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Career and Education Opportunities for Office Clerks in Chicago, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for office clerks in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 118,300 working office clerks in Illinois; this should grow by 15% to 136,080 working office clerks in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for office clerks, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.9% over the next eight years. Office clerks generally perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures.

Office clerks earn about $12 hourly or $25,780 annually on average in Illinois and about $12 per hour or $25,320 per year on average nationally. Earnings for office clerks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Clerical in Illinois and not quite as good as general Clerical category earnings nationally.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as an office clerk. Office clerks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become an office clerk if you already have a high school diploma.


Office Clerk video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, office clerks perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures. They also clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones, bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation, and filing.

Office clerks communicate with customers and other individuals to respond to questions, disseminate or explain data, take orders, and address complaints. They also answer telephones and take messages. Equally important, office clerks have to operate office machines, such as photocopiers and scanners, facsimile machines, voice mail systems, and personal computers. Finally, office clerks compile and file archives of office efforts and other efforts.

Every day, office clerks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for office clerks to maintain and update filing, inventory and database systems, either manually or using a computer. They are often called upon to compute and proofread data and other data, such as archives or reports. They also open and route incoming mail and ready outgoing mail. They are sometimes expected to deliver messages and run errands. Somewhat less frequently, office clerks are also expected to process and ready documents.

Office clerks sometimes are asked to ready meeting agendas and record and transcribe minutes. They also have to be able to collect and disburse money, do basic bookkeeping, and complete banking transactions And finally, they sometimes have to communicate with customers and other individuals to respond to questions, disseminate or explain data, take orders, and address complaints.

Like many other jobs, office clerks must believe in cooperation and coordination and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Bank Teller. Receive and pay out money. Keep records of money and negotiable instruments involved in a financial institution's various transactions.
  • Bookkeeper. Compute, classify, and record numerical data to keep financial records complete. Perform any combination of routine calculating, posting, and verifying duties to obtain primary financial data for use in maintaining accounting records. May also check the accuracy of figures, calculations, and postings pertaining to business transactions recorded by other workers.
  • Broker Assistant. Perform clerical duties involving the purchase or sale of securities. Duties include writing orders for stock purchases and sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, tracking stock price fluctuations, computing equity, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.
  • Clerk. Compile data, compute fees and charges, and prepare invoices for billing purposes. Duties include computing costs and calculating rates for goods, services, and shipment of goods; posting data; and keeping other relevant records. May involve use of computer or typewriter, calculator, and adding and bookkeeping machines.
  • Correspondence Clerk. Compose letters in reply to requests for merchandise, damage claims, credit and other information, delinquent accounts, or unsatisfactory services. Duties may include gathering data to formulate reply and typing correspondence.
  • Courtroom Clerk. Perform clerical duties in court of law; prepare docket of cases to be called; secure information for judges; and contact witnesses, attorneys, and litigants to obtain information for court.
  • File Clerk. File correspondence, cards, and other records in alphabetical or numerical order or according to the filing system used. Locate and remove material from file when requested.
  • Front Desk Manager. Accommodate hotel, motel, and resort patrons by registering and assigning rooms to guests, issuing room keys, transmitting and receiving messages, keeping records of occupied rooms and guests' accounts, making and confirming reservations, and presenting statements to and collecting payments from departing guests.
  • Insurance Claims Processor. Obtain information from insured or designated persons for purpose of settling claim with insurance carrier.
  • Insurance Processing Clerk. Process applications for, changes to, and cancellation of insurance policies. Duties include reviewing insurance applications to ensure that all questions have been answered, compiling data on insurance policy changes, changing policy records to conform to insured party's specifications, compiling data on lapsed insurance policies to determine automatic reinstatement according to company policies, canceling insurance policies as requested by agents, and verifying the accuracy of insurance company records.
  • Legal Secretary. Perform secretarial duties utilizing legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, and subpoenas. May also assist with legal research.
  • Library Clerk. Compile records, sort and shelve books, and issue and receive library materials such as pictures, cards, slides and microfilm. Locate library materials for loan and replace material in shelving area, stacks, or files according to identification number and title. Register patrons to permit them to borrow books, periodicals, and other library materials.
  • License Clerk. Issue licenses or permits to qualified applicants. Obtain necessary information; record data; advise applicants on requirements; collect fees; and issue licenses. May conduct oral, written, or performance testing.
  • Loan Inspector. Interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers; and forward findings, reports, and documents to appraisal department. Review loan papers to ensure completeness, and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers, and sellers upon approval of loan.
  • Municipal Clerk. Draft agendas and bylaws for town or city council; record minutes of council meetings; answer official correspondence; keep fiscal records and accounts; and prepare reports on civic needs.
  • Order Clerk. Receive and process incoming orders for materials, merchandise, or services such as repairs, installations, or rental of facilities. Duties include informing customers of receipt, prices, and delays; preparing contracts; and handling complaints.
  • Payroll Bookkeeper. Compile and post employee time and payroll data. May compute employees' time worked, production, and commission. May compute and post wages and deductions. May prepare paychecks.
  • Postal Clerk. Perform any combination of tasks in a post office, such as receive letters and parcels; sell postage and revenue stamps, postal cards, and stamped envelopes; fill out and sell money orders; place mail in pigeon holes of mail rack or in bags according to State, address, or other scheme; and examine mail for correct postage.
  • Procurement Clerk. Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
  • Production Planner. Coordinate and expedite the flow of work and materials within or between departments of an establishment according to production schedule. Duties include reviewing and distributing production, work, and shipment schedules; conferring with department supervisors to determine progress of work and completion dates; and compiling reports on progress of work, inventory levels, and production problems.
  • Receptionist. Answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties. Provide information regarding activities conducted at establishment; location of departments, offices, and employees within organization.
  • Secretary. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.
  • Statement Clerk. Prepare and distribute bank statements to customers, answer inquiries, and reconcile discrepancies in records and accounts.
  • Statistical Clerk. Compile and compute data according to statistical formulas for use in statistical studies. May perform actuarial computations and compile charts and graphs for use by actuaries. Includes actuarial clerks.
  • Store Clerk. Receive, store, and issue sales floor merchandise. Stock shelves, racks, and tables with merchandise and arrange merchandise displays to attract customers. May periodically take physical count of stock or check and mark merchandise.
  • Typist. Type letters, reports, or other material from rough draft, corrected copy, or voice recording. May perform other clerical duties as assigned.
  • Weighter. Weigh, measure, and check materials, supplies, and equipment for the purpose of keeping relevant records. Duties are primarily clerical by nature.


Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated two students in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has a less than one year program in General Office Occupations and Clerical Services which graduated three students in 2008.


Certified Associate in Project Management: As project management grows in scope, importance and recognition, so do the related career and credential options available to you.

For more information, see the Project Management Institute website.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.