As of 2010, administrative assistants earned a median pay of $34,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS states that administrative assistants also perform clerical and organizational duties, such as arranging and filing documents, scheduling meetings, typing reports, taking minutes at meetings and providing administrative support to other departments. Individuals with clerical skills work in almost all industries. According to BLS, with a high school diploma and basic training in the computer and office skills outlined below, you can get an entry-level job as a clerk.
One of your main duties as a clerical worker is typing documents and reports while ensuring accuracy and speed. Most employers only consider applicants with a typing speed of at least 40 words per minute, while others go as high as 60 words per minute. You may be asked to produce a typing certification during your job interview or take a typing test to ascertain your qualifications. Typing classes are offered in business schools and colleges, business education centers, vocational or technical schools and community colleges. You can also enroll in online typing classes from accredited websites, which issue you a certificate upon passing the typing test.
Almost all clerical jobs require basic computer skills. You must enroll in basic computer classes that teach students how to use spreadsheets, databases and word-processing software. Most courses teach students how to use Microsoft Office programs, which can help you perform basic tasks like typing memos, presenting reports, entering data and maintaining databases. Computer classes also provide training on Internet use and email, which most clerks use for office communication. Universities, computer training schools, technical colleges, vocational centers and community colleges offer basic computer classes.
Communication Skills Courses
A communication skills course can help a clerk deal with clients, suppliers and visitors in a professional manner. In most cases, clerks schedule appointments, make phone calls and answer questions from callers, clients and visitors. It is imperative for a clerk to possess excellent communication skills to perform these tasks effectively. Basic communication skills courses are offered in community colleges, universities, business schools and elsewhere. A communication skills course covers the importance of maintaining confidential information and observing email and phone etiquette while dealing with clients.
Office Skills Certification
A clerk requires certain office skills to maintain an organized office and follow all of their company's procedures. A basic office practice course teaches you to use equipment such as scanners, printers and fax machines to execute your daily duties. The course will also provide training on record-keeping, filing and maintaining an organized work area. An office skills course will also teach you how to improve your task management skills, which can enhance productivity. You will also learn basic administrative skills such as taking minutes and writing letters, reports and emails.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Secretary or Administrative Assistant
- DegreeDirectory.Org: What Skills Are Needed to Qualify for Jobs As an Office Clerk?
- Expert Rating Certified Professional: Office Skills Certification
- The University of Rhode Island: Communication Fundamentals
- California Government: Typing Certification Requirements
Maria OCadiz has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in Education. She is a former university professor, curriculum facilitator and teacher.