Clerical Training Programs and Requirements

Clerical workers execute general office tasks, such as filing, record keeping and administrative support. Individuals equipped with clerical skills may find employment as a court clerk, municipal clerk, administrative office clerk, medical office clerk, library clerk and more. The development of basic office skills and on-the-job training are typically sufficient to prepare one to work in the clerical field, though formal education programs also exist.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

In many cases, employers do not require formal job or educational training for one to become a clerical worker. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that entry-level clerical positions, such as secretaries or administrative assistants, can be attained with a high school diploma or 1-2 year certificate in office administration (www.bls.gov). On-the-job training generally focuses on the use of office equipment and computer software. In some cases, clerical workers may be trained by outside vendors. The duration of on-the-job clerical training programs varies from one employer to another.

Formal Education

While a formal college degree is not always necessary to gain a clerical position, a vocational certificate or 2-year degree program in office administration can be helpful. Several community and technical colleges across the United States offer these types of programs.

Certificate

A secretarial, office administration or receptionist certificate program typically provides the curriculum needed to develop clerical skills. Topics addressed in these programs include keyboarding, business English, business math, word processing, office machines and computer applications. These programs are usually completed in one year or less.

Associate's Degree

Aspiring clerical workers may also choose to pursue a 2-year degree in office administration. These programs result in an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Applied Business (AAB) degree. Clerical coursework includes office management, office procedures, business communications, document processing, accounting and business writing.

Job Experience

Many employers seek clerical prospects with typing, office machine and filing skills. One might develop these skills by working with an office temp agency before moving on to a permanent position.

Licenses and Certifications

No license or certification is required to be a clerical worker; however, voluntary certifications to show proficiency in a variety of clerical skills are available by some nonprofit organizations representing specific types of clerical workers. For example, the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC) offers two clerical credentials, the Certified Municipal Clerk and Master Municipal Clerk.

Other certifications for clerical workers include the Certified Professional Secretary and the Certified Administrative Professional from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) also provides a credential to clerical workers offering services as independent contractors. This Certified Virtual Assistant certification reflects an individual's skills in word processing, bookkeeping, typing and other clerical areas.

Workshops and Seminars

The American Management Association (AMA) hosts several seminars in office and administrative support each year. These seminars address several clerical topics, including communication skills, business writing, project management and accounting. The IAAP provides workshops, 1-day live seminars and Web-based seminars focusing on the development of clerical skills.

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