Data Entry Specialist Job Description

Becoming a data entry specialist may not exactly be the dream job you've always hoped for, but there are some very good reasons why you may want to consider this position while you are looking for that dream job, going to school or simply supplementing your family's income.

Here's why: data entry specialists work in pleasant surroundings, either in an office setting or at home. There's opportunity out there, and jobs are always opening up. You don't need any degrees to get started. Once you're in the field, you can get specialized training in a more technical occupation. You can be trained while earning a salary. And the pay's not bad.

If that sounds appealing to you, here are the details on what you need to know when looking to get hired as a data entry specialist:

You need to impress potential employers with your tech savvy.

The more you can indicate technical skills on your resume, the more likely you will be snapped up by a company. Data entry specialists enter information into a computer and are expected to operate different types of office machinery.

You may be hired as a word processor, data entry keyer, keypunch technician or transcriber.

Your employer will want you to prepare documents such as reports, letters or spreadsheets. Or you may fill out computerized forms with customers' personal information, medical records or membership lists. Either way, you can expect your work to be detail-oriented, and you'll likely be seated at a desk and using a keyboard during much of your work day.

You're likely to pull in decent pay.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), median annual wages in May 2008 for word processors and typists nationwide were $31,390. For data entry keyers, median wages were $26,120.

You can expect to work a standard workday.

Many companies that need data entry specialists work regular business hours. But thanks to technology, many specialists (including mothers of young kids) are able to work remotely from home at hours that better suit their schedules.

You don't need much more than a high school diploma.

If you've got a high school diploma, that means you know basic math skills as well as how to spell and punctuate a sentence properly. It helps if you have prior office experience, because keyboarding skills and an understanding of the principles of database management software are required. Beyond that, you can brush up on data-entry skills at community colleges, business schools or temporary help agencies. Of course, you can always teach yourself with books, tapes and Internet tutorials.

You will not be working in a growth industry.

Unfortunately, employment for data entry specialists is expected to decline moderately, by 3 percent to 9 percent, between now and 2018. "Improved technologies and greater social acceptance of workers performing their own data entry and information processing work will lessen the need for these workers, except for highly detailed or sophisticated work," the BLS says. On a more positive note, though, high turnover should help you find work. The need to replace data entry specialists who transfer to other occupations will lead to many job openings every year.

You can find more job prospects in related fields.

Even though the occupation is in decline, experienced data entry specialists can transfer their skills to other areas. For example, you might want to consider becoming a computer operator, a police or fire dispatcher, a medical transcriber or an administrative assistant.

Next: High Entry-Level Salaries >>

Read Full Story