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General Office Clerks

At a Glance

  • Are entry-level workers
  • Perform a variety of clerical tasks
  • Work with customers, supervisors, and coworkers
  • Need good keyboarding and organizational skills
  • Train on the job

Career summary

General office clerks perform a variety of duties for offices.

General office clerks are sometimes known as office assistants, clerical assistants, and general clerks.

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General office clerks' duties vary with the employer and with the clerk's experience. Most general office clerks file documents, type, and operate office machines. They often troubleshoot problems with office equipment, such as photocopiers and scanners.

Clerks may send, open, route, and answer mail. They may also:

Clerks may put together records and reports. They may also make travel arrangements for other office staff. Some clerks calculate wages, taxes, commissions, and payments. Many clerks sort checks, keep payroll records, process expense reports, and take inventory. They may do some light bookkeeping and handle bank transactions. They may also order and stock office supplies.

General office clerks also perform duties specific to their employer. For example, a clerk in a doctor's office may organize medications. In a large financial organization, a clerk may make charts for a presentation. A clerk in the office of an auto parts wholesaler may fill orders.

Duties also vary by level of experience. New office clerks start with basic tasks. They type information from notes, make photocopies, and record questions or requests.

More experienced workers may keep financial or other records and check reports for correctness and completeness. Some clerks may also handle customer complaints and questions. They may help prepare budgetary requests or prepare meetings and agendas. They may on occasion record minutes for meetings.

Senior office clerks may supervise the work of other clerks and set work schedules. Some may train new employees or other office staff.

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 general office clerks.

Common work activities

General office clerks perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, general office clerks:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

General office clerks frequently:

It is important for general office clerks to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for general office clerks to be able to:

Skills and abilities

General office clerks need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

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


To work as a general office clerk, you typically need to:

Education after high school

While not required, training in computer skills and office practices can be very useful. Community and junior colleges, vocational schools, and private business schools all offer related courses. In addition, many employers look for applicants who have completed some college course work.

On-the-job training

Most general office clerks learn their skills on the job. Training usually lasts up to one month. However, you need keyboarding skills and knowledge of office practices to be hired.

Military training

Some branches of the military train people to be administrative support specialists. Training lasts for six to ten 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

Most employers require general office clerks to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer applicants who have clerical experience.

Employers look for applicants who have typing, word processing, computer, and other clerical skills. Some employers look for strong skills in English and business math.

Some employers have applicants take a placement test. Most employers want accuracy more than keyboarding speed. A good attitude and a willingness to learn are also important.


Flexibility is extremely important. Employers prefer workers with good communication skills. Work experience (part time or full time) in an office setting is highly recommended. Cooperative education, internships, or volunteering are ways to gain on-the-job experience. Develop good spelling skills and don’t rely on computerized spell checkers to find all errors. Be willing to upgrade your skills to keep up to date on the office equipment and computers used in this field.

Costs to workers

Some workers may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues. Others may be required to join a union.

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).


Office clerks, general (SOC 43-9061)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $12.65 $15.01 $18.16 $22.81 $28.12
Monthly $2,192 $2,601 $3,147 $3,953 $4,873
Yearly $26,310 $31,220 $37,780 $47,430 $58,490
    Bellingham Hourly $13.08 $15.32 $18.48 $22.65 $26.55
Monthly $2,267 $2,655 $3,203 $3,925 $4,601
Yearly $27,203 $31,867 $38,435 $47,095 $55,233
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $12.66 $14.74 $17.94 $22.03 $26.39
Monthly $2,194 $2,554 $3,109 $3,818 $4,573
Yearly $26,337 $30,650 $37,308 $45,825 $54,891
    Clarkston-Lewiston Hourly $8.79 $9.99 $14.11 $17.67 $20.76
Monthly $1,523 $1,731 $2,445 $3,062 $3,598
Yearly $18,281 $20,773 $29,357 $36,756 $43,186
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $12.51 $14.18 $17.18 $21.81 $26.88
Monthly $2,168 $2,457 $2,977 $3,780 $4,658
Yearly $26,016 $29,480 $35,732 $45,349 $55,901
    Longview Hourly $12.06 $13.47 $17.11 $21.32 $25.67
Monthly $2,090 $2,334 $2,965 $3,695 $4,449
Yearly $25,072 $28,019 $35,570 $44,346 $53,398
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $12.62 $15.67 $18.73 $22.83 $27.28
Monthly $2,187 $2,716 $3,246 $3,956 $4,728
Yearly $26,250 $32,596 $38,966 $47,496 $56,729
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $12.48 $14.35 $17.21 $20.44 $25.84
Monthly $2,163 $2,487 $2,982 $3,542 $4,478
Yearly $25,941 $29,841 $35,800 $42,533 $53,758
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $13.60 $16.22 $19.58 $24.71 $29.98
Monthly $2,357 $2,811 $3,393 $4,282 $5,196
Yearly $28,292 $33,745 $40,733 $51,384 $62,364
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.31 $13.90 $16.99 $20.15 $25.42
Monthly $2,133 $2,409 $2,944 $3,492 $4,405
Yearly $25,612 $28,914 $35,339 $41,914 $52,873
    Vancouver Hourly $12.23 $14.72 $18.01 $22.24 $27.17
Monthly $2,119 $2,551 $3,121 $3,854 $4,709
Yearly $25,434 $30,617 $37,457 $46,255 $56,523
    Walla Walla Hourly $12.24 $13.90 $16.98 $19.54 $23.86
Monthly $2,121 $2,409 $2,943 $3,386 $4,135
Yearly $25,458 $28,916 $35,324 $40,660 $49,610
    Wenatchee Hourly $12.15 $13.87 $17.66 $23.04 $28.31
Monthly $2,106 $2,404 $3,060 $3,993 $4,906
Yearly $25,258 $28,850 $36,729 $47,905 $58,897
    Yakima Hourly $12.45 $14.52 $17.58 $20.91 $25.71
Monthly $2,158 $2,516 $3,047 $3,624 $4,456
Yearly $25,875 $30,205 $36,552 $43,483 $53,477
United States Hourly $9.84 $12.06 $15.74 $20.22 $25.73
Monthly $1,705 $2,090 $2,728 $3,504 $4,459
Yearly $20,470 $25,090 $32,730 $42,050 $53,510

Pay varies with the worker's education and experience. It also varies with the industry. Clerks who work for transportation and public utilities tend to receive higher wages. Pay tends to be lower in construction, finance, insurance, and real estate.

Full-time general office clerks usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include paid vacations, health insurance, and sick leave.

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.

Office Clerks, General (SOC 43-9061)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 78,116 14.5% 16.1% 12,018
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 2,136 13.1% 13.4% 322
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 2,256 9.0% 8.6% 314
    Benton and Franklin Counties 2,928 15.3% 15.0% 458
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 3,063 13.6% 11.9% 465
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 5,252 14.9% 15.2% 813
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 5,081 14.3% 14.1% 782
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 4,751 15.7% 14.6% 746
    King County 28,410 15.2% 19.6% 4,420
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 3,248 14.5% 13.8% 502
    Pierce County 8,057 18.9% 15.2% 1,335
    Snohomish County 6,604 14.7% 12.4% 1,019
    Spokane County 6,095 13.1% 13.9% 915
United States 3,158,500 -3.5% 5.2% 360,400

National employment

General office clerks work in all types and sizes of businesses. These jobs are found in all areas of the country.

Major employers:

National outlook

The demand for general office clerks is expected to decline. This is due to advances in technology that require fewer workers. The health care industry, especially doctors' offices, should create many new jobs for office clerks. However, the government and schools will be hiring fewer general office clerks. 

Many job openings will occur because this is a very large occupation and many people move on to other jobs. Job prospects will be best for those with experience and computer skills.

Other resources

Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (external link)
900 South Washington Street, Suite G-13
Falls Church, VA 22046
Careers in the Military (external link)
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 clusters