How to Become a Data Entry Clerk

Do you prefer to work in an office environment, particularly with computers? Are you interested in keeping things neat and organized for enterprises?

If yes, a data entry operator position suits you perfectly. This job may appear tedious, but it requires high precision and great attention to detail.

The sort of data recorded in the computer systems varies depending on the sorts of enterprises, but every company needs a worker to handle this meticulous job.

This article is a guide on how to become a data entry clerk, which clues you in on four key steps to get the job and its solid requirements. Stay until the end!

What Does A Data Entry Clerk Do?

A data record operator works on the administrative side and tackles routine clerical assignments to update and record data in computer systems.

These workers are primarily responsible for ensuring that the business’s database is fresh, up-to-date, and 100% accurate.

They may also help accounts receivable with processing and reviewing order returns and dealing with payout invoices.

a data entry clerk
Is it hard to become a data entry clerk?

Some additional duties may include:

  • Prepare files or digital materials for printing
  • Organize and sort out notes or paper records after entering information
  • Retrieve electronic files and records from the system’s database
  • Perform periodic backups of data to ensure information preservation
  • Update databases with revised or new information if necessary
  • Review and examine records for exactness
  • Input data into database and collect information

How To Become a Data Entry Clerk

Ask any professional about the journey to becoming an information entry clerk, and they’ll mention the below generally required steps.

1. Get Certified

The first step in this path is to earn a diploma or degree in relevant fields, including accounting, finance, business, or computers.

While taking one of those courses, you can buy time by improving necessary skills, like accurate and speedy typing, through games exercising the skill, or self-practice. 

Indeed, this occupation doesn’t require high formal education, just your GED or high school diploma.

Thus, it’s advisable to acquire an information entry certificate, but not mandatory. Many community colleges include programs that last for 1-2 semesters.

These programs will teach you fundamental office skills, making you more competitive and cultured in this field.

You can also find loads of free online learning materials and courses that help you prepare for earning a certificate.

To succeed in getting your certificate, here are what you need to do:

  • Understand and know how to use various computer software efficiently
  • Communicate properly
  • Evaluate, maintain, and design different kinds of records

Besides, it’s necessary to build good teamwork skills since sometimes you’ll have to work with a team to solve significant problems.

2. Prepare Relevant Skills

typing skill
It’s important to develop relevant hard and soft skills.

A good information entry operator should be adept at typing and organizing. Besides, they need to be cultured in punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

Everything would be more challenging without intense attention to detail as you can’t identify and rectify small mistakes.

It’s possible to build those foundational skills through independent data recording courses, yet some companies prefer candidates with professional training.

Generally, community colleges will include this training in certificate programs, which teach common info recording skills and last about 24-43 credit hours.

The focused skills are often related to computer software, like Excel and Microsoft Word, keyboarding, and oral and written communication.

Students will learn to run and maintain information management systems, work productively in the office workplace, and get used to typical office procedures.

There is also special medical entry training for medical information recording operators.

For a quick rundown, we’ll list the most important skills you’ll need to improve to work as an information entry operator below:

  • Excellent consistency and precision of output
  • Discretion
  • Ability to accomplish repetitive tasks precisely
  • Ability to stick to complex instructions
  • Sensitivity to detail
  • Great computer literacy
  • Excellent typing skills

3. Gain Experience

Experience in ow with: finance, research, technology, performance, innovation, strategy, marketing, achievement.
Accumulating experience is a crucial step to becoming excellent.

It’s a good idea to take classes, learn the necessary skills to work as a data record operator, and look for chances to gain on-the-job experience at the same time.

You can get formal training through job shadowing or entry-level positions. This training often lasts one month, giving you the foundational understanding of this career.

Many recruiters prefer candidates with prior experience in organizing and managing data or a relevant field that taught them practical skills.

Some jobs you can consider for background experience are information clerk, receptionist, typist, and word processor.

These occupations have similar duties that involve working with information, typing, and computers.

Some companies also require or prefer those with experience in office management or customer service.

Ensure to go for entry-level jobs that offer you opportunities to practice and train your expertise. Besides, we suggest doing some information recording at home, too – it’s fun!

The more experienced you are, the better position and salary you can obtain. Never stop learning, practicing, and acquiring more experience.

We’d like to recommend some methods to supplement your knowledge and skill base below:

  • Ask your local community centers, libraries, and colleges about workshops that can help your kickstart your career
  • Watch Youtube tutorials about various software to get used to and gradually master them before getting a job
  • Excel in basic office software, such as Open Office, Project, Access, Excel, Powerpoint, and Microsoft Word

4. Advance In Your Career

multiple steps
Start from entry-level positions, then aim at senior-level ones.

After accumulating enough experience to step on the next ladder with an entry-level position, you can advance your career path in several ways.

Typically, it will take a newbie two years to transfer to a higher level. Of course, you don’t need to have prior experience in an advanced position you’re about to approach.

But it’s essential to supplement your education with special certifications or a higher-grade degree, like a master’s, in a relevant field to step up your employment path.

Once you’ve accomplished that, you have the right to ask for a job promotion. Or you can find a new company that offers a better position with more responsibilities, working hours, and, of course, money.

Remember to review the job requirements to check if you apply to that job or have the necessary skills and certifications.

Some positions even require the worker to be able to type a particular quantity of words a minute, while others may ask candidates to show advanced computer skills.

What should you do to promote your career? Keep these pointers in mind:

  • Study word processing. Ensure you get the hang of office programs’ intensive workings, including Excel and Word.
  • Master your company’s filing system
  • Understanding how to manage money will help you handle billing, as sometimes it can be your task.

Here are some other occupations you can go for with the background experience of a data entry clerk:

  • Library assistant
  • Pharmacy Aide
  • Receptionist
  • Legal secretary
  • Medical records

It’s advisable to take advanced computer courses to increase the chance of getting employed. Opt for courses focusing on database management and word pressing.

If you know that your dream position requires education in accounting or bookkeeping, register for courses in these areas.

Job Requirements

The required education and training to become an information recording operator depends on the responsibilities of your dream position.

female student
Complete your education before getting a job.

The content below will refer to the industry’s typical requirements.


Typically, you can apply for an entry-level job related to data with a high school diploma. But the requirements may vary depending on the responsibilities.

If you desire to step up your career and reach a higher administrative position, you may need to earn a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in relevant fields like business.

Courses focusing on computer applications, such as word processing and spreadsheet software, will be valuable for those wishing to promote their skills.


Most clerks get training when handling an actual job. The training will last about one month.

Typically, this training covers the best processes for database usage and organization, how to use office equipment and computer applications, clerical and office procedures, and technical requirements.


There’s barely a specific requirement for certifications regarding this job.

Those looking to strengthen skills before work may register for certificate programs at a community college or technical school.

These programs are, in essence, educational training courses – alternatives to full-degree ones.

They teach learners how to enter various sorts of information into different sorts of databases efficiently and run basic computer systems.

Most certificate programs also include one of the topics below:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Workplace communication
  • Clerical organization
  • Computer calculations
  • Word processing


A cultured data entry operator should have a complete skill set to master the job. Let’s walk through the most critical and relevant skills these workers should develop.

Focus On Detail

Typing thousands of words and numbers a day, entering them into online databases or spreadsheets, and reviewing them for precision require great attention to detail.

Thus, accomplished workers need to focus on even the smallest detail to guarantee exactness and save time examining and comparing data with source documents.


You may have a chance to work in constantly changing, rapid-paced environments requiring you to be efficient and flexible while ensuring accuracy.

For instance, the manager can ask you to pause your work to look for a report or file.

Computer Literacy

Remember that your core work will be entering and managing data. Thus, you need to excel in typing accurately and quickly to remain efficient.

Plus, the profession will ask you to work with multiple online databases and computer systems. It’s vital to be always ready to study new systems and have a general understanding of computers.


The primary duties of these employees are to update and retrieve digital documents and database files accurately and quickly.

When you have outstanding organization skills, you can organize and sort out physical documents you’re digitizing and processing efficiently.


You’ll expect to often communicate with other colleagues in the company, such as operations or management personnel.

Notably, if you’re in a client-facing position, you need to know how to communicate with clients wisely to collect and update the best information.


Let’s look at some commonly encountered questions possibly popping up during your career-building journey.

How Will A Work Day Of A Data Entry Clerk Like?

Most information entry operators are full-time workers (sometimes they work overtime) in an office environment.

While typical shifts for these employees are the same as usual business hours, those working for hospitality or transportation organizations may have to be on duty on holidays, weekends, and evenings.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Data Entry Clerk?

The standard training will take one month with an entry-level position and 3-6 months for an advanced certificate. Meanwhile, an associate will take about two years.

In Which Industry Can Data Entry Clerks Work?

  • Health and medical: You can work for hospitals, clinics, diagnostic labs, and medical centers.
  • Administrative: Apart from the core work, you may perform typical receptionist duties like answering the telephone.
  • Finance and Accounting: Financial institutions need data entry clerks to deal with accounts payable, payroll,  corporate finances, auditing, and tax preparation.

What Is The Average Salary of Data Entry Clerks?

An average data entry operator can earn an hourly wage of $12-$27, with higher salary rates for workers with stand-out skills and more years of experience. So, the income is $19.44 an hour on average.

Is the Data Entry Clerk Job Outlook Good?

This field is expected to see a 3% growth over the next decade, which is slightly slower than other tech-based sectors.

Though you may face difficulties finding a suitable position at the first stage, there will be more opportunities once you get certified.


The riveting part of being a data entry clerk is that you will continuously add new data to your database since there are forever updated sources of information.

If you’re keen on this occupation and intend to research how to become a data entry clerk, note the qualifications, skills, and four remarkable steps mentioned above.

We hope you will successfully advance to the next ladder of your career!