Data Entry Training and Career Education Programs

Data entry workers use computers to record, organize and store data. Most data entry professionals also perform light clerical or secretarial work, including answering phones and preparing business documents. Data entry workers can find employment with banking, insurance, telecommunications, computer technology and customer service businesses. The training requirements for data entry workers are minimal.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

Data entry workers are typically required to have a high school diploma. Although many employers do not require a postsecondary education, a data entry certificate can lead to increased career opportunities. Data entry clerks with little or no experience can find entry-level positions that offer on-the-job training.

Successful data entry workers are detail-oriented and able to work quickly and accurately. They must be able to perform repetitive tasks without losing focus. Because computer use is a significant aspect of data entry, workers must be comfortable with basic programs, like Microsoft Office. They must be able to use copiers, fax machines, telephones and other office equipment. Some data entry workers also provide basic customer service, so communication and organizational skills are key.

Formal Education

In most cases, data entry workers can obtain employment without a formal education. However, a data entry certificate displays proficiency in data entry and receptionist knowledge and may lead to improved career prospects.

Certificate Program

A data entry certificate program is designed to give data entry workers technical training prior to employment. Students learn how to use basic computer programs and efficiently enter and organize various types of data. Most programs require one or two semesters of study and include courses on:

  • Basic keyboarding
  • Word processing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Office and computer calculations
  • Microcomputer use
  • Clerical organization
  • Workplace communications

Job Experience

Many data entry opportunities are accessible to entry-level workers with no experience. Advanced data entry careers may require one to three years of experience. Because many data entry workers often learn through on-the-job training programs, experience requirements are generally minimal.

Licenses and Certifications

Data entry workers do not need licensure or certification. Some data entry workers pursue voluntary certification in Microsoft Office to demonstrate proficiency in Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. Certification is available directly from Microsoft and requires data entry workers to complete at least one certification exam. Each exam covers a specific Microsoft Office program. Certification is available for current and older versions of Microsoft Office.

Workshops and Seminars

Data entry workshops may be provided by employers who also offer on-the-job training programs. Employer-offered workshops teach data entry workers how to follow data entry guidelines, reduce clerical errors and successfully record and store data. Data entry workers may be required to complete continuing education workshops as an employer's computer systems evolve with new computer technology or operating systems.

Additional Professional Development

Data entry workers have minimal opportunities for advancement and professional development. Many data entry workers build additional clerical skills and become administrative assistants, secretaries or receptionists. Opportunities for data entry workers are expected to decrease from 2008 to 2018, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Therefore, careers in administrative assisting or secretarial work may offer greater opportunities for professional development.

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