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Data Entry Specialist: Employment Info & Requirements

Explore the job duties of a data entry specialist. Learn what training and education are necessary, and get info about the employment outlook and salary potential to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a Data Entry Specialist

A data entry specialist is a type of information processing worker who inputs data into computers and may also begin processing or organizing it. Large corporations, small business, specialized firms, non-profits and government agencies all employ data entry specialists. Common duties of data entry specialists include keying in text and figures, doing basic data manipulation, operating various office machines and other duties as assigned. Some data entry specialists may be able to find off-site positions that allow them to work from home.

Education High school diploma or GED
Job Skills Meticulous, detail-oriented, fast typist
Median Salary (2015)* $29,460 (for data entry keyers)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 4% decline (for data entry keyers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

The minimum educational requirement for a career in data entry is a high school diploma or GED. Coursework in keyboarding or typing will be greatly beneficial for a career as a data entry specialist; a certification as a typist will improve your prospects in this field. Knowledge of basic office applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets and databases, is also helpful for a career in data entry.

Required Skills

Data entry specialists need to have a strong attention to detail. They should be able to type quickly and accurately. An ability to focus and complete repetitive tasks for an extended period of time will also be helpful for a career as a data entry specialist.

Career and Economic Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for data entry keyers will decline by 4% from 2014 to 2024, the need to replace workers in the field should continue to provide openings. The median annual income for data entry keyers was $29,460 as of May 2015.

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Alternative Careers

Career options in related fields include:

General Office Clerk

For those wanting to perform more office tasks than just imputing data, becoming a general office clerk may be a job to consider. Office clerks enter data into the computer and type up documents, but they also organize files, answer the phone, greet office visitors, process received mail items, make copies and assist with other administrative duties. Obtaining a high school diploma or similar education is how most qualify for a clerical position, but taking basic computer and business courses at a postsecondary school may also be beneficial. According to the BLS, this occupation will grow at a slower-than-average rate of 3% between 2014 and 2024. The median annual income for general office clerks is $29,580, based on BLS figures from May 2015.

Administrative Assistant

If more complex administrative responsibilities are desired, becoming an administrative assistant is another career possibility. Beyond answering the phone and dealing with correspondence, administrative assistants order and organize supplies, create reports and spreadsheets, manage information storage, complete bookkeeping tasks and offer other types of office support to management. To enter this profession, computer skills and a high school diploma are necessary. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have taken business and English courses at a college or technical school. The BLS predicts a 3% increase in job opportunities for administrative assistants and secretaries from 2014 to 2024. Administrative assistants and secretaries not working in medical, legal or executive positions can expect to earn a median salary of $33,910, as estimated by the BLS in 2015.

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