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Southern New Hampshire University

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Purdue University Global

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What Is Clerical Work?

Clerical work typically refers to a variety of office and administrative support duties. If you're interested in a career in clerical work, read on to learn more about clerical duties and the variety of occupations available.

Clerical Work

Clerical work generally involves day-to-day office tasks, such as answering phones and entering data into spreadsheets. These tasks may be performed by secretaries, office clerks, and administrative assistants. Other duties traditionally associated with clerical work include:

  • Word processing and typing
  • Sorting and filing
  • Photocopying and collating
  • Record keeping
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Minor bookkeeping

What Is Clerical Work?

Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Short-term; typically a few weeks
Key Skills Clear communication, reading comprehension, time management, critical thinking, problem solving, organization, deductive reasoning
Similar Occupations Receptionists, compensation and benefits managers, human resources specialists, labor relations specialists
Median Salary (2018) $29,140 (for all receptionists)*
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 5% (for all receptionists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Technology and Clerical Duties

The duties of clerical workers have changed with developments in technology, including the operation of sophisticated computer systems, printers, copiers, and other technologies. In this profession, you'll need to gain clerical experience with the equipment and software used in offices. Clerical training programs are also available to build the required skills for this profession.

Specialized Clerical Skills

Clerks are employed in a wide range of industries, applying their organizational and office skills to meet the needs of their employers. While some are general office clerks, others specialize in one type of clerical work, such as business, finance, and government. These professionals may fulfill more complex tasks.

Clerical Worker in Business

There are a variety of clerical roles available in a multitude of business settings, and specific duties vary by company and department. Payroll clerks, for example, verify and process employees' paychecks, while shipping and receiving clerks process paperwork for ingoing and outgoing orders. These clerks typically work within the human resources or accounting department of a business. Other positions include mail, file, billing, and stock clerks. The business sector also offers many opportunities for general office clerks and secretaries.

Clerical Worker in Finance

Banking and financial institutions employ a large number of clerks. Along with general office duties, these professionals may be responsible for money-related clerical tasks. For example, brokerage clerks tend to work with investments and securities, which can include writing and processing stock and bond orders and keeping records of financial transactions. Other clerks may focus on office duties related to loans, claims, or adjustments. Clerks in this field are required to have a well-rounded knowledge of accounts payable procedures, cash management principles, and usage of automated accounting systems.

Clerical Worker in Government

General clerks and administrative assistants may find employment in all sectors of government. You may serve as a court clerk, preparing dockets and performing tasks for judges, lawyers, and witnesses. You might choose to work as a license clerk for your state's Department of Motor Vehicles or as a municipal clerk who attends and documents city council meetings. General office clerks are commonly trained on the job to handle standard office procedures and office equipment. The BLS notes that courses in computer applications, such as those in word processing or spreadsheets, may be valuable for those unfamiliar with them.