California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks in California

May also be called: Receiving Clerks; Receiving Managers; Shippers; Shipping Clerks; Traffic Managers; and Warehouse Workers

What Would I Do?

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks keep records of all goods shipped and received by their businesses. Smaller firms usually hire Clerks to do both shipping and receiving, while larger companies often hire workers to do shipping and receiving separately.

Accurate recordkeeping is essential to the timely and effective transportation of goods. This is a crucial component of logistics, the movement of goods from one point to another. It is important that records be kept of the dates goods are shipped out and received, that the names of carriers and the mode of transportation be logged, and that the quality and condition of goods received be reported.

Shipping Clerks are responsible for outgoing shipments. They determine that the right merchandise is being sent and is in as-ordered condition. They prepare bills of lading for commercial and other shipments. They record and report on warehouse activities. Shipping Clerks may also inspect trucks and vans to make sure they’re clean when shipping such items as grain, flour, and milk.

Receiving Clerks handle arriving shipments. In many firms, Receiving Clerks either use handheld scanners to record barcodes on incoming products or manually enter the information into a computer. They open the containers and packages of received goods, using tools such as pry bars and wire cutters. They verify that the right goods were received. They make sure that the merchandise is in satisfactory condition. They inform adjustment claims personnel if shipments are damaged or are not the correct items. When necessary, Receiving Clerks route merchandise samples to quality control units.

Traffic Clerks keep records on the destination, weight, and charges on all incoming and outgoing freight. They check rate charges by means of rate charts. This work is often automated and computerized. Traffic Clerks also keep a file of claims for overcharges and damage to goods in transit.

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
Examine contents and compare with records, such as manifests, invoices, or orders, to verify accuracy of incoming or outgoing shipment.Clerical
Prepare documents, such as work orders, bills of lading, and shipping orders to route materials.Information Ordering
Determine shipping method for materials, using knowledge of shipping procedures, routes, and rates.Administration and Management
Record shipment data, such as weight, charges, space availability, and damages and discrepancies, for reporting, accounting, and recordkeeping purposes.Writing
Contact carrier representative to make arrangements and to issue instructions for shipping and delivery of materials.Oral Expression
Confer and correspond with establishment representatives to rectify problems, such as damages, shortages, and nonconformance to specifications.Speaking
Requisition and store shipping materials and supplies to maintain inventory of stock.Monitoring
Deliver or route materials to departments, using work devices, such as handtruck, conveyor, or sorting bins.Transportation
Compute amounts, such as space available, and shipping, storage, and demurrage charges, using calculator or price list.Mathematics
Pack, seal, label, and affix postage to pepare materials for shipping, using work devices such as hand tools, power tools, and postage meters Production and Processing
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks may work indoors or outdoors. Up-to-date shipping centers or large department stores are usually air-conditioned, well-heated, and lighted. Clerks who work in large warehouses can experience uncomfortable temperatures, as these warehouses are often hot or cold.

Most jobs involve frequent standing, bending, walking, and stretching. The work can be strenuous, even though mechanical material-handling equipment is used to move heavy items. Clerks who ship and receive heavy merchandise can be injured and must be careful in handling orders. Some lifting and carrying of smaller items also may be involved.

Workers can experience pressure to ship and receive merchandise according to tight time schedules. This happens during certain rush times of the year, such as the Christmas season and when firms get rush orders.

The typical workweek is Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week, but evening and weekend hours are commonplace and may be required when large shipments are involved.

Clerks may be members of the Teamsters union or a number of other unions.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerk will appeal to people if they like following set procedures and routines, and like being careful about details. They probably should also enjoy working with practical, hands-on problems with concrete solutions. Though many times the job follows routine using established procedures, sometimes flexibility and adaptability in needed to meet changing problems. Employees should not get upset if the routine is changed by a rush order or an unanticipated delivery. Clerks may also work long hours by themselves, so they should enjoy working alone.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?


The median wage in 2021 for Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks in California was $36,982 annually, or $17.78 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 2021Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2021 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Fringe benefits can include paid vacation, holidays, and sick leave; they may also receive group life, health, and dental insurance, and retirement benefits. Some employers offer Clerks stock purchase and profit sharing plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Most job openings will be created by the need to replace Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks who retire, transfer to supervisory or managerial positions, or leave the field for other reasons.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks are expected to increase by 5.9 percent, or 5,500 jobs between 2018 and 2028.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Total Job
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Whether hired from outside the company or promoted from within, Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks are usually given supervised, on-the-job training. Some employers require a high school diploma. Employers may require clerical experience and knowledge of office machines. Some prefer workers with experience in retail or manufacturing business operations. They may also prefer workers with knowledge of different shipping methods including the U.S. Postal Service and private parcel post service. Knowledge of the best way to ship items, such as by air, rail, or truck, is also a plus in finding a job. Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks who handle alcohol, drugs, or jewelry may be required to be bonded. A valid California driver's license is required by some employers, and others may require a physical examination.

Early Career Planning

Employers prefer applicants who are high school graduates. Recommended high school courses include typing (using a computer keyboard), computer technology, business arithmetic, and other business courses. Given that Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks must write correctly and spell accurately, high school courses in English are also helpful.

Work Study Programs

Regional Occupational Programs offer experience in this field in some locations. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

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: Logistics and Materials; Truck and Bus Driver; Traffic, Customs, & Transportation Clerk/Technician; and Transportation/Transportation Management.
  • 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 Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods13.8%
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods10.0%
Employment Services8.1%
Warehousing and Storage7.4%
Electronic Shopping & Mail-Order Houses5.0%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers is an effective job search method for journey-level Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks. Newspaper classified ads are also an excellent source of job leads.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

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 Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks.

  • Air Cargo & Package Express Service
  • Delivery Service
  • Freight Forwarding
  • Inventory Service
  • Mail Receiving & Forwarding Service
  • Mailing Services
  • Packaging Service
  • Packing & Crating Service
  • Railroad Companies
  • Trucking
  • Trucking-Motor Freight
  • Warehouses-Public-Commercial

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?

Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks who have demonstrated their skill and ability have a good chance for promotion, especially in larger companies. A typical promotion path is to head clerk, shipping and receiving supervisor, and warehouse manager. Chances for more advancement are better for workers who continue to improve their skills and pick up other skills. These workers may be promoted to traffic manager, buyer, or purchasing agent.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks with links to more information.

Coin, Vending, and Amusement Machine Servicers and RepairersProfile
Mail Clerks and Mail Machine Operators, Except Postal ServiceProfile
Procurement ClerksProfile
Production, Planning, and Expediting ClerksGuide
Stock Clerks and Order FillersGuide
Transportation InspectorsProfile
Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, RecordkeepingProfile

Other Sources

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.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification43-5071
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks43-5071.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)CRE