How to Become a File Clerk

All companies and organizations generate a great deal of information that must be filed properly for effective function and organization. File clerks are trained workers that categorize, store, retrieve, and update a variety of information and documents for many companies and organizations.

What does a file clerk do?

File clerks are responsible for creating and maintaining accessible and efficient filing systems for a variety of documents. They gather materials from a variety of departments and organize and file it. They often arrange documents alphabetically, numerically, or by subjects. Some organizations use paper file and folder systems and others use computerized systems such as hard drives and CD-ROMS. File clerks also regularly clean out and organize files, dispose of old material, and make sure all documents have been filed properly. When files are requested, file clerks locate the material and deliver it to the requesting party. They must keep record of the removed materials to make sure they are returned. Some file clerks have additional responsibilities including entering data, sorting mail, performing word processing tasks, and operating fax and copy machines.

What kind of training does a file clerk need?

File clerks need at least a high school diploma. Most employers prefer applicants with some office experience. Some file clerks have some college education or associate degrees. Aspiring file clerks usually take courses in English, business, typing, and computers. Most employers provide on the job training where new file clerks observe and learn from experienced employees. New file clerks learn filing systems and company policies and procedures. File clerks who perform more specialized tasks such as working with computer databases or microfilm files receive more extensive training.

What are the prospects for a career as a file clerk?

Employment of file clerks is expected to decline rapidly, decreasing 41% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Increased automation and the consolidation of clerical positions will drive employment decline.

Despite the employment decline, there will be many job openings from the need to replace files clerks that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons. Job prospects will be the best for file clerks with extensive experience and a wide range of office skills.

How much do file clerks make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of file clerks earn annual salaries between $21,224 and $27,397. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $30,290 (2).

A career as a file clerk is a great choice for individuals who enjoy detail work and have strong organization skills. File clerks must be constantly alert and accurate and be able to provide information quickly when requested. They must be able to perform routine and repetitive tasks. A good memory, problem solving skills, and secretarial skills are desired qualities. File clerks must be able to effectively work independently and as part of a team. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they often interact with other employees.

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