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How do I Become a City Clerk?

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  • Written By: Jill Gonzalez
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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If you want to become a city clerk in the United States, you will probably need to have earned an associate's degree. Most employers, however, want applicants who have a bachelor's degree in political science, English, or a business discipline. Larger cities may prefer to hire candidates who have an advanced degree, such as a master's or Ph.D. In addition, you might also plan to take some career development courses or seminars that are related to working in a local government environment.

When looking for someone to fill this type of position, many employers seek candidates who have specialized training that would help to prepare them for the work that is involved in managing a city government. There are a variety of different ways you can go about obtaining this training. Some employers specifically look for applicants who have certifications that are relevant to these jobs. Doing this may help prepare you to become a city clerk in many different cities throughout the country.

In many cases, employers want to hire people who have at least four or five years of experience working in municipal government. You will probably also need to have a great deal of administrative experience. There could be positions that would require you to supervise the work of others, so if you have held any type of management position in the past, this might put you at an advantage over other applicants.

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You may need to become a notary public in this job. To get a job as a city clerk, you should be able to prove that you have a stable work history, by providing two or three professional references. It is essential for people who hold these positions to conduct themselves in an ethical manner at all times. People who have criminal histories, or other questionable past activities, will likely not pass the thorough background check necessary to become a city clerk.

These positions may require candidates to serve as liaisons between city government offices and the public. In order to become a city clerk, you should feel comfortable with the idea of making public statements to members of the local press. You could also be asked, either occasionally or on a regular basis, to write or determine the information that is released to the public on a variety of matters. Therefore, if you have some communications training or work experience, it may be beneficial to you throughout your career.

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Izzy78
Post 4

@JimmyT - You live in a small town and I live in a large city. The duties and requirements of your city clerk definitely surprise me.

In the city I live in the city clerk is usually someone that has a graduate degree in some type of legal field, and the person that maintains the records in the court house is an entirely separate person that also has a graduate degree, but it is in archival work.

It is definitely interesting to see the differences in this job, depending where one lives, and this means the requirements for the jobs are going to vary.

I say if someone has a background in history and archival work and they live in a

small town, they may have a chance at becoming a city clerk, but this will only take them so far in a large city as the requirements will be a lot more specified.

I would be interested in someone posting the requirements for the job in a small town and a nearby large city so we can see how different the requirements actually are.

JimmyT
Post 3

@matthewc23 - You are absolutely correct. The duties of the city clerk vary depending on where one is and because of this the job description will demand different sets of skills depending where one lives.

I live in a small town and the local city clerk is the maintainer of city records and will occasionally notarize legal documents, like restraining orders or other types of court orders.

However, for the most part their job requires them to basically be an archivist, so it would benefit the community to have a person that has a past in the field of history or has had experience doing research in archives or maintaining records.

I am a history major and this is something that I have thought about doing later in life, if a future town I move to requires these duties.

matthewc23
Post 2

@jcraig - Well you are right in some respects. There are a lot of city clerks that do the duties that you described, but there are also a variety of other duties that a city clerk may have.

The duties of the city clerk actually vary throughout the country and there are literally hundreds of different duties that a city clerk may do and they all vary depending where one lives.

I am guaranteeing that in a small community the city clerk has far more of a variety of duties than in a big city simply because they lack the people and the resources in order to hire people to do the fairly specific components of the job that the city

clerk handles.

I am betting that in a big city, like Chicago, the city clerk has less duties, but has a lot more work to do with those few duties, simply due to the amount of people and paper work that would be incurred with working in the municipal government of a large city.

jcraig
Post 1

I some what know what a city clerk does, but I am not totally sure of what their specific duties are.

I have always thought that the city clerk is a type of book keeper in the community, that would maintain records and make sure that certain legal papers are dispensed to the appropriate people, but is that all the city clerk does or are there other types of duties that a city clerk has?

It seems to me based upon my knowledge that the city clerk of a community is more like the town legal historian, or archivist as far as the record keeping goes and that they would assist people like the state's attorney in finding records that need to be obtained in the courthouse.

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