Types of Office Careers: Overview Duties, Requirements and Salaries

Private businesses, government agencies and other organizations employ office workers to help their operations run more efficiently. Types of office careers include general office clerk, receptionist and administrative assistant, among others. Duties, requirements and salaries vary by position.

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General Office Clerk Overview

General office clerks work in a variety of settings, including banks, hospitals and post offices. They typically work 40 hours weekly; however, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), around 25% of office clerks worked part time in 2010 (www.bls.gov).

Duties and Responsibilities

General office clerk duties and responsibilities vary by office environment, employer needs and employee experience. Less experienced office clerks might perform general duties, such as answering telephones, faxing, photocopying and stuffing envelopes, while more experienced clerks might prepare spreadsheets, take inventory, maintain financial records and make travel arrangements.

Salary

The average hourly wage for a general office clerk was $14.07 in 2012, according to the BLS. Most general office clerks worked for employment services, schools, hospitals or local government agencies. The BLS predicts job growth of 17% for these workers from 2010-2020.

Receptionist Overview

Receptionists use their interpersonal skills to greet, inform and direct clients, customers and business associates who visit or call a business, organization or governmental agency. Full- or part-time receptionist positions are available, and receptionists may be able to work on location or remotely.

Duties and Responsibilities

Receptionists act as liaisons between the public and businesses. They provide customers and clients with information, such as event details and office locations. They also answer telephone calls, send faxes, greet visitors, prepare mailings and schedule appointments.

Salary

According to the BLS, the average hourly wage for a receptionist in May 2012 was $13.00. Industries that employed the highest number of receptionists included those of dentists, physicians and other health practitioners, as well as personal care, scientific and technical services. Receptionists are expected to see 24% job growth from 2010-2020, per the BLS.

Administrative Assistant Overview

Administrative assistants might be employed full- or part-time, and, like receptionists, they might work on site or remotely. Those who have computer knowledge and software training tend to have an easier time securing employment.

Duties and Responsibilities

Administrative assistants operate computers, fax machines, photocopiers, telephones and videoconferencing equipment. Job responsibilities vary by type of employer, but they generally include higher-level administrative duties like conducting research, making travel arrangements, managing databases, negotiating with vendors, preparing correspondence, purchasing supplies and scheduling meetings.

Salary

In May 2012, administrative assistants earned an average hourly wage of $16.13, according to the BLS. This figure does not include executive, legal and medical secretaries. Industries that offered the most employment opportunities for administrative assistants included state and local government, education and corporate management. Jobs are expected to grow six percent for these workers from 2010-2020.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics