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Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks

At a Glance

  • Make sure timecards and records are accurate
  • Have good organization and problem-solving skills
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Typically work a standard work week
  • Train on the job

Career summary

Payroll and timekeeping clerks check employee time records and issue paychecks.

#No alternate titles CJ

Timekeeping clerks distribute and collect timecards for each pay period. They review employee work charts or timecards to be sure they are complete. In companies that bill for staff time, timekeeping clerks make sure the hours recorded are charged to the correct job.

Payroll clerks screen timecards for math and other errors. They resolve these problems with the employee or supervisor.

Clerks compute paycheck amounts by subtracting deductions, such as for federal and state taxes. Many use computer software to calculate payroll. They issue employee paychecks.

Clerks keep track of changes in tax and deduction laws. They advise employees on tax deductions and other required withholdings. In addition, they inform managers and employees about changes in payroll policies.

Payroll clerks sometimes gather data from timesheets and other records. They use the data to prepare reports for managers or other departments. Payroll clerks also prepare wage and tax statements at the end of the year. They mail these to employees for filing their tax returns.

Many offices are now using automated timekeeping systems. Clerks are still needed to carry out tasks such as advising employees on changes in tax and deduction laws.

Payroll clerks are also called payroll technicians.

Related careers

This career is part of the Business Management and Administration cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Military careers

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to payroll and timekeeping clerks.

Common work activities

Payroll and timekeeping clerks perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, payroll and timekeeping clerks:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Payroll and timekeeping clerks frequently:

It is important for payroll and timekeeping clerks to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for payroll and timekeeping clerks to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Payroll and timekeeping clerks need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a payroll and timekeeping clerk, you typically need to:

Education after high school

No formal training is required beyond high school. However, payroll and timekeeping clerks can gain skills through formal training programs. High schools, business schools, and community colleges all offer business education programs. In these programs you study word processing, business communications, records management, and office procedures. Learning spreadsheet software is also very helpful.

You should be familiar with hiring and promotion practices and benefits packages. In addition, you should be familiar with the procedures for tax withholding.

On-the-job training

New clerks usually spend up to one year in training. You will learn about personnel issues, work place practices, and company policies. If you do not have college-level training directly related to personnel work, you will spend more time in training.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be finance and accounting specialists. Training lasts from six to 12 weeks, depending on your specialty. Additional training occurs on the job.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers usually require applicants to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers prefer applicants with a higher level of education. Most employers prefer applicants who have experience with computer software. Knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software is especially valuable. Employers also may prefer applicants who have a few years of experience working in an office.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Payroll and timekeeping clerks (SOC 43-3051)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $16.98 $20.53 $24.31 $28.63 $31.78
Monthly $2,943 $3,558 $4,213 $4,962 $5,507
Yearly $35,320 $42,700 $50,570 $59,550 $66,100
    Bellingham Hourly $19.50 $22.53 $26.22 $30.12 $37.99
Monthly $3,379 $3,904 $4,544 $5,220 $6,584
Yearly $40,562 $46,877 $54,536 $62,664 $79,022
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $16.34 $17.95 $20.69 $23.54 $26.48
Monthly $2,832 $3,111 $3,586 $4,079 $4,589
Yearly $33,975 $37,330 $43,042 $48,949 $55,081
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $13.10 $16.14 $21.46 $25.75 $30.03
Monthly $2,270 $2,797 $3,719 $4,462 $5,204
Yearly $27,242 $33,569 $44,634 $53,557 $62,464
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $13.12 $17.31 $26.55 $30.84 $34.62
Monthly $2,274 $3,000 $4,601 $5,345 $6,000
Yearly $27,286 $35,997 $55,232 $64,150 $72,018
    Longview Hourly $18.44 $21.43 $26.08 $29.80 $32.86
Monthly $3,196 $3,714 $4,520 $5,164 $5,695
Yearly $38,345 $44,566 $54,249 $61,979 $68,348
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $17.45 $21.17 $26.11 $30.05 $32.78
Monthly $3,024 $3,669 $4,525 $5,208 $5,681
Yearly $36,303 $44,031 $54,298 $62,501 $68,170
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $15.22 $19.09 $24.28 $29.12 $33.51
Monthly $2,638 $3,308 $4,208 $5,046 $5,807
Yearly $31,664 $39,718 $50,501 $60,571 $69,717
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $18.69 $21.90 $25.73 $29.81 $33.42
Monthly $3,239 $3,795 $4,459 $5,166 $5,792
Yearly $38,890 $45,554 $53,522 $62,000 $69,519
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $17.83 $20.64 $24.80 $29.28 $32.31
Monthly $3,090 $3,577 $4,298 $5,074 $5,599
Yearly $37,092 $42,934 $51,584 $60,914 $67,198
    Vancouver Hourly $16.41 $20.58 $24.73 $29.19 $32.06
Monthly $2,844 $3,567 $4,286 $5,059 $5,556
Yearly $34,137 $42,805 $51,425 $60,719 $66,685
    Walla Walla Hourly $16.77 $18.01 $20.13 $25.65 $28.54
Monthly $2,906 $3,121 $3,489 $4,445 $4,946
Yearly $34,872 $37,451 $41,861 $53,345 $59,360
    Wenatchee Hourly $15.93 $17.00 $18.78 $22.61 $25.50
Monthly $2,761 $2,946 $3,255 $3,918 $4,419
Yearly $33,133 $35,363 $39,042 $47,030 $53,045
    Yakima Hourly $16.47 $20.69 $24.46 $28.30 $30.78
Monthly $2,854 $3,586 $4,239 $4,904 $5,334
Yearly $34,252 $43,043 $50,877 $58,861 $64,014
United States Hourly $14.03 $17.31 $21.66 $26.60 $30.97
Monthly $2,431 $3,000 $3,754 $4,610 $5,367
Yearly $29,170 $36,000 $45,050 $55,320 $64,420

Wages vary depending on the area of the country, the size of the city, and the type and size of the employer. Wages also vary based on the clerk's training and experience. Clerks who have a college degree are likely to start at higher salaries.

Full-time payroll and timekeeping clerks often receive benefits. Typical benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks (SOC 43-3051)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 3,005 10.8% 16.1% 378
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 130 9.2% 13.4% 16
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 55 5.5% 8.6% 6
    Benton and Franklin Counties 91 15.4% 15.0% 12
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 220 0.9% 11.9% 22
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 238 7.1% 15.2% 27
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 112 7.1% 14.1% 13
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 153 9.8% 14.6% 18
    King County 1,225 14.0% 19.6% 163
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 167 9.0% 13.8% 20
    Pierce County 346 6.4% 15.2% 39
    Snohomish County 235 11.5% 12.4% 30
    Spokane County 196 6.1% 13.9% 22
United States 150,400 -3.2% 5.2% 15,800

National employment

Payroll and timekeeping clerks work in nearly every industry.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is declining. This is due to automation because many employees can now enter their own payroll and timekeeping information by computer. Companies still need payroll clerks to calculate payroll and make sure employees are paid.

Many jobs will be available as current payroll and timekeeping clerks move to other occupations or retire.

Other resources

Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational cluster