What Does a Data Entry Clerk Do? (Plus Salary and Training)
Updated July 5, 2023
Data entry clerks have an important role in the data analysis and interpretation of organizations. They often collect data that analysts and other data employees can use to learn about patterns within a company's operations, marketing and other processes. Understanding what these employees do can help you decide if this career is right for you.
In this article, we discuss what data entry clerks do, including tools, software, quality control and accuracy, view a sample job description, average salary and job outlook and go over education and training, featuring a typical work environment.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate’s experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
What does a data entry clerk do?
A data entry clerk is an administrative employee who handles routine clerical tasks relating to entering or updating data in a computer system. A data entry clerk's main responsibilities are to ensure that the organization's database is accurate, up-to-date and organized. Data entry clerks may also assist accounts receivable with duties like processing invoices for payout and reviewing and processing order returns. Some additional responsibilities may include:
Collecting data and inputting information into databases
Reviewing records for accuracy
Updating databases with new or revised information as necessary
Performing regular backups of information to ensure data preservation
Retrieving records and electronic files from the database
Sorting and organizing paper records or notes after data entry
Preparing digital materials or files for printing
Providing team members with requested data or information
Performing comparative analyses of different data sources for administrative purposes
Tools and software for data entry
The most common tools data entry clerks use for their jobs are spreadsheet and word processing programs. The more recognizable of these are programs in the Microsoft Office Suite such as Word and Excel. Learning these tools can help you become a more effective data entry clerk since these programs are similar to many others you're likely to use for data entry roles. Some organizations may have proprietary software that the clerk may learn.
Quality control and accuracy
Data entry clerks require high-level quality control and accuracy to ensure all data remains valid and correct. Since they work with important data for organizations, they may test data to ensure it meets the standards of the organization. This means they provide accurate data to the organizations, which the organization then uses to make decisions.
Data entry clerk job description
Below is an example job description for data entry clerks:
The Wellness Company is searching for a reliable data entry clerk to join the team to help with data entry and other administrative tasks. Responsibilities include transferring data from physical documents to an online database system by typing and scanning, recording data from customers directly into the online system, creating accurate spreadsheets, updating existing data, verifying data by comparing source documents and retrieving data or electronic files as requested.
The Wellness Company requires candidates to have a high school diploma or GED. The ideal candidate is detail-oriented, analytical and efficient. Additional consideration is given to candidates with excellent typing skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office products, especially Word and Excel.
Data entry clerk salary and job outlook
Salaries for data entry clerks are often determined by the candidate's level of education, experience, relevant certifications and skill set and the position's specific job responsibilities. Geographic location can also impact potential earnings. The national average salary for data entry clerks is $38,546 per year. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it expects information clerks, which included data entry clerks, to show little to no change from 2021 to 2031. This is lower than the average for all occupations in the U.S. Even so, jobs are likely to continue opening for reasons such as retirement and career changes.
Education and training
The required training and education to become a data entry clerk depends on the industry and the responsibilities of the position. The standard requirements include:
The educational requirements for data entry clerks vary based on the position and its responsibilities. A high school diploma is typically sufficient for entry-level positions. If you want to advance to an administrative position with more responsibility, you may want to pursue an associate's or Bachelor's Degree in Business or a related field. Courses in computer applications like spreadsheet software and word processing can be helpful for those seeking to improve their skills.
Data entry clerks can get their training while on the job, although much of the job requires a basic-level understanding of technical skills and software. In most industries, the training covers office and clerical procedures, use of computer applications, use of office equipment, best processes for organization and database usage and other technical requirements.
Most data entry clerk positions don't require specific certification. Employees seeking to gain skills before employment might enroll in a certificate program at a technical school or community college. These certificate programs, which can serve as educational training programs in replacement of full degree programs, teach students how to use basic computer programs and how to efficiently enter different types of data into various types of databases.
Many data entry clerk certificate programs also cover one or more of the following topics:
Data entry clerks have a mix of skills to be successful. The relevant and important skills they develop include:
Attention to detail
Entering large amounts of data into spreadsheets or online databases and reviewing data for accuracy requires precision. For this reason, successful data entry clerks are detail-oriented to ensure accuracy and minimize time spent checking data against source documents.
Read more: Attention to Detail: Definition and Examples
Many data entry clerks work in fast-paced environments that require them to be flexible and efficient while maintaining accuracy. Duties may require data entry clerks to pause work on data entry to retrieve a file or report.
Data entry is a core task for these clerks, so being comfortable with using computers and typing quickly is necessary for the job. Additionally, data entry clerks work with various computer systems and online databases, requiring a basic knowledge of computers and the ability to quickly learn new systems.
Data entry clerks retrieve and update database files and other digital documents quickly and efficiently. Their duties may also require them to sort and organize physical documents they're digitizing or entering into the online system. The ability to create and maintain easy-to-use filing and organization systems enable these employees to succeed in the workplace.
These clerks often communicate with individuals within the organization, such as management or operations personnel. These tasks may require the data entry clerk to adapt their communication style to obtain the information they need.
Typical work environment
Data entry clerks typically work in two environments. The first is from an office setting, with other employees of an organization. The second is to work from home. With both of these locations, data entry clerks may sit for long periods and use the computer to accomplish their tasks. Many data entry clerks work as contractors, freelancers or part-time employees, though some full-time roles are also available.
If you work as a data entry clerk contractor or freelancer, you have the benefit of choosing your own hours and only working when you want. If you work as a full- or part-time data entry clerk you may receive benefits from the organization with which you work but have less control over your hours. Another benefit of working as a data entry clerk is the potential for career growth since this role can evolve into other data roles within an organization.
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