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What Does a Data Entry Specialist Do and How Much Do They Make?

What Does a Data Entry Specialist Do
Written by Joanna Hughes

In a world poised between paper and digital information, data entry specialists play a vital role.  If you’re technologically savvy, detail-oriented, and comfortable working with massive amounts of information, a career as a data entry specialist may be right for you. Here’s what you need to know about this important job.

The 411 on data entry specialists

Also known as data entry keyers, these professionals translate a variety of paper documents from a number of disparate sources into digital form. These may include anything from reports to bills to canceled checks. After electronically entering information for storage, data entry specialists review the work for verification purposes, ensuring that it’s both accurate and accessible.

While data entry specialists typically use computers to input information, they also use other specialized equipment, such as scanners and photo composing perforators, depending on the nature of the hard copy and the storage system in use.

Unfortunately, the competition for jobs for data entry specialists may become steep in the years ahead. as we increasingly move toward a paper-less society, the need for data entry specialists is expected to decline. the Bureau of Labor Statistics groups data entry specialists under the heading of “general office clerks,” with a projected job outlook of just six percent growth between 2012 and 2022.

The average salary for a general office clerk is $27,470 per year, although top earners bring home significantly more. The most lucrative fields for data entry specialists include government and healthcare positions. In addition to a regular salary, many data entry jobs also come with desirable benefits.

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The benefits of being a data entry specialist

Data entry specialists work in a wide range of settings — from education to business. Generally, these environments are considered to be comfortable, pleasant places to work.  Additionally, the rise of telecommuting opens new doors for data entry specialists for whom remote work is now a possibility.

One of the biggest upsides of working in this field is that educational requirements are minimal. Entry-level data entry jobs are available to candidates with high school diplomas or GED, although employers strongly favor candidates with typing skills. Other sought after data entry specialist skills include the ability to work with computers and applications, such as word and spreadsheets. Many community colleges offer coursework focuses on strengthening this skill set.

Additionally, because data entry specialists deal in information, the ability to see and read information is essential. Speed is also handy, as well as the ability to effectively manage your time due to the large amounts of information which may cross your desk.

Another advantage of taking a job as a data entry specialist? because these professionals fall under the umbrella of office clerks, there is potential for growth into other areas — ranging from medical transcriptionist to administrative assistant. not only that, but you’ll be a more viable candidate if and when you do try to transition to another field thanks to the skills you acquired on the job.

As we continue to make the transition from paper to digital data, data entry specialists are a necessary part of the process. if you’re looking for a job with minimal educational requirements along with the opportunity to use — and grow — your professional skill set, a career in data entry may be a fulfilling fit. 

About the author

Joanna Hughes

Joanna Hughes is a freelance writer who specializes in business, human resources and the job market. She lives with her family in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire.