Schools with Data Processing Programs: How to Choose

Data processing, also known as data entry or information processing, is the act of entering information into a computer. Programs that offer such coursework may be found under titles like information processing, office technology or data entry.

Postsecondary education may not be required for data processing-related positions, but students can enroll in certificate or associate degree programs. Some programs might concentrate on general office administration, others on IT-related topics; business electives can offer students an opportunity to focus their studies.

Schools With Data Processing Programs

This list of colleges and universities identifies some schools offering data processing programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition* (2015-2016)
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-Year, Public Certificate In-state $2,753; Out-of-state $8,875
Central Texas College Killeen, TX 2-Year, Public Certificate In-district $2,280; In-state $2,940; Out-of-state $6,420
El Paso Community College El Paso, TX 2-Year, Public Certificate In-state $2,386; Out-of-state $4,042
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-Year, Public Certificate In-state $2,830; Out-of-state $9,944
Glendale Community College Glendale, CA 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,175; Out-of-state $5,855
Hillsborough Community College Tampa, FL 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $2,506; Out-of-state $9,111
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-district $1,632; In-state $3,360; Out-of-state $3,756
Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN 2-Year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $4,115; Out-of-state $7,992

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are some key points to consider when selecting a data processing program.

  • Programs that offer courses in specific data processing software, such as Microsoft Office, QuickBooks and Visual Basic, could prove professionally advantageous.
  • Those that teach specific or more complex techniques in the field, such as report writing or network administration, could prepare students for advanced data entry positions.
  • Students interested in expanding their skills beyond data processing might choose to enroll in an administrative assistant program, which may offer financial courses in accounting and business math.
  • Some schools may offer students assistance with resume and interview preparation, which may help graduates secure employment.

Certificate in Data Processing

Certificate programs in data entry and information processing can be completed in one year and offer students the practical knowledge necessary to enter the field.

Associate Degree in Data Processing

Associate degree programs in data processing typically can be completed in two years. Students may focus on specific software programs, such as Microsoft Office.

Associate Degree in Administrative Assistance

An associate degree program in administrative assistance may offer students the opportunity to specialize in office administration or medical assistance administration.

Many institutions offer certificate and associate's degree programs that can equip students to enter the data processing field. Students may want to look for programs that offer training in specialized technical skills or that offer broader administrative assistant programs.

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