With a high school diploma it may be possible to begin a career working in an office. Some office careers include office clerk, receptionist and administrative assistant. Postsecondary education may be required for some positions.
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.
|Career||General Office Clerk||Receptionist||Administrative Assistant|
|Education Requirements||High school diploma||High school diploma||High school diploma; some vocational training|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3%||10%||3% for secretaries and administrative assistants|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$29,580||$27,300||$33,910 for secretaries and administrative assistants except legal, medical, and executive|
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.
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 $29,580 in 2015, according to the BLS. Most general office clerks worked for employment services, schools, hospitals or local government agencies. The BLS predicts job growth of 3% for these workers from 2014-2024.
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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 2015 was $27,300. Industries that employed the highest number of receptionists included those of physicians, dentists, and personal care services. Receptionists are expected to see 10% job growth from 2014-2024, per the BLS.
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 2015, administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $33,910, 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 3% for these workers from 2014-2024.
A high school diploma, plus office and computer skills, can qualify you for positions as an office as an administrative assistant, office clerk or receptionist. All these positions involve working to help an office run smoothly and are available in many types of businesses. Job prospects for receptionists are projected to be better than average through 2024, but the future for administrative assistants and office clerks is not as bright.