Be a Registered Municipal Clerk: Education and Career Roadmap

Explore the requirements to become a registered municipal clerk. Learn about the job description and duties, and review the step-by-step process to start a career in civil service. View article »

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  • 0:03 Municipal Clerks
  • 0:32 Career Skills
  • 0:58 Step 1: Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:55 Step 2: Work Experience
  • 2:46 Step 3: Courses & Exams
  • 3:24 Step 4: Certification

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Video Transcript

Municipal Clerks

Municipal clerks, also known as information clerks, offer clerical support for city and town government departments. These clerks conduct a variety of tasks that help keep a municipality running, which includes taking minutes of city meetings, communicating with the public, and assisting in budget preparation. Registered municipal clerks work within an office setting, and full-time work is available.

Career Skills

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; employers may prefer applicants with an undergraduate degree
Degree Field Varies
Certification and Registration Employers may prefer applicants with voluntary professional certification; voluntary registration programs are available
Experience Varies, employers may require at least 3-5 years of related experience
Key Skills Communication, organizational, and people skills, as well as the ability to be exercise discretion, maintain records and files, and navigate databases
Average Salary (2015) $38,230 per year (for court, municipal, and license clerks)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Job postings from employers (November 2012), Various state clerk's offices, Payscale.com (July 2015)

Municipal clerks need good communication, organizational, and people skills, along with the ability to be exercise discretion, maintain records and files, and navigate databases. Based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), court, license, and municipal clerks earned an average annual salary of $38,230 in May 2015.

Step 1: Bachelor's Degree

A high school education may suffice for entry-level positions and meet the minimum requirement for most registered municipal clerk programs; however, some cities prefer clerks with bachelor's degrees. As government workers with administrative duties and responsibility for personnel and budget issues, prospective municipal clerks may consider majors in public or business administration, government accounting, management, or political science. Undergraduate courses may include public policy, human resources, management theory, politics, and government.

Success Tip

Build communication skills. Because these jobs require interaction with the public on multiple levels, municipal clerks should be able to read and speak clearly and precisely. They should also be comfortable talking with strangers on a frequent basis.

Step 2: Work Experience

In lieu of or in addition to a bachelor's degree, employers usually require that municipal clerks, registered or not, have some level of clerical experience prior to hire, often at least three to five years as deputy clerks or clerks in smaller offices. Previous experience in either a government office or one that deals with customer service prepares potential city clerks to deal with members of the public, either in person or on the phone. Registered municipal clerk programs typically require at least two years of experience.

Success Tip

Gain clerical experience. Employers look for candidates with clerical skills. Clerks can develop these skills by working in small business offices answering telephones, doing filing, and completing other related tasks.

Step 3: Courses and Exams

Municipal clerks who have the necessary education and work experience may still need to take courses in public administration or relations, law, record-keeping, and municipal finance before becoming registered municipal clerks. For example, registered municipal clerk programs in New Jersey have specific curricula that clerks must complete to qualify for the designation, and candidates are tested on knowledge of that curriculum. In New York, registered municipal clerk candidates do not need to take specific classes or an exam, but must meet experience and education requirements.

Step 4: Certification

Even in localities without a registered municipal clerk program, certification as a municipal clerk is often preferred or required. The International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) offers the Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) and Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) designations. Both certifications are contingent upon active membership in the IIMC, which comes with an annual dues requirement.

The Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) designation requires that candidates have attained a certain level of education, which can be a combination of formal college education and self-study, and government or administrative experience. To earn the Master Municipal Clerk (MMC) designation, candidates must already be a CMC and have attained a certain degree of advanced education and participated in approved professional activities.

Success Tip

Maintain certification with continuing education. Registered municipal clerk (CMC and MMC) designations all require the holders to re-certify periodically. Clerks must provide proof of continuing professional education and development activities such as seminars, classes, or self-study every 2-3 years.

Let's briefly go over the career steps for registered municipal clerks who, as of May 2015, earned an average of $38,230 a year. Aspiring professionals can earn a degree, acquire entry-level experience, take additional courses and exams, and obtain certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC).

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