Becoming a Clerical Aide: Job Description & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of a clerical aide career? Get real job duties, salaries and career prospects to see if becoming a clerical aide is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Being a Clerical Aide

Clerical aides, or office clerks, perform a variety of clerical functions including things like filing, word processing, bookkeeping and answering phones. Find out the pros and cons of being a clerical aide to see if this job is for you!

PROS of Being a Clerical Aide
Variety of opportunities changing with demand in businesses*
Slightly lower than average job growth in field (6% expected from 2012-2022)*
Temporary and part-time opportunities available*
Many businesses use clerical aides for all administrative support*

CONS of Being a Clerical Aide
Pay is average (median hourly wage was $13.78 as of May 2014)*
Some jobs are being eliminated due to expanding use of technology, automation and consolidation of duties*
Changing responsibilities may be stressful and require employees to adapt easily*
Training beyond high school might be required, particularly for advancement*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

As a clerical aide, you perform diverse clerical duties using different office equipment, systems and procedures. You may take minutes at meetings, answer all incoming calls or perform bookkeeping entries for your employer. Your schedule might be full-time every weekday, or you might find temporary or part-time employment with a schedule that meets your employer's needs.

A clerical aide needs to be efficient in the use of office equipment like copy machines, fax machines, computer software and multi-line phone systems. Many employers will train you in their specific systems to ensure you are productive in your position.

Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014, there were 2,983,500 employed in the general office clerk occupation earning an average annual salary of $30,820 (www.bls.gov). At that time, the five top paying states for the occupation included the District of Columbia, Alaska, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Colorado, stated the BLS.

What Are the Requirements?

According to the BLS, you may qualify for entry-level employment with your high school diploma; however, training in the occupation is typically necessary. Many high schools, vocational schools and community colleges offer training programs in business and clerical skills. The BLS also reported most professional advancement opportunities require additional education like a degree, although you might advance as you gain experience and skills. Some helpful skills to this field include:

  • Customer service skills
  • Administrative and office skills
  • Bookkeeping and mathematical ability
  • Communication skills, verbal and written
  • Organizational and time management skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

When looking for employment as a clerical aide, you might find that most employers will not require a degree or certificate in training, but a lot of jobs require some office experience. The duties vary by job opening. Here are some real job postings that were available for clerical aides in March 2012:

  • A company in San Francisco, CA, is hiring clerical staff with at least one year of experience. The staffing agency would like people with filing, data entry, administrative or reception experience. The salary range is from $11.00-$14.00 per hour.
  • A Tampa, FL, company seeks a clerical administrator to oversee incoming mail, filing, mailing, data entry and various other clerical duties. The job requires a high school diploma, and the company desires prior clerical experience. The salary range is from $10.00-$11.00 per hour.
  • A Houston, TX, company is hiring an administrative/clerical employee to handle reports, data entry, filing, faxing, copying and administrative duties as assigned. The individual will also need to create Excel spreadsheets. A minimum of one year of office experience is required, along with proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook. The pay for this position is $12.00 per hour.

How to Stand Out

Get a Clerical Educational Certificate

Many colleges offer certificate programs in the clerical field. You can typically complete 30-35 credit hours in areas like keyboarding, office procedures, communication, computer applications and document processes to gain your certificate of completion.

Get a Degree

There are also associate's degrees related to your career as a clerical aide. For instance, you can pursue an Associate of Arts in computer applications and office technologies, or some colleges offer specialties like clerical office assistant, medical office assistant or information processing in associate's degree or certificate programs.

Other Career Paths

Receptionist

You could take your clerical aide career in the direction of becoming a receptionist if you like dealing with people. Receptionists answer phone inquiries and greet visitors in most companies, and customer service is a large portion of this position. According to the BLS, there were about 974,000 receptionists employed in the nation, earning a mean annual wage of about $27,000 in May of 2011.

Bookkeeping and Accounting Clerk

Another career related to the clerical aide occupation that might appeal to you if you're good at math is that of a bookkeeping or accounting clerk. The BLS reported that in May of 2011 there were about 1,640,000 bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks employed in the U.S., earning an average of about $36,000 per year.

Secretary

You could also become a secretary with the training and education preferred for advancement in the field. This job requires a higher level of administrative support, including things like drafting letters, maintaining schedules and scheduling appointments. In May 2010, there were 4,010,200 employed in the BLS occupation classification of secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical and executive assistants), and their mean annual wage was close to $35,000 at that time.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Capella University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA in Business Admin
      • MBA MSN-to-MBA Business Administration
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Business Admin (ACBSP-accredited)
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • Bachelor: Accounting
    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
      • AASBA in Event Planning
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Strayer University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: The Jack Welch MBA
    Associate's
      • Associate in Arts in Business Admin
    Certificate
      • Diploma in Acquisition and Contract Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MS in Management
      • MBA In Human Resource Management
      • International MBA in Human Resources
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
    Associate's
      • AS in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Media Management
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin
      • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
      • B.A. - International Business
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Penn Foster Career School

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma: Administrative Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Executive Management (Virtual Format)
      • Master of Business Administration - No Specialization
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Management - No Specialization
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      • B.S. General Studies - Business
    Associate's
      • A.S. Business
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  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Accelerated MBA
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
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    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership

Featured Schools

Capella University

  • MBA in Business Admin
  • MBA MSN-to-MBA Business Administration
  • Bachelor: Business Admin (ACBSP-accredited)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt

Which subject are you interested in?

Strayer University

  • Master of Business Admin: The Jack Welch MBA
  • Associate in Arts in Business Admin
  • Diploma in Acquisition and Contract Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • MBA
  • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
  • AS in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Ashford University

  • MBA - Media Management
  • B.A. - Business Admin
  • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster Career School

  • Career Diploma: Administrative Assistant

What is your highest level of education?

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Master of Business Administration - Executive Management (Virtual Format)
  • B.S. Management - No Specialization
  • A.S. Business

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Accelerated MBA

What is your highest level of education completed?