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General Office Clerk: Job Description & Career Info

Find out how to become a general office clerk. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in office and administrative support. View article »

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  • 0:02 Becoming a General…
  • 1:28 Step 1: Graduate High School
  • 1:52 Step 2: Complete a…
  • 2:41 Step 3: On-the-Job Training
  • 3:03 Step 4: Advancement…

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Video Transcript

Becoming a General Office Clerk

General office clerks may work for corporations, schools, hospitals, or non-profit organizations. Duties can include filing and faxing documents, photocopying, answering telephones, managing office inventory, and entering data. However, tasks can vary based on the type of office a clerk works in and his or her experience level. General office clerks may spend many work hours seated at a desk and looking at a computer screen.

Degree Level High school diploma or its equivalent; certificate programs available
Training On-the-job training is common
Licensure and Certification None required, though voluntary certification is helpful
Experience Some experience performing secretarial or administrative duties preferred
Key Skills Excellent communication skills; customer service skills; ability to organize; strong attention to detail; Microsoft Word, Excel, and word processing software; ability to type quickly
Median Salary (2016)* $29,580 (for general office clerks)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Job postings, May 2016.

Step 1: Graduate High School

The first step to becoming a general office clerk is to graduate high school, as a high school diploma or its equivalent is typically required. Some high schools offer business education courses, and aspiring general office clerks should take advantage of these programs if they're offered. Classes in basic computer technology, word processing, and general office practices are particularly helpful.

Step 2: Complete a Certificate Course

Although not required, aspiring clerks might prepare for this career by completing general office clerk certificate programs. Such programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools and tend to last one academic quarter or semester. Courses could include keyboarding, word processing, spreadsheets, and business communications.

Prospective office clerks should also gain customer service experience. Many general office clerks interact with the public on a daily basis. Working jobs that require interaction with customers can help prepare one to become a general office clerk. Learning Microsoft Word and Excel can also be beneficial. General office clerks frequently use Word and Excel. Individuals who aren't proficient with these programs may benefit from taking computer classes.

Step 3: On-the-Job Training

Whether an office clerk has a high school diploma or a certificate, on-the-job training is the most common route to becoming a general office clerk. Most on-the-job training typically lasts one month or less. General office clerks are trained in areas such as using office equipment and computer software programs, depending on the responsibilities of their particular positions.

Step 4: Advancement Opportunities

General office clerks may consider career advancement to become receptionists, secretaries, or administrative assistants after gaining the necessary skills and work experience. Some office clerks may advance to supervisory positions after demonstrating strong communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills. Earning a college degree can help with advancement. Advancement to professional positions usually requires a college degree, according to the BLS.

General office clerks do not require any formal postsecondary education; however, a certificate program can help you gain necessary skills, and additional schooling may be necessary for advancement.

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