How Do I Become a Clerical Worker?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue doing clerical work. Read on to learn more about career options along with job duties and education information. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Clerical Worker?

Clerical workers are employed in a variety of office settings. They perform duties that may include answering phone calls, performing data entry and filing paperwork. Their job is to assist the flow of office productivity, and they can hold any number of titles in virtually any office department. According to the Employment Development Department of the State of California (www.worksmart.ca.gov), common clerical job titles include data entry keyers, adjustment clerks, secretaries, shipping and receiving clerks and receptionists, among others.

Many clerical positions are available to employees with a high school diploma and no other formal education. If you are considering a career in this field, you should be familiar with, or willing to learn, basic computer skills. You should also be highly organized and have good interpersonal skills. Take a look at the chart below for an overview of some of the job options available in this career field.

Receptionist Data Entry Keyer Customer Service Representative
Education Required High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Training Required Short on-the-job training Moderate on-the-job training Short on-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Greet patrons, schedule appointments, answer phone calls and enter data Enter and verify data, organize documents for printing, perform functions on a data entry device Answer customer inquiries, inform customers of products and services, handle payments, resolve complaints
Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* -4%* 10%*
Median Salary (2014) $27,300 (for all receptionists and information clerks)* $29,460* $31,720*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Clerical Workers Do?

Your duties as a clerical worker will vary greatly with your title. Receptionists answer phones and direct visitors, data entry keyers enter numerical information into databases, and adjustment clerks handle complaint calls from customers and vendors. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that clerical workers undertake office logistics tasks, such as putting information into computers, answering customer phone inquiries, processing orders and handling paperwork. You may also need to interact with or direct clients, as well as handling mail, taking or entering payments or assisting the office as needed (www.bls.gov).

What Skills and Education Would I Need?

Occasionally, an employer will specify a bachelor's degree, but clerical workers usually just need high school diplomas or GEDs. In some companies and positions, previous on-the-job training is preferred, but others train you upon hire. To be a clerical worker, you should know how to use word processing programs, have basic knowledge of computer spreadsheets and have good typing skills. A number of vocational schools and programs train entry-level clerical workers. However, if your high school curricula included computer literacy courses, you may not need to enroll in a vocational program.

How Do I Find a Job as a Clerical Worker?

To get a job as a clerical worker, you need to develop a quality resume. Once you have a resume, you can check your classified listings for jobs in clerical work. You may find that registering with a staffing agency can aid you in your job search.

Opportunity for Advancement

As a clerical worker, you could use the opportunity to gain business experience and move into higher positions, such as sales, marketing, accounting, management or human resources. You could take advantage of company benefits, such as training seminars, workshops and tuition reimbursement programs to gain credentials. With a college degree, you could then work up to professional positions with higher pay and build a solid business career.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have the skillset and educational background required for clerical work, you could also consider a career as a teller or an administrative assistant. Tellers work at a bank in a customer service role, helping customers with routine transactions such as depositing money. An administrative assistant's role is similar to that of a clerical worker, but they often directly support staff or even work for a single individual. This might mean scheduling appointments or meetings, or organizing travel plans.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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