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Order Clerks

At a Glance

  • Process orders for a variety of goods and services
  • Are heavy telephone and computer users
  • Deal directly with customers
  • May work nights, weekends, and holidays
  • Train through formal training programs or on the job

Career summary

Order clerks take and process orders for materials, merchandise, and services.

#No alternate titles CJ

Order clerks receive orders by telephone, mail, e-mail, and other electronic methods. First, clerks ask customers for specific information, such as their name, address, and credit card or account number. They ask customers for the product number and number of items they wish to purchase.

As clerks enter the order, the computer tells them if the products are in stock and how much they cost. If items are back-ordered, clerks tell customers the expected arrival date. If customers cannot wait for items to arrive, clerks suggest similar products. Clerks who take orders from businesses rather than individuals occasionally give price estimates and stock checks for entire jobs, not just single items.

Once orders are placed, clerks route them to the departments that will send out or deliver the items. Clerks notify departments when inventories are low or when orders will use up supplies.

Clerks review orders for completeness. If information is missing or cannot be read, clerks call the customer. Clerks respond to customers if they request information about shipping dates or prices. Once orders are complete, clerks process the checks and money orders.

Clerks prepare invoices and shipping documents to make sure they are filed correctly. They may also create reports for management about past orders.

Some order clerks examine orders before they are shipped. They compare the items in boxes against the packing lists. When they find incomplete or incorrect orders, clerks send them back for correction. Clerks may also track down missing and late merchandise.

Order clerks listen to and resolve customers' complaints. Order clerks are also called order-entry clerks, order processors, or order takers.

Related careers

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

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to order clerks.

Common work activities

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

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, order clerks:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Order clerks frequently:

It is important for order clerks to be able to:

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

Skills and abilities

Order clerks need to:


Reason and problem solve

Use math and science

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Work with people

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 an order clerk, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Many businesses, including construction supply require some formal education beyond high school. An Associate's degree is not required but most employers will require one or more college courses.

On-the-job training

Order clerks usually learn their skills on the job. You work with an experienced clerk who teaches you routine tasks and the computer system. As you gain experience, you work on more difficult tasks. Training generally lasts up to one month.

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 prefer applicants who have a high school diploma or equivalent. They also prefer applicants who know how to use computers.

Employers look for applicants who get along well with others and have a pleasant phone personality.

Some employers will hire order clerks who do not have any experience. Other employers prefer to hire order clerks who have five to six years of experience.

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).


The minimum wage for Washington State as of January 1, 2020 is $13.50 per hour. Some areas of the state may have a higher minimum wage.

Order clerks (SOC 43-4151)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $13.34 $16.55 $20.78 $26.55 $30.05
Monthly $2,312 $2,868 $3,601 $4,601 $5,208
Yearly $27,750 $34,430 $43,220 $55,220 $62,500
    Bellingham Hourly $12.01 $12.34 $15.22 $18.36 $20.76
Monthly $2,081 $2,139 $2,638 $3,182 $3,598
Yearly $24,999 $25,681 $31,665 $38,182 $43,188
    Bremerton-Silverdale Hourly $12.80 $15.49 $17.64 $19.51 $22.34
Monthly $2,218 $2,684 $3,057 $3,381 $3,872
Yearly $26,625 $32,214 $36,683 $40,596 $46,470
    Kennewick-Richland Hourly $12.81 $13.79 $15.42 $18.46 $20.37
Monthly $2,220 $2,390 $2,672 $3,199 $3,530
Yearly $26,650 $28,668 $32,074 $38,394 $42,369
    Longview Hourly $16.88 $19.22 $23.11 $27.05 $29.99
Monthly $2,925 $3,331 $4,005 $4,688 $5,197
Yearly $35,101 $39,958 $48,062 $56,266 $62,386
    Mount Vernon-Anacortes Hourly $12.94 $15.35 $19.26 $24.77 $27.76
Monthly $2,243 $2,660 $3,338 $4,293 $4,811
Yearly $26,908 $31,930 $40,062 $51,518 $57,730
    Olympia-Tumwater Hourly $11.94 $12.19 $17.80 $22.94 $28.99
Monthly $2,069 $2,113 $3,085 $3,976 $5,024
Yearly $24,848 $25,351 $37,025 $47,718 $60,302
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $15.03 $17.87 $22.44 $27.85 $31.11
Monthly $2,605 $3,097 $3,889 $4,826 $5,391
Yearly $31,264 $37,172 $46,686 $57,936 $64,700
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $12.14 $13.61 $16.37 $19.57 $25.28
Monthly $2,104 $2,359 $2,837 $3,391 $4,381
Yearly $25,245 $28,305 $34,041 $40,704 $52,571
    Vancouver Hourly $13.42 $15.30 $18.61 $23.26 $28.01
Monthly $2,326 $2,651 $3,225 $4,031 $4,854
Yearly $27,912 $31,836 $38,712 $48,377 $58,272
    Walla Walla Hourly $13.07 $13.62 $14.54 $15.47 $20.10
Monthly $2,265 $2,360 $2,520 $2,681 $3,483
Yearly $27,196 $28,346 $30,262 $32,179 $41,796
    Wenatchee Hourly $13.02 $14.27 $17.07 $20.95 $29.02
Monthly $2,256 $2,473 $2,958 $3,631 $5,029
Yearly $27,086 $29,669 $35,519 $43,559 $60,365
    Yakima Hourly $12.54 $13.38 $14.77 $19.17 $27.50
Monthly $2,173 $2,319 $2,560 $3,322 $4,766
Yearly $26,080 $27,821 $30,713 $39,886 $57,200
United States Hourly $10.71 $12.75 $16.09 $20.56 $25.59
Monthly $1,856 $2,210 $2,788 $3,563 $4,435
Yearly $22,280 $26,520 $33,460 $42,760 $53,240

Salaries of order clerks vary. Region of the country, size of the city, and the type and size of employer all affect wages. The level of industry or technical knowledge required may also affect salary.

In addition to their salary, order clerks receive benefits. Sick leave, vacation, health insurance, and retirement plans are common.

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.

Order Clerks (SOC 43-4151)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 3,719 16.2% 16.1% 575
    Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan Counties 72 4.2% 13.4% 8
    Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Walla Walla, and Whitman Counties 27 -3.7% 8.6% 3
    Benton and Franklin Counties 72 2.8% 15.0% 8
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 46 4.3% 11.9% 5
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 238 13.9% 15.2% 36
    Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston Counties 128 18.0% 14.1% 20
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 131 11.5% 14.6% 18
    King County 1,665 17.0% 19.6% 258
    Kittitas, Klickitat, Skamania, and Yakima Counties 400 8.5% 13.8% 54
    Pierce County 407 5.4% 15.2% 50
    Snohomish County 314 8.9% 12.4% 43
    Spokane County 283 8.8% 13.9% 38
United States 166,800 -0.7% 5.2% 19,100

National employment

Order clerks work in almost every industry.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is expected to show little to no change. Online shopping has reduced the need for order clerks. Online shopping is more automated and requires fewer clerks. Other office workers can now do the work that clerks have done in the past.

Despite the decline, many jobs will be available as current order clerks move to other occupations or retire. Some jobs in this occupation are seasonal.

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