How to Become an Office Clerk


How to Become an Office Clerk: Career Path Guide

Are you looking for an office-based, entry-level career field that offers plenty of room for growth? If so, working as an office clerk may be a good option for you! Here are some quick highlights of working in this field:


• Very little formal education is needed to work in this field

• An opportunity to use a variety of skills, such as organizational skills

• An opportunity to work in a wide variety of industries

• Plenty of room for advancement


If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this career, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what you would be doing for a living, how much you could earn, and what you’ll need to break into this field!



Education Needed to Become an Office Clerk

To become an office clerk, you will likely just need to have, or be working towards, a high school diploma (or equivalent).


Even though your employer may not require it, taking courses in the following areas may be particularly helpful to get a job as an office clerk, and to advance in your career:


• Accounting

• Business Administration

• Communications

• Computer applications, such as Microsoft Word and Excel


Please Note: If you are looking for a job in a specialized office setting, such as an accounting office, you may require a diploma or certificate in that area. Be sure to check the "Required Education", or "Qualifications" section carefully for each job you are applying for!




Office Clerk Job Description

As an office clerk, you will likely be responsible for preparing reports, statements, correspondence and other documents, and entering them into the computer system. You would also operate various pieces of office equipment, and answer telephone calls and e-mails.



Office Clerk Job Duties

Although your duties as an office clerk could vary from one job to the next, you would generally be responsible for performing the following functions:


• Answering telephones and respond to e-mails in a timely fashion

• Maintaining and updating filing system and computer databases

• Compiling, sorting, copying and filing office records

• Proofreading and entering data into spreadsheets and other computer programs

• Keeping inventory of supplies, and ordering more when needed

• May be responsible for light bookkeeping duties

• Preparing meeting agendas and transcribing minutes of meetings



Skills Needed to Become an Office Clerk

Employers will state in job postings that you require the following skills to be hired on as an office clerk:


• Proficient in the use of word processing and spreadsheet software

• Able to type at a quick rate, while making very few mistakes

• The ability to follow instructions

• The ability to pay close attention to details

• Able to work with numbers, and comfortable with basic arithmetic

• Able to prioritize tasks based on relative importance and urgency and to multitask

• Excellent organizational skills

• Ability to work with minimal supervision


Please Note: For some office clerk positions, you might need specialized technical skills, such as keeping records for payroll, making out paychecks, or taking inventory. Be sure to check the "Required Skills" section of each job you are applying for!



Experience Needed to Become an Office Clerk

Generally you will not need any sort of specific work experience to become an office clerk. Some employers may prefer candidates with 1-2 years of work in an office environment, but you shouldn’t have trouble finding a job if you have the proper skill set, the job market is in good shape, and you handle your interview well.




Traits Needed for Becoming an Office Clerk

In order to enjoy your work as an office clerk, you need to have certain personal traits, as well as interests, including:


• An interest in an entry-level job, either permanently, or as a stepping stone

• An interest in working as part of a team, yet with minimal supervision

• An interest in performing routine office tasks

• Enjoy having clear rules and methods guiding your work

• Enjoy using computers and various office software and computer applications

• Interest in working in an office environment

• Punctuality and a professional demeanor



Who Employs Office Clerks?

As an office clerk, you could be employed on a part or full-time basis by organizations in almost any conceivable sector of industry (more or less any organization that has an office!). You may be hired either as an in-house employee, or as a contractor.


The following is an overview of the types of employers you could have as an office clerk.


• Temp agencies (as an employee of the temp agency, contracted to an organization)

• Self-employment (often as a ‘virtual’ employee)

• Business services contracting firms

• Small, medium or large organizations (as an in-house employee)


Success Tip: If you’re having trouble finding an office clerk job, sign up with a temp agency. They can get you in the door with an employer quickly (provided you meet their basic qualifications), and if the employer likes working with you, they may hire you on for a permanent role!



Office Clerk Salary

The salary or wage you might earn as an office clerk can vary, due to the following factors:


• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• Your specific level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work


Office Clerk Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the General Office Clerks occupational group earn an average salary of $42,855 per year.


Office Clerk Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the General Office Clerks occupational group is $39,400 per year.


Office Clerk Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the General Office Clerks occupational group is $28,670 per year.



Career Advancement

A career as an office clerk in one that offers a lot of room for advancement. In this field, you can advance to technical and specialized roles, such as ‘Accounting Clerk’. With further education and/or training, roles such as these then have their own advancement paths, such as then becoming a bookkeeper, or an accountant.


Other advancement options you would have as an office clerk is to move into supervisory and management roles, such as ‘Office Manager’. Moving into supervisory and management roles typically involves more responsibility in your work, but would also likely accompany a rise in your wage or salary. 



Work Environment

Work Setting: Your work would take place in an office setting, or possibly from home. You may be required to travel short distances during your work day to perform various functions, such as bank deposits.


Working Hours: Your working hours would reflect the operating hours of the office that employs you (most likely work normal, weekday business hours). Your schedule could vary to include evenings and weekends, depending on whether or not you need to complete time-sensitive tasks and projects.


Working Conditions: As an office clerk, your day would involve a mix of standing, sitting, speaking on the phone, answering emails, filing documents, and possibly lifting boxes of documents and office supplies. 



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Careers Similar to Office Clerk

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, as Office Clerk:


Accounting Clerk

Administrative Assistant

Bank Teller


Data Entry Clerk

Office Manager




Please consult the following resources to learn more about the various aspects of a career as an office clerk.


Occupations in Alberta:Unit Clerk.” (January 1, 2012). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 6, 2020.

Office and Administrative Support:General Office Clerks.” (September 19, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 6, 2020.


Please Note: Some of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Scholarships for Becoming an Office Clerk

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an office clerk. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Accounting Scholarships and Business Administration Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming an Office Clerk: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful for becoming an office clerk. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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