Data Processing Technician Jobs

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue as a data processing technician, including data-entry keyers, clerks, and medical records and health information technicians. Read on to learn more about career options along with key responsibilities and salary information. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Data Processing Technician Do?

Data processing technicians include data-entry keyers, general office clerks, and medical records and health information technicians. These professionals enter data into a computer program to help maintain a variety of records at many institutions, such as banks, schools, law firms, or medical offices.

As a data-entry keyer, you will take data from documents and enter it into databases. You may need to verify data prior to entering it and from time to time look over databases for errors. General office clerks may do the same thing, but they also have the responsibilities of answering phones, setting up appointments and providing information to staff, clients and members of the public. Medical records and health information technicians also have the responsibility of entering data, though they specialize in medical data, which is often more sensitive. They may also be tasked with tracking patient outcomes, coding documents using medical codes and maintaining confidentiality.

View the table below for more information regarding requirements to attain these positions as well as potential salaries and job outlooks.

Data-Entry Keyer General Office Clerk Medical Records and Health Information Technician
Education Required High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent Postsecondary non-degree award
Training Required On-the-job training often provided On-the-job training N/A
Key Skills Enter data into a computer program
Update files
Organize existing information in computer database
Answer telephones
Typing
Bookkeeping
Filing
Office machine operation
Manage and organize health record data
Code and categorize medical information for billing and insurance purposes
Certification N/A N/A Certification preferred
Median Salary (2015) $29,460* $29,580* $37,110*
Job Outlook (2014-2024) -3.7% 3%* 15%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What's a Data Processing Technician?

As a data processing technician, you'll need to update files, enter new data and organize existing information in a computer database or software application. Employers require you to process a high volume of paperwork to meet daily production goals. For this type of job, you'll need to be comfortable with technology and know how to upload, scan and save documents. Most employers like you to have experience with Microsoft Office, including specific tools used in Access and Excel, be able to type at least 25 words-per-minute and be comfortable operating a variety of office equipment.

What Kind of Training Will I Need?

You'll usually receive on-the-job training in a company's particular system, though some formal training or field experience could help you get started. A number of vocational schools and community colleges offer classes that focus on developing administrative skills, including keyboarding and data entry. A course in administrative office procedures or legal document processing, as well as classes that cover the fundamentals of a medical office, can help prepare you for the complexities and terminology used in a business, law or medical office. Typing and keyboarding courses help you improve your accuracy and typing speed.

How Much Could I Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that data-entry keyers earned a mean annual salary of $30,810 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Due to technological improvements in information technology and organization, the BLS projected the need for data-entry keyers was expected to decline 3.7% from 2014-204. General office clerks will see slower-than-average growth at 3% from 2014-2024, and their average salary was $31,890 as of 2015.

The BLS reported that your best opportunities were expected to come from the medical information technology and health fields. According to the BLS, the demand for medical information technicians was expected to increase by 15% from 2014-2024. You'll usually need some additional training in clinical classification and medical coding systems that's often offered at many colleges and universities in certificate and associate degree programs. The average income for medical records and health information technicians as of May 2015 was $40,430 per year, according to BLS data.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related to data processing professionals, tellers are responsible for reporting payment due, receiving payment and verifying balances. Like data-entry keyers, these employees don't need very much formal education, with most having a high school diploma or the equivalent. Closer to medical information technicians, medical transcriptionists take recordings of reports by physicians and nurses and enter them into databases, using medical codes and transcribing software. These professionals may start a career with a certificate or an associate's degree in medical transcription.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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