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Materials Management Clerk: Job Outlook & Career Info

Materials management clerks work in purchasing departments to manage inventory of companies and other organizations and are also referred to as shipping and receiving clerks. Keep reading to explore the requirements and benefits of this occupation.

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Career Definition

Materials management clerks order, receive and distribute supplies and equipment. They work for purchasing departments of private companies, schools, hospitals and government agencies to inspect supplies delivered from vendors, check incoming deliveries against invoices and package outgoing shipments. Receiving clerks keep computerized inventories of stock and perform data entry tasks related to purchasing and distributing materials.

How to Become a Materials Management Clerk

Required Education

Materials management clerks have high school diplomas and receive on-the-job training specific to the organizations for which they work. They typically work under supervision of more experienced purchasing department staff and gradually gain greater responsibility and more independent tasks. Clerks who work with liquor, pharmaceuticals or luxury goods may need to be bonded.

Skills Required

Materials management clerks are capable of performing repetitive tasks quickly and accurately. Shipping and receiving clerks often work with expensive supplies and equipment; the American Purchasing Society emphasizes that materials management clerks must be highly ethical and reliable.

Career and Economic Outlook

The increased use of computerized scanners and other automated equipment will cause the job market for materials management to grow very little compared to the average profession, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Entry-level workers will continue to be hired to replace experienced workers who advance to other positions.

As of May 2012, the BLS reports that the average hourly wage for stock clerks and order fillers was $11.75. The top-paid ten percent of workers earned $17.70 or more per hour, while the lowest-earning ten percent of clerks earned $8.12 or less.

Alternate Career Options

Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerk

Some of these clerks secure positions with a high school diploma and learn skills on the job, while others have completed postsecondary accounting courses or programs. Their work involves updating financial statements, recording financial transactions and guaranteeing accuracy of organizations' financial records. The number of available positions should grow at the average rate of 11% during the 2012-2022 decade, according to the BLS. As of May 2012, the annual median salary for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks was $35,170, or $16.91 per hour, per the BLS.

General Office Clerk

With a high school diploma, or its equivalent, general office clerks normally receive on-the-job training to learn the required skills, although some have attended business programs in postsecondary institutions. Their job duties may include communicating by phone and computer, scheduling appointments, providing information to others, maintaining records and handling the mail.

The BLS reported their annual median wage as $27,470 in 2012, or $13.21 per hour. Slower than average employment growth of 6% was anticipated by the BLS for these positions from 2012-2022, with opportunities for those with strong computer software skills being the best.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics