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What (and How) Do Data Entry Jobs Pay?

Data entry is a legit way to work at home, but it won't make you rich.

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Data Entry

Data Entry

Getty/Tim Flach

Data entry salary information varies based on a lot of different factors, such as location (home- or office-based jobs), employee or contractor status, pay rate structures, and difficulty/skill level required.

But, the fact is that data entry jobs--whether from home or an office--generally pay modest wages, so any organization that promises big salaries for data entry jobs is more than likely a data entry scam.

Work-at-Home vs. Office Data Entry Job Salaries

Like many work-at-home positions, data entry jobs from home are likely to pay less than data entry from an office. This is not simply because home-based workers are willing to earn less in order to work at home. It is because data entry from home is almost always done by independent contractors, who are not subject to minimum wage laws. These jobs may be in competition with other global jobs from home or microlabor positions, which may in turn lower pay rates.

Data Entry Pay Structures

Data entry pays using a variety of rate structures, such as:

  • Hourly wage
  • Per-piece
  • Keystrokes per hour or keystrokes per minute
  • Per-word

Employment positions in the United States that pay in structure other than a hourly wage must pay the minimum wage of the state in which the work is performed. However, these other types of pay structures may allow experienced data entry operators to earn more. Additionally, the way data entry work is sent to home-based workers can affect its pay. Workers who log on to a crowdsourcing or microlabor site, may not be able to obtain enough pieces of work in an hour to make a good wage.

Skill Required

Some data entry work make require other skills, such as verifying data or editing. These jobs typically pay more. If they are paid on a per-piece basis, the rate will be higher but they will take more time to perform, so the overall pay could be less for someone not as skilled. Also, transcription jobs may be advertised as data entry. Since this takes more skill and accuracy, these jobs will pay more than simply data entry keying jobs.

Data Entry Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, data entry keyers (not transcriptionists or typists) are paid an average of nearly $14 per hour. However, this is for employment jobs in brick-and-mortar offices--not data entry from home.

Pay for data entry from home can range as little as $1 per hour up to the average rate for an office-based data entry operator. Of course, no jobs will advertise $1 per hour work, but the complicated per-piece pay structures can work out to be that little.

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