How to Become a File Clerk: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a file clerk. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a file clerk.

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a File Clerk?
  • 0:32 Career Requirements
  • 0:52 Steps to Become a File Clerk

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Should I Become a File Clerk?

File clerks classify, store and maintain files, as well as using various types of office equipment. In general, clerks organize and retrieve physical and electronic documents. Aspiring candidates should have experience using computers and other office equipment and tools, including word processing and spreadsheet software programs. In January 2016, reported a median annual salary of $29,280 for file clerks.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma or GED, but training beyond high school, such as a certificate or associate's degree, may be preferred
Training On-the-job training provided
Experience No previous experience is needed
Key Skills Organization, communication, time-management

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, O*NET Online,

Steps to Become a File Clerk

Step 1: Earn a Certificate or Associate's Degree

O*NET reports that more than half of the reporting file clerks have some college education or an associate's degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms that some employers might prefer job candidates with an education beyond high school. Students can pursue a certificate or an associate's degree in business, office technology, or a related field. Courses, such as word processing and record keeping, could help applicants develop the skills most sought by employers.

Step 2: Complete On-the-Job Training

Once hired, file clerks usually receive some on-site guidance. They might file documents, keep track of borrowed materials, make copies and undertake some administrative duties. File clerks who handle confidential information need to be discreet. New hires are also taught about their company's procedures and policies. The training period often depends on the employer.

Step 3: Work Towards Advancement

A high school diploma is usually required for file clerks, and those who have completed some postsecondary training may have the best job prospects. Employers typically expect applicants to be detail-oriented and organized, and applicants with current skills, and those who learn to work with changing technology might be the most competitive in the job market. The BLS indicates that the job growth is expected to be about 2% from 2014 to 2024

Take Computer Application Courses

File clerks keep records and maintain files, so they need to have strong computer skills. Employers also look for candidates with experience using specific software programs, like Microsoft Excel. Taking those courses in high school or college may help aspiring applicants stand out.

To become a file clerk, you should consider some college education and you'll need to complete on-the-job training.

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