California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Office Clerks, General in San Diego County

May also be called: Administrative Clerks; Office Assistants; and Real Estate Clerks.

What Would I Do?

Office Clerks do many things that help their offices run smoothly. Their duties may change daily with the needs of the specific job and the employer. Some Clerks may spend their days filing or keyboarding, while others enter data at a computer terminal, proofread documents, answer phones, and sort and deliver office mail. They also perform word processing duties, keep track of office supplies, and operate facsimile (FAX) machines and other office equipment. In some jobs, Office Clerks will work directly with people by providing information, scheduling appointments, or interviewing job applicants, clients, or customers. They might also do the payroll, bookkeeping, and prepare reports. Generally, Clerks must have knowledge of how an office operates in order to keep records of office and business activities.

The specific duties assigned to a Clerk vary significantly, depending on the type of office in which he or she works. For instance, an Office Clerk in a doctor’s office would not perform the same tasks as a Clerk in a large financial institution or in the office of an auto parts wholesaler. In addition, some Office Clerk jobs have specific titles that describe where they work and what they do. For example, Police Clerks keep the daily duty roster and keep many kinds of records required in police departments. Congressional District Aides work in offices of elected officials assisting citizens residing in their districts.

Most businesses want their Clerks to know the day-to-day language and work culture for their field or industry. Learning as much as possible about a potential employer is an important way to become a valuable team member of the work group and the organization.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Communicate with customers, employees, and other individuals to answer questions, disseminate or explain information, take orders and address complaints.Customer and Personal Service
Compile, copy, sort, and file records of office activities, business transactions, and other activities.Clerical
Collect, count, and disburse money, do basic bookkeeping and complete banking transactions.Economics and Accounting
Review files, records, and other documents to obtain information to respond to requests.Reading Comprehension
Maintain and update filing, inventory, mailing, and database systems, either manually or using a computer.Writing
Answer telephones, direct calls and take messages.Oral Expression
Compute, record, and proofread data and other information, such as records or reports.Mathematics
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Office Clerks usually work in well-lit, nicely furnished, air-conditioned offices. Most work full-time, or a standard 40-hour week; however, some Clerks work part-time or on temporary schedules. Some may work overtime during busy periods.

Most Clerks sit at a desk during their entire work day. They may stand or walk to deliver mail or perform other tasks such as filing. Clerks may have their own office or share an office with other support staff. They may also work independently or with other employees in a team environment.

Office Clerks who do not have a lot of experience may perform basic duties which could make the job seem routine and repetitive. As they gain more experience, the assignments usually become more interesting and complex. This, in turn, can open the door to additional responsibilities, advancement, or promotion.

Some Office Clerks may belong to a union, such as the California local chapters of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) or the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Office Clerk will appeal to those who enjoy working with people and performing duties that are organized, clearly defined, and require accuracy and attention to detail. This occupation satisfies those with conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines where the lines of authority are clear.

Clerks need to be helpful, tactful, and courteous especially if their job requires them to work with customers, internal staff, or speak on the telephone. They should be focused and organized. Employers prefer individuals who are able to perform a variety of tasks and satisfy the needs of the many departments within a company. In addition, applicants should have good communication skills, be detail oriented, and adaptable. Accuracy, punctuality, and reliability are traits also preferred by employers. In addition, Office Clerks need to be aware of their company’s policies and rules and not discuss their company’s internal affairs outside of the workplace.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

General Office Clerk wages in California differ widely depending on job duties and responsibilities, work experience, type of industry, and location of the work. Workers in large cities usually earn higher wages than those who work in smaller towns and rural areas.

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Office Clerks, General in California is $33,586 annually, or $16.15 hourly. The median wage for Office Clerks, General in San Diego County is $33,023 annually, or $15.87 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$25,164$33,586$42,694
San Diego County$25,113$33,023$41,128
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Most employers provide health and dental insurance, sick leave, and vacation benefits. Some firms may have stock purchase plans or offer cash bonuses each year.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment growth and high replacement needs in this large occupation will result in numerous job openings for Office Clerks. Many job openings are expected for part-time and temporary Office Clerks. Prospects should be best for those who have knowledge of basic computer applications and office machinery — such as fax machines, telephone systems, and scanners — and good writing and communication skills. As general administrative support duties continue to be combined, employers will increasingly seek well-rounded individuals with the ability to perform multiple tasks.

The number of job openings for Office Clerks is rather large; however, employment is expected to grow slow and the employment outlook will be affected by the increasing use of technology, expanding office automation, and the combining of administrative support tasks. Automation has led to productivity gains, allowing a wide variety of duties to be performed by fewer office workers. However, automation also has led to a consolidation of administrative support staffs and a diversification of job responsibilities which, in turn, raises the demand for Office Clerks because they perform a variety of administrative support tasks. It will become increasingly common within small businesses to find a single Clerk in charge of all administrative support work.

Job opportunities may vary from year to year because the strength of the economy affects demand for Office Clerks.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Office Clerks, General is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Office Clerks, General are expected to increase by 9.8 percent, or 32,300 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

In San Diego County, the number of Office Clerks, General is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Office Clerks, General are expected to increase by 12.2 percent, or 3,800 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Office Clerks, General
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2014-2024)
331,200363,50032,3009.871,400
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
31,16034,9603,80012.26,550
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 3,230 new job openings per year is expected for Office Clerks, General, plus an additional 7,140 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 10,370 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 380 new job openings per year is expected for Office Clerks, General, plus an additional 655 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,035 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Office Clerks, General
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2014-2024)
3,2307,14010,370
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
3806551,035
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

The job of Office Clerk usually requires a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job-related course work. In some cases, an associate or bachelor's degree could be needed.

Experience

Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience may be helpful in these occupations, but is usually not needed. However, most employers prefer Clerks who have worked in an office and learned to operate office equipment from real work experience or from business classes. In addition, employers look for accuracy and skill in using personal computers, calculators, and copying or fax machines. It is important to become skilled in operating several different kinds of office equipment.

Job duties that are special to individual firms must be learned on the job, but Clerks can learn general clerical skills in high school, adult education, Regional Occupation Programs, community colleges, or business schools.

Early Career Planning

Most employers prefer to hire workers who have completed classes in English, grammar, spelling, and business mathematics. Clerical jobs held while in school and during vacations provide good experience and often lead to full-time employment after graduation. Some employers and local high schools have work-study programs that give students a chance to earn a salary while learning their jobs.

Work Study Programs

California offers Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). One such program is titled Office Technologies. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.


Certification

Office Clerks may hold one or several certificates, such as Certified Bookkeeper, Microsoft Word or Excel, or Typing Speed and Accuracy Certification. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: General Office Occupations and Clerical Services.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Office Clerks, General are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Colleges and Universities 8.0%
Employment Services 8.0%
Local Government 7.4%
Elementary and Secondary Schools 4.9%
State Government 4.5%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Persons interested in government employment should apply at federal, State, county, and city personnel offices. Many schools operate placement centers for their students. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers and trade publications.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Office Clerks, General.

  • Colleges and Universities
  • Public Schools
  • Private Schools
  • Government Offices
  • Employment Agencies
  • Hospitals

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Office Clerks who exhibit strong communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills may be promoted to supervisory positions. Others may move into different, more senior administrative jobs, such as receptionist, secretary, or administrative assistant. After gaining some work experience or specialized skills, many workers transfer to jobs with higher pay or greater advancement potential. Advancement to professional occupations within an organization normally requires additional formal education, such as a college degree.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Office Clerks, General with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Billing and Posting ClerksProfile
Insurance Claims and Policy Processing ClerksProfile
Receptionists and Information ClerksGuide
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and ExecutiveGuide
Word Processors and TypistsProfile

Other Sources

  • International Association of Administrative Professionals
         www.iaap-hq.org
  • Service Employees International Union
         www.seiu.org
  • Office and Professional Employees International Union
         www.opeiu.org
  • American Federation of Government Employees
         www.afge.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification43-9061
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Office Clerks, General43-9061.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)CES