Learn About Being an Administrative Clerk

By Indeed Editorial Team

December 10, 2019

What does an administrative clerk do?

An administrative clerk is responsible for supporting office staff and performing administrative tasks. Their duties can include communicating with clients on the phone, through email or in-person and managing their requests. They may also need to make copies of documents or send faxes for other team members. Administrative clerks often create staff appointments or meetings and invite the appropriate people to them. Other duties administrative clerks may perform include:

  • Organizing and maintaining files so they are available to all staff members

  • Checking inventory regularly and ordering new supplies from vendors

  • Occasional travel to perform errands, such as delivering files

  • Performing general bookkeeping

  • Researching and preparing reports or presentations

Average salary

The typical salary for an administrative clerk depends on experience, the industry and where the job is located. There may be opportunities for a higher salary with more experience at the job.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $14.43 per hour 

  • Some salaries range from $7.25 to $29.55 per hour.

Administrative clerk requirements

Administrative clerks must have the appropriate training and skills before applying.

Education

Most employers require that administrative clerks have at least a high school diploma. However, some employers may prefer the candidate has a bachelor’s or associate degree in related fields such as communication or business. Taking computer software classes can provide administrative clerks with an advantage when competing for an entry-level job. Candidates can take these in high school or attend a community college to improve their knowledge of computer programs. If applying for a specific industry, it can be useful to take several classes related to the terminology the company may use frequently.

Training

Many employers provide on-the-job training for administrative clerks. This training may take a few weeks to a month, depending on how many skills they must learn. The new employee may learn from a senior employee who has familiarity with the skills and tasks required until they can complete them independently.

Certifications

Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field. Some of these certifications may include the following:

National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers Certification

There are a variety of certifications you can get through this organization, including an Excel certification, payroll certification, bookkeeper certification and accounting analysis certification. Study material is provided when signing up for the exam, and the test is taken online.

Certified Authorization Professional certification

This certification teaches you how to understand security authorization and risk management concerning a company’s operations. The test is taken at a certified learning center.

Microsoft Office Specialist certification

There are several certifications to choose from, including skills necessary to use Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Tests are taken in specific testing centers.

Skills

Administrative clerks should have a variety of clerical and administrative skills to excel at the job. They may answer incoming phone calls and need to transfer them to the appropriate staff member. Administrative clerks might need to take phone messages to give to staff members, call clients back who leave voicemails and answer general information about the office via email.

Administrative clerks should also excel in the following skills:

Organization skills

They are responsible for keeping the office organized by categorizing files, keeping the office clean and clear of clutter for visitors and staff, and organizing incoming mail. Administrative clerks should also understand how to forward emails to the correct recipient when working in the office’s general email account. They may also be responsible for other staff members’ calendars, so they should understand how to create meetings and appointments in a scheduling program.

Computer skills

Many administrative clerks must use a computer to perform their jobs and should have basic knowledge of word processing programs. They may be asked to create files, edit documents or take meeting notes on the computer that they can then email to other staff members. Administrative clerks may also need to understand how to file documents electronically and know how to access them.

Time-management skills

Administrative clerks often have minimal supervision, so they should know how to manage their time well without needing to rely on other staff members. They should know how to organize their day and complete all required tasks before their shift ends.

Strong social skills

An administrative clerk is often the person who the public interacts with before any other employees, so they should present themselves professionally. They should know how to interact with clients, respond to questions and resolve situations when necessary. They may need to know how to work with clients who are upset and calmly help them reach a solution. Administrative clerks may also communicate with executive staff members and should know how to relay messages to them.

Bookkeeping experience

Basic bookkeeping experience is helpful for administrative clerks, as they may handle financial transactions. They should understand what information to input in the bookkeeping program and create a method for organizing receipts and other related financial paperwork. They may also need to make copies of financial records for customers or insurance purposes.

Detail-oriented

Administrative clerks should be attentive to details when overseeing client accounts. They must confirm all information is correct before submitting paperwork and ensure all client information stays secure. Administrative clerks may need to take detailed messages when clients call to relay the correct information.

Administrative clerk work environment

Administrative clerks can work in a variety of settings, such as medical, legal, educational, technical, religious, government and scientific industries. While the majority of administrative clerks work full-time in an office, some can work at home part-time or full-time as the company allows. Depending on the industry, many tasks can be done online or with a company phone in the employee’s home office. 

Employees may find themselves sitting for long periods while they input data, but they may also stand frequently to perform tasks like using the copy machine. They will use a variety of equipment, including printers, fax machines, computers, phones, filing cabinets and general office supplies.

How to become an administrative clerk

Some administrative clerk positions allow candidates to begin with minimum experience, but it can be useful to have some related experience or education. Candidates should take the following steps to become an administrative clerk:

1. Graduate with a high school diploma

Administrative clerks should have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as a passing score on the General Education Development test, also known as the GED test. This can show employers that candidates have the basic knowledge required for the position.

2. Take related courses

Candidates should make sure they are comfortable using computers and can take several computer software courses to increase their experience with these programs.

3. Complete industry-specific certifications

Candidates should prepare for jobs that require knowledge of the terminology used, such as in the medical field, by taking specific classes or certifications to prove their knowledge to the employer. These classes will help them better prepare for their entry into the field.

4. Prepare a resume

Those interested in becoming an administrative clerk should verify all information on their resume is correct. They should also list all relevant education and experience.

Administrative clerk job description example

Here is a sample job description for an administrative clerk:

Harmony Holistic Health is looking for the ideal candidate to work as an administrative clerk in our medical office. They will be responsible for answering emails from patients and doctors, answering phone calls and transferring them to the correct employee, filing paperwork, maintaining an organized file system and keeping the front office clean. They should have basic bookkeeping experience, know how to manage their time well, have excellent organizational skills and be detail-oriented. Candidates should have basic experience with computers and know how to use email, create document files and print reports.

Candidates should have a high school diploma, but an associate’s degree or higher in a related field is preferred. Knowledge of medical terminology is necessary for this position, so they should have a background in the medical field. Training will be provided on the job for the right candidate to familiarize them with office procedures and terminology specific to the office.

Related careers

There are many careers related to an administrative clerk. Here are some alternative careers to consider:

  • Legal assistant

  • Office clerk

  • Receptionist

  • Inventory clerk

  • Staff accountant

  • Analyst

Related Articles

Learn About Being a Nurse Anesthetist