How to Become a Data Entry Clerk


Are you interested in a career that allows you to primarily work with a computer, rather than having a lot of face time with the general public? Do you enjoy performing relatively repetitive tasks, and having clear and consistent methods for your work? If so, working as a data entry clerk may be a good option for you! Here are some quick highlights of working in this field:


• Very little formal education is needed to work in this field

• Opportunity to work in relative peace and quiet

• Plenty of room for advancement


If you want to know more about the ins and outs of this career, then read on; we’ll fill you in on the details, including an overview of what these office clerks do, how much they can earn, and what you’ll need to break into this field!



Education Needed to Become a Data Entry Clerk

To work as a data entry clerk, you will likely just need to have, or be working towards, a high school diploma (or equivalent).


Even though they may not be required by your employer, taking courses in using computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, may be particularly helpful to get a job as a data entry clerk.


Please Note: If you are looking for a job in a specialized field, such as medical data entry, some employers may require that you have a diploma or certificate in that area.


Success Tip: While having a diploma or degree in a field such as business administration may not be required to get a job as a data entry clerk, it can help you advance your career and qualify for promotions. 





General Job Description

The main responsibility you would have as a data entry clerk is to input statistical, financial and other information into computerized databases, spreadsheets or other software applications. To do this, you would use a variety of methods such as typing, scanning, speech recognition software or other data entry tools.



Typical Duties of the Job

Even though your specific duties could vary from job to job, you could expect to perform the duties listed below:


• Receive and register invoices, records, statements and other documents

• Input data into spreadsheets, databases or other computer software applications

• Maintain and update electronic storage files and libraries

• Verify data for completeness and accuracy

• Import and export data between different kinds of software



Skills Needed to Be Successful

Employers will state in job postings that you require the following skills to be hired on with them as a data entry clerk:


• Proficient in the use of word processing and spreadsheet software

• Able to type at a quick rate, while making very few mistakes

• The ability to follow instructions

• The ability to pay close attention to details

• Able to work with numbers, and comfortable with basic arithmetic

• Able to multitask, while prioritizing work

• Excellent organizational skills



Experience Needed

Working as a data entry clerk is generally considered an entry-level position. Employers generally don't require that you have any relevant experience in order to be hired, provided that you have the basic skills required to do the job (for example, you are proficient with spreadsheet and word processing software). 





Traits of Successful Data Entry Clerks

In order to enjoy your work as a data entry clerk, you need to have certain personal traits, as well as interests, including:


• An interest in performing work that involves little contact with others

• An interest in performing repetitive tasks

• Enjoy having clear rules and methods guiding your work

• Enjoy using computers and various office software and computer applications

• Willingness to accept responsibility for the accuracy of data entered



Who Employs Them?

Data entry clerks can be employed on a part-time or full-time basis by organizations in almost any conceivable sector of industry. They can be hired either as in-house employees, or as contractors.


The following is an overview of the types of employers in this field:


• Temp agencies (as an employee of the temp agency, contracted to an organization)

• Self-employment (often as a ‘virtual’ employee)

• Business services contracting firms

• Small, medium or large organizations (as an in-house employee)


Success Tip: If you’re having trouble finding a data entry clerk job, sign up with a temp agency. They can get you in the door with an employer quickly (provided you meet their basic qualifications), and if the employer likes working with you, they may hire you on for a permanent role!



Average Salary Level

The salary or wage you would earn as a data entry clerk can vary, due to the following factors:


• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• Your specific level of responsibility

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work


Data Entry Clerk Salary Alberta: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Data Entry Clerks occupational group earn an average salary of $49,110 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing/updating this guide (June 10, 2019).


Data Entry Clerk Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the General Office Clerks occupational group is $28,670 per year.



Work Environment

Setting: Your work would take place in an office setting, or possibly from home. You would likely not be required to travel, for work aside from your daily commute.


Hours: You would most likely work normal, weekday business hours. Your schedule could vary to include evenings and weekends, depending on whether or not you need to complete time-sensitive tasks and projects. 


Conditions: As a data entry clerk, you'd spend a good part of your day working independently in front of a computer. You may spend some time during the day attending meetings with co-workers and management. Your work would involve sitting and looking at a computer screen for long periods of time.



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has data entry clerk postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Career Advancement Possibilities

Data entry is a career field that offers a lot of room for advancement. If you display competence and motivation in your work, you could move into roles of greater responsibility, and subsequently, you could earn a higher salary of wage.


Displaying competence, skill and motivation in each role you advance to, could result in being promoted to supervisory or management positions.



Similar Occupational Profiles

Listed below are occupational profiles in our database that are similar in nature to this one:


• Accounting Clerk

Administrative Assistant

Bank Teller

• Bookkeeper

Customer Service Representative




Please consult the following resources to learn more about the various aspects of this profession.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Data Entry Clerks.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 9, 2019.

Office and Administrative Support:General Office Support.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 9, 2019.

Explore Careers: Data Entry Clerks.” (July 5, 2018). WorkBC website. Retrieved November 9, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Data Entry Clerk

The 'Applicable Majors' section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a data entry clerk. You can find scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Accounting Scholarships and Business Administration Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful for becoming a data entry clerk. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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