Data Entry Training and Career Education Programs

Data entry workers use computers to record, organize, and store data. Most data entry professionals also perform light clerical or secretarial work, including answering phones and preparing business documents, finding employment with banking, insurance, telecommunications, computer technology, and customer service businesses.

Essential Information

In most cases, data entry workers can obtain employment without a formal education. However, a data entry certificate displays proficiency in data entry and receptionist knowledge and may lead to improved career prospects. Data entry workers are typically required to have a high school diploma. Data entry clerks with little or no experience can find entry-level positions that offer on-the-job training. Successful data entry workers are detail-oriented and able to work quickly and accurately. They must be able to perform repetitive tasks without losing focus. Because computer use is a significant aspect of data entry, workers must be comfortable with basic programs, like Microsoft Office. They must be able to use copiers, fax machines, telephones, and other office equipment. Some data entry workers also provide basic customer service, so communication and organizational skills are key.

  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
  • Program Length: One to two semesters

Data Entry Certification

A data entry certificate program is designed to give data entry workers technical training prior to employment. Students learn how to use basic computer programs and efficiently enter and organize various types of data. Most programs require one or two semesters of study and include courses on:

  • Word processing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Office and computer calculations
  • Microcomputer use
  • Clerical organization
  • Workplace communications

Continuing Education

Data entry workers do not need licensure or certification. Some data entry workers pursue voluntary certification in Microsoft Office to demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. Certification is available directly from Microsoft and requires data entry workers to complete at least one certification exam. Each exam covers a specific Microsoft Office program. Certification is available for current and older versions of Microsoft Office.

Data entry workshops may be provided by employers who also offer on-the-job training programs. Employer-offered workshops teach data entry workers how to follow data entry guidelines, reduce clerical errors and successfully record and store data. Data entry workers may be required to complete continuing education workshops as an employer's computer systems evolve with new computer technology or operating systems.

Data entry workers have minimal opportunities for advancement and professional development. Many data entry workers build additional clerical skills and become administrative assistants, secretaries, or receptionists.

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