General Office Clerks

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What General Office Clerks Do[About this section] [To Top]

General office clerks perform a variety of clerical tasks, including answering telephones, typing documents, and filing records.

Duties of General Office Clerks

General office clerks typically do the following:

  • Answer and transfer telephone calls or take messages
  • Sort and deliver incoming mail and send outgoing mail
  • Schedule appointments and receive customers or visitors
  • Provide general information to staff, clients, or the public
  • Type, format, or edit routine memos or other reports
  • Copy, file, and update paper and electronic documents
  • Prepare and process bills and other office documents
  • Collect information and perform data entry

Rather than performing a single specialized task, general office clerks have responsibilities that often change daily with the current needs of the employer.

Some clerks file documents or answer phones; others enter data into computers or perform other tasks using software applications. They also frequently use photocopiers, scanners, fax machines, and other office equipment.

The specific duties assigned to clerks will depend on the type of office in which they work. For example, a general office clerk at a college or university processes application materials and answers questions from prospective students. A clerk at a hospital files and retrieves medical records.

Work Environment for General Office Clerks[About this section] [To Top]

General office clerks hold about 3.1 million jobs. The industries that employ the most general office clerks are as follows:

Healthcare and social assistance 12%
Educational services; state, local, and private 12
Administrative and support services 10
Government 9

General office clerks usually work in office settings.

General Office Clerk Work Schedules

Many general office clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 clerks work part time.

How to Become a General Office Clerk[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for General Office Clerks near you!

General office clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and learn their skills on the job.

General Office Clerk Education

General office clerks usually need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Courses in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, may be particularly helpful.

General Office Clerk Training

General office clerks usually learn their skills while on the job. Their training typically lasts up to 1 month and may include instructions on office procedures, proper phone etiquette, and the use of office equipment.

Advancement for General Office Clerks

General office clerks may advance to other administrative positions with more responsibility, such as executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants.

Advancement opportunities often depend on work experience and the knowledge of computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software.

Important Qualities for General Office Clerks

Customer-service skills. Clerks often provide general information to company staff, customers, or the public. They should be courteous and prompt with their responses.

Detail oriented. Clerks perform many clerical tasks, such as preparing bills that require attention to detail.

Organizational skills. Office clerks file and retrieve records. They need to keep records organized to be able to access them quickly and efficiently.

General Office Clerk Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median hourly wage for general office clerks is $14.22. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $9.06, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $23.34.

The median hourly wages for general office clerks in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Government $16.11
Healthcare and social assistance 14.34
Educational services; state, local, and private 13.64
Administrative and support services 13.15

Many general office clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 work part time.

Job Outlook for General Office Clerks[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of general office clerks is projected to grow 3 percent through 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by industry.

For example, healthcare facilities are expected to require more workers to handle administrative tasks related to billing and insurance processing as more people have access to health insurance and medical services. Additionally, further demand for clerical support in these facilities is expected as more baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. Conversely, employment of general office clerks in government is projected to decline, as other workers are increasingly performing tasks that general office clerks used to do.

Some tasks of office clerks have been affected by technology. For example, many organizations maintain electronic documents or use automated phone systems, reducing the need for some general office clerks.

General Office Clerks Job Prospects

Job prospects are expected to be good because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Candidates who have a combination of work experience and knowledge of computer applications should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for General Office Clerks, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Office clerks, general 3,062,500 3,158,200 3 95,800


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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