what is an office clerk?

As an office clerk, you handle various administrative tasks in an office setting. You provide administrative support to office staff and perform a range of essential duties, such as data entry, customer service and filing. You also perform general office tasks, including bookkeeping, answering phones, handling mail and running errands for the office manager.

To work as an office clerk, you require various office skills. You're responsible for making photocopies, posting outgoing mail, completing banking transactions and sending faxes. You keep accurate paper and electronic records of your transactions. When you answer the phone, you take detailed phone messages and pass the information to the relevant departments.

In some offices, clerks take dictation in meetings and transcribe notes for office managers. You also keep track of office supplies and replenish them to avoid shortages. Other advanced office clerk tasks include keeping payroll records, such as recording the punch-in and punch-out times for employees. As an office clerk, you may also perform basic bookkeeping and front office tasks, like reconciling checks and managing petty cash.

As an office clerk, your duties depend on your office environment. For instance, when you work in a hospital setting, you mostly manage patient records instead of working in a university, where you process application materials and assist students.

Would working as an office clerk suit your multitasking and prioritization skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an office clerk role.

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average office clerk salary

According to Job Bank, the average salary of office clerks in Canada is $34,335 per year or $17.61 per hour. Office clerks in entry-level positions start with a salary of $29,250 annually. With experience, your earnings increase gradually, and you can take home over $49,107 yearly.

how to increase the salary of an office clerk

The salary of an office clerk depends on experience. When you are new to the role, you start with a lower salary since you have minimal expertise. As your skills improve and you gain experience, you can handle complex tasks, resulting in increased earnings. While there are no qualifications for becoming an office clerk, completing a college course prepares you for the role and improves your earning potential.

The industry you work in also determines your earnings. As an office clerk, you can work in the healthcare industry, legal offices and government facilities. Your earnings depend on the complexity of your duties and whether you have additional roles. For instance, you may procure supplies in a government office and handle other bookkeeping tasks that require additional skills. However, in a healthcare facility, your duties only include handling records and filing documents.

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types of office clerks

The types of office clerks depend on the industry and specific duties. Some of the titles for office clerks include:

  • general office clerk: as a general office clerk, you perform general administrative tasks, like receiving phone calls, handling correspondence and filing tasks. You also perform scheduling tasks and run the office on behalf of the office manager.
  • medical office clerk: when you work in a healthcare facility, you are likely to interact with patients and medical professionals. Your job includes directing patients to their appointments and keeping medical records. You file patient documents and manage the hospital's databases.
man carrying bike up stairs
man carrying bike up stairs

working as an office clerk

An office clerk is a highly organized individual capable of handling multiple tasks. You ensure that the office runs smoothly. Here are some of the duties and work environments of office clerks.


office clerk skills and education

The requirements of becoming an office clerk include:

  • secondary school education: to become an office clerk in Canada, complete your secondary school education. You can also pursue a business administration or attend a college commerce course to learn relevant skills for working in an office environment.
  • work experience: to work as an office clerk, you don’t require experience. However, a background in administrative support roles or customer service increases your experience in the job.

competencies and characteristics of office clerks

As an office clerk, you rely on soft skills to provide comprehensive support. Some of the qualities employers look for include the following:

  • communication skills: being able to communicate effectively is crucial for your role. You communicate with customers, clients and other employees, so it's crucial to be clear and concise. Ensure employees are on the same page by passing accurate memos and relaying feedback. Your written communication skills are also useful for preparing reports and filing the necessary documents.
  • effective organization and time management skills: as an office clerk, you rely on organization and prioritization skills to keep track of information and resources. You need time management to perform your duties effectively, including organizing the workspace and planning schedules for office managers.
  • customer service skills: as an office clerk, you interact with clients and customers who walk into the company. It is crucial to understand customers' needs and provide them with the right information about products and services.
  • computer skills: whether planning schedules or keeping records, your role requires excellent computer skills. Having strong computer skills helps you improve efficiency in your tasks. For instance, skills in word processing, managing databases and creating spreadsheets are useful for your role.
  • multitasking skills: as an office clerk, you juggle multiple tasks simultaneously. Since you work in a fast-paced office environment, you are expected to handle multiple responsibilities concurrently. Multitasking skills help you juggle various duties while remaining calm and organized.

FAQs about office clerk jobs

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an office clerk.


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