|Program Levels||Courses and certificate programs|
|Field(s) of Study||Data entry|
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Online Availability||Online courses available|
|Program Length||2-3 semesters for certificate programs|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)|| 2% growth (for information clerks)
3% growth (for general office clerks)
|Mian Annual Salary (2015)||$28,430 ( for receptionists and information clerks)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Data entry courses and certificate programs are available to prepare students for careers that require accurate entry of data, such as those in administrative assisting and word processing. These courses are offered as general and also career-specific courses. Those seeking a comprehensive education can pursue a certificate geared toward data entry clerks and others seeking office careers. These courses and programs prepare students to accurately enter data, such as survey results or demographics, which can then be used to develop marketing, advertising, and sales plans. Individual courses in microcomputer, document processing, and legal and medical office procedures are also available. Some schools offer online options for courses.
Document Processing Courses
Through document processing data entry classes, students develop typing skills and learn how to type at least 25 words per minute. Command keys necessary for entering data, basic keyboarding skills, reading through documents for accuracy, and managing one's work area is all covered. Students also practice formatting business documents and reproduce pre-made documents to check for accuracy, organization, and speed.
The microcomputer data entry course provides students with familiarity in using basic computer functions and practical application of those functions. Through the course, students practice using Windows programs, including Word and Excel, which are often used by most offices where people will be performing data entry procedures. These courses encourage individuals to start using proper computer technology and correct terms are presented and used regularly.
Legal and Medical Office Procedures Courses
The legal and medical office procedures course covers basic principles of operating and managing a general office, although some programs focus on legal or medical offices, depending on the specific degree program. Through these courses, students learn specific terms and medical or legal terminology as it's necessary. Management skills necessary for running an office are included in the course, and students develop ways to demonstrate competencies.
Medical Billing and Coding Courses
The fundamental concept of medical data entry is that all treatments must be submitted to insurance companies, government agencies, and other entities in a unified coding format. This type of code is incredibly complex, and many doctors and nurses lack the time to learn how to successfully convert their own reports; however, insurance payouts and federal money depend on this data being entered. Data entry courses in medical coding and billing provide information about these codes and teach students how to convert the medical staff's notes into this code.
Data Entry Certificate Programs
Data entry certificate programs take two or three semesters and are available at most community colleges. Students can use the skills learned in these programs to compile data, verify its accuracy, and organize it. The first classes students take usually focus on keyboarding basics, computer use, and document processing. Later courses may cover office applications, such as those used for databases, document creation, information processing, and spreadsheets. Students might also learn about business mathematics and accounting. Some common course topics might include:
- Professional development
- Office database applications
- Information processing software
- Information processing applications
Career Options, Job Outlook, and Salary
Those who complete courses or certificate programs in data entry may pursue careers as a file clerk, data entry keyer, typist, or administrative assistant.
From 2014-2024, the BLS states that the employment for information clerks is expected to grow 2%. General office clerks are expected to see a growth of 3%, which is slower than average. Receptionists and information clerks make a mean annual wage of $28,430 as of May 2015, according to the BLS.
There are options for taking individual courses or completing a certificate program in order to gain data entry skills.