Data Entry Clerk Careers: Salary Information & Job Description

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Get a realistic view of the education requirements, salary information and job description of data entry clerks. Read about the career options and skills that can help you get ahead in this field. Find out if this is the career for you.
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The Pros and Cons of Being a Data Entry Clerk

Data entry clerks enter data into a computer. Workers in this profession are also known as information processing workers, data entry keyers, word processors or typists. Read the pros and cons of being a data entry clerk to decide if this is the career you want.

Pros of Being a Data Entry Clerk
Minimal training required*
Can work from remote locations*
Work in many industries*
Opportunities to advance to higher positions with more training*

Cons of Being a Data Entry Clerk
Low to average salary (around $28,000 median annual salary)*
Opportunities for advancement are limited*
Long hours spent in front of computer, which can lead to eye strain*
Work may become monotonous*

Source: *O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Almost every business today has computers to store their important information and data. In most cases, data entry clerks are the workers who have entered this data into computers. However, data entry clerks often perform many other duties to keep the business running smoothly. These professionals perform administrative and clerical duties such as preparing and proofreading documents and letters, inputting lists and tables, editing existing data, and operating office machines such as scanners, copiers and printers.

They may enter customer information, medical information or billing information, depending on the business. Speed and accuracy, on both the alphabetic or numeric keys, are two of the most important qualities a data entry clerk can possess to be successful on the job. With the use of technology and the Internet, data entry clerks can often do their work away from the office, at home or some other remote location.

Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), data entry keyers earned a median annual wage of around $28,870 as of May 2014. Employment services were the industry that had the highest number of data entry workers, although the highest paying jobs were at aerospace parts manufacturing and electric power generation, distribution and transmission services.

Training Requirements

Data entry programs typically don't have any prerequisites other than high school diplomas or GEDs. Although data entry clerks are often hired with only high school diplomas and trained on the job, some employers may prefer to hire individuals who have completed formal training. Prior to enrollment, applicants may have to show proficiency in math, reading and numeric skills.

Education Requirements

Training programs can be found at vocational schools, technical schools and community programs. Students can usually complete data entry programs in less than a year, possibly even one or two quarters. In addition to gaining familiarity with office equipment, candidates will become knowledgeable in word processing and keyboarding. Course topics may include data entry skills, filing and records management, MS office products, business mathematics, electronic calculators, document processing, computer typing, office etiquette and business English.

Whether you obtain your knowledge through a training program or on the job, there are still some skills you should possess to be successful in the field:

  • Good communication skills
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar skills
  • Good proofreading skills
  • Strong attention to detail

What Employers Are Looking For

Data entry clerks enter data, both text and numbers, into computers. Efficiency and accuracy is vital to any organization. Employers want to know that their data entry clerks are well-trained and knowledgeable of data entry and the office equipment they're using. Below are some examples of job postings open during March 2012.

  • A recruiting agency advertised for a data entry clerk to work in its downtown St. Paul, MN office. Applicants must have strong attention to detail and be familiar with computers and the Windows operating systems. Successful applicants should possess strong data entry skills, have experience with Microsoft office products and be able to do at least 8,000 ksph (key strokes per hour).
  • A staffing office in Colorado is looking for a data entry clerk interested in joining their expanding company. Job duties include tracking customer orders, creating and updating spreadsheets and inputting data into the company database. Applicants should be proficient at MS Word and MS Excel and have at least one year of data entry experience.
  • An Ohio repossession company advertised for a data entry clerk who is skillful in both numeric and alpha data entry. Successful applicants must be able to do 9,000+ kph minimum. This position also entails 10-key accounting, order entries, and use of MS Word, MS Excel and MS Outlook.

How to Maximize Your Skills

Although data entry workers were predicted to see a decline in employment opportunities, there are things you can do to make yourself more marketable in this profession. With the growing use of technology, many workers are entering their own data, which is responsible for the decline. Keeping up with technology and upgrading your skills can help with promotions and advancements. One option is to obtain training through an office technology program that offers areas of specialization such as medical or legal. With training, you may find a position as a medical secretary, legal secretary or administrative assistant.

Other Careers to Consider

If you're interested in working on computers but would like a career that offers a little more variety, and possibly a higher paycheck, you may consider other career options.

Computer Support Specialist

Computer support specialists provide technical support and assistance to businesses utilizing information technology. Acting as technical support specialists or help-desk technicians, these computer professionals help computer users solve problems on their system. According to the BLS, computer support specialists earned a median annual wage of around $47,700 in 2011. The BLS also reported this profession should experience an 18% employment growth from 2010-2020.

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

Medical records and health information technicians assemble patient information and enter it into the company's computer system. They also use classification coding software when submitting patient information for reimbursement purposes. Medical records and health information technicians, according to the BLS, could experience a job growth of 21% from 2010-2020. In 2010, these workers earned a median annual salary of about $33,300.

Popular Schools

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Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment
  • AASBA in Information Processing
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Argosy University

  • Business Administration (DBA)
  • Management (MS)
  • Bachelor - Business Administration
  • Business Administration (AS)

What is your highest level of education completed?

Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Diploma: Bookkeeping and Payroll Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
  • MBA - Strategic Management

What is your highest level of education?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • MS - Organizational Leadership
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

What is your highest level of education?