Number of Jobs
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#22|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#95|
The responsibilities of an office clerk might seem simple. Answering phones. Sorting mail. Updating calendars. Typing reports. Filing documents. Entering data. But don't get it twisted – this job is anything but basic. The people who perform these essential administrative tasks might not need to learn a lot of technical skills to get their first job, but they do need to possess personality traits that can't be taught. For instance, the resolve it takes to file medical records for an oncology doctor. The charm it requires to field phone calls for the provost of an Ivy League university. The discretion necessary to work as a clerk in a human resources department. O*NET OnLine, an occupational information website sponsored by the Labor Department, reports that office clerks should also be good listeners and effective communicators who possess exceptional critical thinking and time management skills. In other words, an office clerk's job description isn't so simple after all.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, general office clerks held more than 3 million jobs in 2012 across nearly every industry, but predominantly in education and health care. This job’s strong employment numbers and ample expected openings – more than 184,000 new positions by 2022 – helped it secure the No. 95 spot on our Best Jobs of 2014 list.
This job doesn't pay especially well. According to the BLS, office clerks earned a median salary of $27,470 in 2012. The top earners made more than $40,000, but the lowest-paid office clerks made less than $18,000 in 2012. For the best salary potential, consider a move to the coasts – office clerks in Barnstable Town, Mass., earned an average salary of $38,880. Also consider sunny San Jose, Calif., where average pay was $38,350 in 2012.
For some, it'll be a plus to know there's a low bar to start working as an office clerk. A high school diploma or its equivalent should suffice, and you'll learn additional necessary job skills, like how to use certain software, once you're hired. Having some familiarity with basic office equipment and computer applications like Microsoft Office Suite is also an absolute must. You might also consider taking courses to learn how to use transcription system software (such as Quikscribe or Start-Stop) or records management software (like Accutrac) before you apply for your first job.
This job is growing, but at a slower rate than the average for all occupations, so job prospects are good but not great. Opportunities for office clerks working within health care are expected to be the best, and as with any job in any industry, having prior experience also helps.
Don't just consider how you'll get your foot in the door as an office clerk, but how you might have some staying power. The best office clerks have good customer service skills, an eye for detail and are highly organized. Being proficient at using a range of computer equipment and software will also make you a more attractive hire. Those traits and skills could also help an office clerk ascend to a job with more responsibility, such as administrative assistant or even office manager.
|Upward Mobility||poor Below Average|
|Stress Level||good Below Average|
|Flexibility||good Above Average|
Last updated by Jada A. Graves.