Data entry is well-suited to those who know their way around computers and have a knack for detail and accuracy. The role of data entry is translating information from various sources - which can later be used for purposes such as marketing or machine learning - into an organization’s database. Data entry workers can be found in a variety of fields, from healthcare to government, making it a relatively easy area to break into.
If this sounds like something you’d like, the first step is to assess your skills and experience and get informed about what to expect from a data entry salary. Do you have experience with computers and databases? Can you type quickly and accurately? Do you pay attention to detail? If you answered yes to all, then a career in data entry may be a good fit.
There are several ways to get started: Many companies hire independent contractors on an as-needed basis, so if you're looking for flexibility and remote work, this might be the perfect side-hustle. On the other hand, it can also turn into a career path, so don’t write it off if you want a full-time job, either.
Data Entry Job Description
In this digital age, data is the most valuable resource. Naturally, data entry fulfills a vital function for digitization, and most data entry jobs have a salary reflecting that. So, what does data entry consist of?
Data entry professionals are in charge of entering information into a computer database, either directly into it or through a documentation platform. This may involve transcribing data from recordings, phone conversations, and paper documentation.
Data entry specialists use a variety of computer programs to enter and store data, and they must be able to ensure the accuracy of the information they input. In some cases, data entry professionals may also be responsible for conducting quality control checks on the data they have entered.
Most data entry jobs are full-time, although some part-time and freelance opportunities may be available. They typically don’t require much formal education, but your data entry pay will depend on your level of knowledge and experience with relevant software.
If you are wondering what’s convenient to have on your resume for data entry jobs, a few things will stand out first: Typing speed and accuracy are pivotal, as is experience with database programs. Good written communication skills are also valuable, as you’ll often have to consult with your coworkers and higher-ups about the parameters for your tasks.
Often virtual assistant positions will work in data entry as part of the broader scope of their job description, so you could use any experience from that field as an advantage for data entry.
The Education Requirements for Data Entry Jobs
Data entry job requirements are not high and often don’t include formal education outside of a high school diploma or GED. However, some basic computer skills, certificates, or courses are helpful and can impact your data entry pay per hour.
Data entry is perfect for workers pursuing a career change or looking for entry-level work in IT or adjacent fields. Since data entry does not require much formal education, it is an excellent way to get your foot in the door of the tech industry.
Those who wish to pursue a career in data entering may consider getting a course certificate or associate's degree program in computer science, information technology, or a related field. These programs can give students the skills and knowledge they need to excel in this field, or progress out of it once they gain enough experience and connections.
For some jobs, data entry experience and knowledge have to be pretty specific, however; for example, you’ll probably need medical coding certification for positions in the healthcare industry. Job seekers should check with the companies they are interested in working for to see if any particular proof of education is required.
Salary Estimates for Data Entry
The median data entry salary per hour is $17.13, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent salary data. This works out to an annual salary of $35,630 for full-time work.
However, actual salaries will vary depending on factors such as experience, skills, location, and the type of company you work for. Data entry workers with more knowledge and specialized skills can earn higher hourly wages, while those who work in lower-paying industries or locations will earn less.
Here is a breakdown of how the data entry salary varies by experience level:
- Entry-level: $10 - $18 per hour
- Mid-level: $11 - $20 per hour
- Senior-level: $12 - $24 per hour
Data entry workers in the 10th percentile of earners make around $11.79 per hour, while those in the 90th percentile earn $22.94 or more per hour.
Salaries by Industry
Data entry salaries also change depending on the industry you work in. Here is a breakdown of salaries by industry per year:
- Healthcare: $30,152
- Local Government: $27,976
- Finance: $33,448
- Tech: $30,861
- Retail: $30,061
Salaries by Location
The location also plays a role in the data entry hourly rate; here is a breakdown of how much data entry jobs pay for the states with the highest employment rates in this industry:
- New York: $19.08 per hour
- California: $19.18 per hour
- Texas: $16.24 per hour
- Florida: $15.94 per hour
- Alaska: $21.03 per hour
Data entry professionals in New York, California, and Alaska earn some of the highest hourly wages in the country, while those in Florida earn some of the lowest.
Different Types of Data Entry Jobs and Salaries
An often referenced data entry job is a word processor or typist. The responsibilities of this data entry worker can vary depending on the industry they work in. Still, their general responsibility would be transcribing reports, letters, or other material from one format to another.
These data entry jobs pay a median hourly wage of $21.17, which is just a bit higher than a regular data entry clerk's salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10% of earners in this field make $29 or more per hour, while the bottom 10% make $14.32 or less.
The state with the highest hourly mean wage for this field is Alaska, with $26.33, followed by the District of Columbia at $23.95.
A medical transcriptionist is also a type of data entry job where the employee listens to recorded dictations from healthcare professionals, ER visits, and charts to transcribe them into a patient’s medical records. These professionals usually work for medical facilities, third-party services, or are self-employed. Unlike other professionals in the field, a certain level of medical knowledge is required to understand and transcribe medical terms and abbreviations.
The average hourly wage for a medical transcriptionist is $14.47, although the top 10% of earners make $23.17 or more per hour; the bottom 10% make $10.97 or less per hour.
Medical transcriptionists with the highest hourly mean wage are in Connecticut at $23.95, Alaska at $21.51, and Minnesota at $21.34.
Data entry is an excellent field for those looking to get started in the workforce or make a career change. The average data entry salary is relatively high, especially for entry-level positions, and the skills required are not overly difficult to learn. With the right experience and toolkit, data entry workers can earn a very comfortable salary. Moreover, data entry has plenty of skills transferable to other positions and industries, too, so it’s a great stepping stone for those looking to move up in their career.
Of course, as with any job, there are downsides. Data entry can be repetitive and boring and doesn’t inspire much creativity. However, data entry is definitely worth considering for those looking for a stable job with good pay or an additional source of income. It’s also among the best flexible jobs for stay-at-home parents, as it can be done remotely and isn’t overly taxing.
So, is data entry a good job? Well, this field will be in demand for a while yet, as long as we’re transitioning to fully digitalized systems. So, if you’re looking for a career with good job security and plenty of opportunities for advancement, data entry is a great choice.