Career Development

What Does a Town Clerk Do?

Find out what a town clerk does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a town clerk.

Town clerks are responsible for a wide range of administrative duties related to local government. They commonly maintain records on land ownership, property values, and other real estate matters. They may also be responsible for overseeing elections and maintaining voter registration lists.

Town clerks often work closely with other local officials to ensure that the town is running smoothly. This might include working with police chiefs or mayors to address public safety concerns, liaising with city planners to develop new infrastructure projects, etc.

Town Clerk Job Duties

Town clerks typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Monitoring the town’s budget and tax revenues to ensure that they are meeting financial goals
  • Maintaining official records such as birth and death certificates, marriage licenses, and building permits
  • Establishing programs intended to educate residents about local ordinances and laws
  • Conducting elections for public offices such as city council members or mayors
  • Supervising other administrative staff such as clerks, secretaries, or registrars
  • Coordinating emergency preparedness activities such as developing evacuation plans or updating emergency kits
  • Supervising town departments such as the police department or public works department
  • Coordinating public events such as parades, festivals, and concerts
  • Recording minutes of meetings and maintaining official meeting documents such as agendas, resolutions, and minutes of previous meetings

Town Clerk Salary & Outlook

Town clerks’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the municipality and the geographic location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,500 ($18.99/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $63,500 ($30.53/hour)

The employment of town clerks is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Population growth will require more town clerks to administer elections and maintain records. However, the use of technology may offset some of this employment growth. For example, electronic poll books can reduce the time needed to check in voters at polling places.

Related: Town Clerk Interview Questions and Answers

Town Clerk Job Requirements

The town clerk position typically requires the following:

Education: Most town clerks have at least a bachelor’s degree in public administration, political science or another closely related field. Some town clerks may have a high school diploma or GED certificate along with experience in local government.

Training & Experience: Many town clerks start as clerks or assistants before advancing to the role of town clerk. Some states require candidates for the role of town clerk to have at least two years of experience in a similar position.

Certifications & Licenses: Town clerks do not require any certifications to obtain their position. However, certifications can demonstrate a town clerk’s knowledge in various aspects of the position and help secure an ideal position.

Town Clerk Skills

Town clerks need the following skills in order to be successful:

Organization: Town clerks often have excellent organizational skills, which allow them to keep track of the many records and documents that their office maintains. Town clerks often have many responsibilities, including managing elections, keeping track of land records and managing the town’s budget. Having strong organizational skills can help town clerks manage their workload and ensure that they complete all of their duties.

Attention to detail: Town clerks are responsible for maintaining records and ensuring that all documents are accurate and up to date. Attention to detail allows town clerks to perform their duties efficiently and effectively. It also ensures that the town’s records are accurate and up to date.

Communication: Town clerks often communicate with a variety of people, including other town employees, members of the public and elected officials. They must be able to communicate clearly and concisely in order to provide accurate information and answer questions. Town clerks also communicate with other town departments to relay information and request records.

Computer skills: Town clerks may use computers to enter data, create documents and perform other tasks. Having computer skills can help town clerks complete their duties efficiently. Town clerks may also use computer programs to create and update town records.

Customer service: Customer service skills can help town clerks interact with the public and provide information to citizens. Town clerks often work with the public in person and over the phone, so they need to be friendly and knowledgeable. They may also help citizens fill out paperwork, so they need to be able to explain complex processes in an easy-to-understand way.

Town Clerk Work Environment

The town clerk is responsible for the administration of all town records. The work is performed in an office setting during regular business hours. The town clerk may be required to work evenings and weekends to attend town meetings or to perform other duties as required. The job is generally low-stress, and the town clerk has a great deal of control over his or her work schedule. There is little or no travel required for this position.

Town Clerk Trends

Here are three trends influencing how town clerks work. Town clerks will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Focus on Digital Services

As technology advances, Town Clerks are increasingly being asked to provide digital services to their citizens. This includes providing online access to records and documents, as well as offering customer service through social media channels.

Town Clerks who are able to provide these services will be more successful in the future, as they will be able to better serve the needs of their citizens. Additionally, Town Clerks who are able to utilize technology effectively will be more attractive to employers.

More Collaboration With Other Government Agencies

Town Clerks are increasingly collaborating with other government agencies in order to provide better services to their citizens.

This trend is driven by the need for efficiency in government operations. By working together, Town Clerks can share resources and reduce duplication of effort. In addition, this trend allows Town Clerks to develop new partnerships that can lead to new opportunities for growth.

The Importance of Data Security

Data security has become a major concern for businesses across all industries. As such, Town Clerks have an important role to play in ensuring that data is kept safe and secure.

In order to do this, Town Clerks should be familiar with the latest data security technologies and how to implement them within their municipality. They should also be aware of the potential risks associated with data breaches and how to prevent them from happening.

How to Become a Town Clerk

A career as a town clerk can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider all the aspects of this job before you make your decision. First, think about what type of town you want to work in. Do you want to live in a small town or a big city? What is the population of the town? Is it growing or declining? What are the demographics of the town?

Next, think about the duties of the town clerk. What tasks will you be responsible for completing on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis? Will you need to write letters, send emails, and make phone calls? Will you have to attend meetings and keep minutes? Will you need to manage records and files?

Finally, think about the hours that you would be required to work. Would you need to work nights and weekends? Would you need to travel to other towns for meetings and trainings?

Advancement Prospects

The town clerk is an elected position, so the best way to advance is to run for office in a larger town. The town clerk is responsible for maintaining vital records, issuing licenses, and performing other administrative duties as required by the town. He or she also may be responsible for preparing the town’s budget, and for collecting and disbursing town funds. The town clerk is the chief election officer in the town, and is responsible for voter registration and for conducting elections. In some towns, the town clerk is also the tax collector.

Town Clerk Job Description Example

The Town Clerk is responsible for the management of all town records, the issuance of various licenses, and the conduct of all elections held in the town. The Town Clerk is also responsible for the management of the town’s website and social media accounts. The ideal candidate for this position will be a highly organized and detail-oriented individual with excellent customer service skills. He or she must also be proficient in the use of computers and various software programs.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the custodian of all town records, ensuring their accuracy, completeness, and safekeeping
  • Maintain vital records such as births, marriages, and deaths, as well as land and property records
  • Process passport applications and issue dog licenses
  • Collect various taxes and fees due to the town
  • Serve as the chief election officer, responsible for voter registration and administering elections
  • Prepare agendas and minutes for town meetings, as well as maintain other meeting records
  • Issue various permits and licenses required by the town
  • Provide notary public services
  • Respond to requests for public information in accordance with state law
  • Manage the town’s document imaging system
  • Supervise office staff and provide training as needed
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • At least 3 years of experience in an administrative role
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office, with aptitude to learn new software and systems
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to work independently and with a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Associate’s degree or higher
  • Experience working in a government or public-sector organization
  • Notary public certification
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish)


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