Data entry keyers work for employment services, data processing businesses, accounting firms, schools and government. Reading source documents, they enter data using a keyboard or similar input device. In most cases, the minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma, but you can earn a postsecondary certificate in data entry, including classes in microcomputer applications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paid data entry workers earn more than $40,000 per year.
Data entry is a large occupation with many workers. The BLS 2012 annual salary survey counted 207,280 data entry clerks nationwide with an average hourly pay of $14.05, or full-time wages of $29,220 per year. The lowest-earning 10 percent of workers received $19,330 per year or less. The median income was $28,010 annually, and the top 10 percent received $41,610 per year or greater.
The top-paying industry for data entry workers in 2012 was natural gas distribution, with average wages of $42,220 annually, according to the BLS. However, this industry reported only 40 positions. The second-highest paying industry was facilities support services, with 170 jobs and average pay of $37,230 per year. The aerospace industry reported 60 jobs and average annual salaries of $37,200, while electric power reported 90 jobs at an average of $36,740 per year. The only employer in the highest-paying group with more than 1,000 jobs was the U.S. Postal Service, which paid 1,680 data entry keyers an average annual salary of $36,720.
D.C. and State Pay
The District of Columbia reported average wages of $37,520 per year for data entry keyers in 2012, higher than any state, according to the BLS. Alaska had the second-highest pay of $36,740 annually, followed by Connecticut at $34,500 and Rhode Island at $34,200. In fifth place, Colorado paid an average of $33,260 annually full time. California had 22,500 jobs for data entry, the largest number of any state, and paid keyers an average of $31,880 per year.
The highest-paying metropolitan area in the 2012 BLS survey was Fairbanks, Alaska, which reported average annual pay of $40,950, but only for 60 data entry keyers. However, the greater San Francisco area had 1,260 jobs and the second-highest pay of $40,720 annually. In third place, Barnstable Town, Massachusetts, had average pay of $39,590 per year for 30 jobs. The metro area with the most jobs was the greater New York City region, with 9,370 data entry keyers earning an average of $32,770 per year.
Data entry keyers will experience a moderate 7 percent decline in jobs between 2010 and 2020, predicts the BLS. The bureau expects 15,900 positions to disappear by the end of the decade. Advances in technology, including electronic data entry, will contribute to this decline.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages: Data Entry Keyers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail: Office Administrative and Support Positions
- Mt. San Antonio College: Data Entry Certrificates
- O-Net Online: Data Entry Keyers
- NCBI Resources: Replacing Paper Data Collection Forms with Electronic Data Entry
- Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images