Types of Office Careers: Overview Duties, Requirements and Salaries

Office work is generally on-the-job training. Continue reading for an overview of the requirements, as well as career and salary info for some career options.

Essential Information

Private businesses, government agencies and other organizations employ office workers to help their operations run more efficiently. Types of office careers include general office clerk, receptionist and administrative assistant, among others. Duties, requirements and salaries vary by position. Educational requirements include a high school diploma, with training in office and computer skills.

CareerGeneral Office Clerk Receptionist Administrative Assistant
Education RequirementsHigh school diploma High school diploma High school diploma; some vocational training
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)6%*14%* 12%*
Median Salary (2014) $28,670*$26,760* $33,240*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Office Clerk

General office clerks work in a variety of settings, including banks, hospitals and post offices. They typically work 40 hours weekly; however, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 25% of office clerks worked part time in 2010 (www.bls.gov).

General office clerk duties and responsibilities vary by office environment, employer needs and employee experience. Less experienced office clerks might perform general duties, such as answering telephones, faxing, photocopying and stuffing envelopes, while more experienced clerks might prepare spreadsheets, take inventory, maintain financial records and make travel arrangements.

The annual median salary for a general office clerk was $28,670 in 2014, according to the BLS. Most general office clerks worked for employment services, schools, hospitals or local government agencies. The BLS predicts job growth of 6% for these workers from 2012-2022.


Receptionists use their interpersonal skills to greet, inform and direct clients, customers and business associates who visit or call a business, organization or governmental agency. Full- or part-time receptionist positions are available, and receptionists may be able to work on location or remotely.

Receptionists act as liaisons between the public and businesses. They provide customers and clients with information, such as event details and office locations. They also answer telephone calls, send faxes, greet visitors, prepare mailings and schedule appointments.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a receptionist in May 2014 was $26,760. Industries that employed the highest number of receptionists included those of dentists, physicians and other health practitioners, as well as personal care, scientific and technical services. Receptionists are expected to see 14% job growth from 2012-2022, per the BLS.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants might be employed full- or part-time, and, like receptionists, they might work on site or remotely. Those who have computer knowledge and software training tend to have an easier time securing employment.

Administrative assistants operate computers, fax machines, photocopiers, telephones and videoconferencing equipment. Job responsibilities vary by type of employer, but they generally include higher-level administrative duties like conducting research, making travel arrangements, managing databases, negotiating with vendors, preparing correspondence, purchasing supplies and scheduling meetings.

In May 2014, administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $33,240, according to the BLS. This figure does not include executive, legal and medical secretaries. Industries that offered the most employment opportunities for administrative assistants included state and local government, education and corporate management. Jobs are expected to grow 12% for these workers from 2012-2022.

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