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How to Become a Receiving Clerk

Learn how to become a receiving clerk. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career as a receiving clerk. View article »

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  • 0:01 Become a Receiving Clerk
  • 0:33 Career Requirements
  • 1:02 Receiving Clerk Job Steps

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Video Transcript

Become a Receiving Clerk

Receiving clerks are responsible for various shipping and receiving tasks, and their duties include keeping track of goods and products that companies receive. These clerks must be highly organized and accurate. They generally work in warehouses and are in charge of checking incoming shipments, ensuring that orders are correctly filled, and in some cases, moving inventory using a forklift or conveyor belt. Frequent bending and lifting are sometimes required of receiving clerks.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None; business training preferred
Certification Forklift certification often needed
Training On-the-job
Key Skills Clerical, customer-service, and communication skills; attention to detail; understanding of inventory management and supply chain software; use of field-specific tools and devices
Salary $30,450 (2015 median for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2015), O*Net OnLine

Receiving clerks should have clerical skills, customer-service and communication skills, and an attention to detail. They also should possess an understanding of inventory management and supply chain software and the use of field-specific tools and devices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2015, the median salary for shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks was $30,450.

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Receiving Clerk Job Steps

Let's look at each of the steps you can take to become a receiving clerk:

Step 1: Consider Postsecondary Education

Receiving clerks are often not required to hold more than a high school diploma; however, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that employers may prefer clerks who have some formal instruction in business. As such, aspiring receiving clerks might prepare for this career by taking college courses in applicable business topics, like accounting or office administration.

It's recommended to get computer training. Employers often require strong computer skills, particularly in Microsoft Word and Excel. Students completing business instruction may want to augment their formal training by enrolling in computer courses that teach them these skills.

You should also obtain forklift training. Employers often prefer applicants who can use forklifts, and in some cases, the ability to forklift a minimum amount of weight is mandatory. Some community and junior colleges offer forklift training courses that take less than two weeks to complete.

Step 2: Obtain Employment and Train on the Job

Individuals interested in becoming receiving clerks can seek employment with warehouses or manufacturing plants in the manufacturing, wholesale, and transportation industries. According to the BLS, newly-hired receiving clerks commonly receive on-the-job training from a supervisor or more experienced clerk. Such training can take up to six months to complete. Trainees learn how to track inventory and keep shipping records, as well as learn the ins and outs of the company.

Step 3: Advance with Experience

As they gain experience, receiving clerks can climb the ladder to other pertinent positions in their employing companies. They might, for example, go on to become purchasing agents, who are responsible for buying products for use or resale by their companies. Purchasing agents, in turn, sometimes progress to assistant purchasing management positions and can eventually take on more advanced titles, like supply or purchasing manager or materials management director.

To review, receiving clerks usually receive on-the-job training and may pursue some formal education in business.

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