License clerks are administrative professionals who help governments and regulatory bodies to issue licenses and permits to qualified applicants. They obtain the information and documentation needed to verify the accuracy of applications and render an appropriate decision. With excellent administrative skills and a keen eye for detail, succeeding in this career won’t be a difficult task.
What Do License Clerks Do?
License clerks perform the following duties:
- Issue application forms to applicants
- Help applicants fill out forms and prepare for tests
- Obtain all the documents and information needed from applicants
- Use the information to ascertain whether the applicants are qualified to obtain the licenses
- Conduct tests for specialized licenses, such as vision tests for drivers
- Collect licensing fees
- Enter applicants’ data into computer systems
- Escalate complex issues to senior clerks
- Train and supervise newly qualified licensing clerks
Examples of licenses and permits these clerks issue include:
- Building permits
- Driving license
- Business license
- Environmental permits
- Research permits
- Marriage license
If you want an office-based job, then this is it. Licensing clerks work in a busy office environment from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. When there are a large number of license applications to be reviewed, they usually work late into the evening and over the weekend.
But all office work can make a license clerk dull. So they occasionally work outdoors when conducting some licensing tests.
The following table shows top-paying employers for licensing clerks:
Annual mean wage
Higher learning institutions
Providers of licensing support services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
To become a license clerk in the U.S, you should have at least a high school diploma or GED. Your employer may also need you to take competency tests and criminal background checks.
If you will be issuing specialized licenses, you will need some training in the specific field. For instance, if you will be issuing driving licenses, you will need to be an experienced driver or instructor. If you will be issuing an environmental permit, then an associate’s degree in environmental science can brighten your job prospects.
Important skills and abilities
Apart from the knowledge and experience, license clerks require the following skills and abilities to be well-rounded professionals:
- Strong communication skills to share information with applicants
- Good organizational skills to keep records of applications
- A keen eye for detail to detect errors in applications
- A high level of integrity
- The ability to keep private documents confidential
- Good interpersonal skills
- Good computer and math skills
- A good understanding of your area of specialism, such as construction or transport
Newly-hired license clerks are usually trained extensively by their employers. They are taught what to look out for in applications and how to query the applicants.
To enhance your career progression prospects, you can;
- Pursue an associate degree in a relevant field (if you don’t already have), or accounting or business administration
- Take short-term computer courses
As a prospective license clerk, you can look for employment in the following areas:
- State governments
- Local authorities
- Federal government agencies
- Colleges and universities
After gaining vast experience and earning an advanced credential in business administration, you can become a senior clerk or a supervisor. You can also move into related careers, such as financial clerk or material recording clerk.
Evidently, this is a relatively straight-forward with few entry requirements. To make matters even more interesting, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an 11 percent job growth for license clerks with the next eight years. So there will be a good number of jobs for prospective license clerks.
Given the job requirements and the relatively good job prospects if you have the desired attributes this may be the career for you.