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Check encoder jobs take on a variety of names, including data encoders, technicians, keyers and clerks. These professionals are responsible for collecting, recording and retrieving information by reviewing source documents, verifying the documents' accuracy, preparing reports and managing data storage and retrieval systems. Check encoder jobs exist in hospitals, universities, laboratories, and other institutions that process large amounts of information. Data encoders should feel comfortable working with computers, and in some cases they also handle and package materials for lab testing.
Data entry job responsibilities primarily include data entry, in which they extract written information from company files, forms and applications, and enter it into applications and computer system databases for business use. Many of these professionals deal with word processing and computerized customer files, meaning they much handle large amounts of typing. Check encoder jobs occupy the marketing, accounting, healthcare and human resources industries, and most positions place a heavy emphasis on numerical data entry for accounting, mortgage, banking and loan information. In addition to typing information transcriptions, data encoders are often responsible for scanning in physical documents and sending information to outside groups. These employees spend a large chunk of their work hours seated at a computer.
- The data entry job description may include secondary tasks, as well, which often mirror secretarial duties. Such tasks may require encoders to make copies, answer phones, send emails and distribute mail.
Few data encoder positions require an extensive educational background. In most cases, encoders should hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and prior professional data entry experience is often helpful, as well. The best candidates should possess excellent keyboarding skills, plus data entry qualifications in the following areas:
- Reading comprehension.
- Verbal and written communication.
- Critical thinking.
- Active listening.
- Microsoft Office proficiency.
- Keyboard and 10-key touch skills (speed and accuracy).
- Familiarity with clerical and administrative techniques.
- Business principles.
- Customer service principles.
- Near vision acuity.
- Finger dexterity.
- Spelling, grammar and punctuation skills.
Data entry operators should know how to work with basic office equipment including computers, copiers, calculators and scanners.
Tips for Success
Aspiring data encoders who want to go above and beyond can obtain training, which is available at the high school level and through online tutorials. They may take keyboarding skills or data entry courses through employment agencies, temporary agencies, community colleges or public libraries. Candidates might also consider obtaining a data entry certificate.
Data entry certificate programs usually take one to two semesters to complete, and they are available at many community colleges. These programs teach basic office skills and clerical data entry, preparing students for entry-level positions in the data entry field. Certification is not required, but it may help an applicant stand out against the crowd.
Data entry clerks take home a median salary of $31,000 per year, according to PayScale. This breaks down to $12.69 per hour. Professionals in the lowest 10 percent of the earning scale may make $21,000 annually, while those in the 90th percentile, can earn as much as $51,000 each year.
Brenna Swanston is a freelance writer, editor and journalist. She previously reported for the Sun newspaper in Santa Maria, California, and she holds a bachelor's in journalism from California Polytechnic State University.