a local organization.

Clerk job description example

Our company has experienced rapid growth in the last few months, which has prompted us to look for an efficient and reliable office clerk who can assist us with the day-to-day running of the office. Duties will include administrative tasks such as filing, record-keeping, managing the inventory, ordering supplies, data processing and basic bookkeeping. 

The office clerk will also interact with our clients directly, by answering calls and taking care of all official communication. As this person will be the public face of our company, they should have a professional and polite manner and must have excellent people’s skills. Our ideal candidate should have a high-school diploma or equivalent qualification and a minimum of two years of experience in an administrative position.

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