A document control coordinator ensures that organizational documents are prepared, maintained, distributed, updated, and stored according to the organization’s document management standards.
A document control coordinator is usually responsible for the documents related to a project or a department within an organization.
Hundreds and even thousands of documents are generated in organizations every day. Without proper document control and management procedures, organizations may
- Lose or find it hard to track important documents.
- Use inaccurate or obsolete documents.
- Fail to perform regular document updates.
- Update documents without proper review and approval.
- Share documents with unauthorized persons or organizations.
What is Document Control?
Document control refers to the profession and practice of ensuring that approved document management standards are followed for document creation, review, modification, issuance, distribution, and accessibility.
Document control is a key component of organizational risk management.
Document control procedures ensure that the information contained in organizational documents is accurate and up-to-date, is updated regularly and that the proper process for documents updates is followed.
Document control procedures also ensure that inaccurate or obsolete documents are removed.
Why is Document Control Required?
Simply put, organizations cannot function properly without standards-based document control. Without document control, the only thing that would exist is chaos.
The purpose of document control is to ensure that documentation is trusted by users. Document control is required to ensure that organizational documents are
- Created after going through the proper review and approvals process.
- Distributed to authorized personnel only.
- Accurate and up-to-date.
Document control also creates auditable records of document creation, modification, and exchange.
What Does a Document Control Coordinator Do?
Even though there will be some similarities, each industry has its own document control requirements. For example, the document control requirements of the healthcare industry will be very different from those of the chemicals industry.
Over time, the respective industries have developed their own documentation standards that have been worked on, reviewed, and approved by highly experienced professionals from those industries.
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed a set of quality standards that companies voluntarily adhere to. Many companies prefer to be ISO certified as it demonstrates that the company follows established standards and best practices, and helps companies to stand out from the competition. ISO emphasizes quality management, document control standards, customer and regulatory requirements for any company.
Document control requirements also vary from country to country.
As a document control coordinator, you have to learn about the document standards that are specific to the industry that you work in or want to work in. You then have to ensure compliance with those standards as you work on a day-to-day basis.
Why Does an Organization Need a Document Control Coordinator?
Just as there are specialized employees in all departments such as accounting, finance, engineering, HR, logistics, and administration, specialized document control coordinators are required for ensuring that organizational documents comply with industrial and organizational document control standards and procedures.
It’s a full-time job that requires skills, time, and effort. As a document control coordinator, you will be in charge of document control for a project or a department. You will work as a member of a document control department that is managed by a document control manager.
Duties and Responsibilities
As a document control coordinator, you will need to
- Manage internal and external documents.
- Check the compliance and quality of documents.
- Ensure that document management processes meet legal and regulatory requirements.
- Distribute documents to relevant personnel.
- File documents in physical and digital records
- Retrieve documents as requested by employees and clients
- Liaise with clients and contractors.
- Maintain confidentiality around sensitive information.
- Prepare reports on the progress of documents.
- Train and assist team members in document control procedures and tools.
The skills you will need as a document control coordinator will vary from industry to industry and from organization to organization. You can consider the following list as a helpful guide.
- Good verbal and written communication skills.
- Knowledge of document management procedures and standards.
- Ability to follow procedures and processes.
- Familiarity with project management.
- Familiarity with computer-based productivity tools such as MS Word and MS Excel.
- Familiarity with Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS).
- Typing and editing skills.
The average document control coordinator salary will vary based on a number of factors such as
- Specialized knowledge and experience with document control tools.
The salaries of document control coordinators in the US range from $45,320 to $129,700, with a median salary of $85,240.
Does a document control coordinator need a Bachelor’s degree?
The debate about the importance of Bachelor’s degrees is a long one and is not likely to end anytime soon. Bachelor’s degrees cover a wide range of topics related to the discipline. They impart an extensive body of knowledge to the participant. Bachelor’s degrees are also expensive and require up to four years to complete.
You need a Bachelor’s degree if you intend to go into R&D (after doing a Master’s and even a Doctorate afterward), or if a job or career that you are interested in requires the degree. The fact is that a lot of what is learned during a Bachelor’s degree is never applied in real life. However, there is no denying that a degree lends a certain amount of credibility, and that is why degrees are valued in the marketplace.
In the real world what really matters are skills. If you want to work as a document control coordinator, instead of spending a lot of time and money on getting a degree, you can get a bit of “focused education”. In other words, a certification will go a long way towards giving you a strong background in the field, and will also equip you with knowledge about the different aspects of the discipline that you need to learn. The rest you will learn through on-the-job experience.
What is the difference between a document control coordinator and a document control manager?
A document control coordinator is responsible for a project or department. A document control manager is responsible for the whole organization and manages a team of document control professionals. A document control coordinator carries out the actual tasks related to document management. A document control manager manages a team, implements systems such as procedures, software and tools, and has overall responsibility for the organization.
What is the career path for a document control coordinator?
Once you gain experience working as a document control coordinator, you can take advanced courses and complete additional certifications to broaden your knowledge and develop new competencies. You can learn about the art and science of management and take on the role of a senior document control coordinator or a team leader. In time and with further experience, you can take on the role of a document control manager.
One of the major benefits of working in organizations is that you learn how organizations work. You learn
- How to work as a member of a team.
- Management skills.
- Project management skills.
- Networking skills.
- Budgeting and costing.
- Computer-based productivity, project management, and document control tools.
- How other departments like HR, finance, logistics, IT, and others work.
- Organizational processes and procedures.
- And so much more.
With all this knowledge and understanding, and your experience as a document control coordinator, you can also choose to pursue other career paths, such as project management and cost control.
Is document control software the same as document control?
Document control software is a tool used for document control. On the other hand, document control is a discipline, a set of practices and standards that are required to maintain the accuracy, relevance, and trustworthiness of documents.
Do you have to know document control software to work as a document control coordinator?
As a beginner in the field, you don’t need to have experience with document control software to get a job as a document control coordinator. However, for positions that require more experience, such as senior document control coordinator, it is beneficial and may be necessary to have experience with relevant software tools.
Do you need to know all document control standards to work as a document control coordinator?
It is impossible for anyone to have complete knowledge of all the different document control standards that exist. And neither is it required.
Each industry or business has its own regulatory requirements such as legal and tax-related requirements, and business-related requirements such as how to develop new products and how to increase sales. The document control standards of an industry or business reflect these requirements.
When you work in an industry or business, over the course of time you will learn the relevant standards, procedures, and best practices related to document control. When you move to another industry, you will have to learn new standards.
However, the mindset of following standards and best practices will help you wherever you go. This mindset will allow you to work effectively even if a certain procedure is not known or does not exist. This mindset will even allow you to create new procedures and standards because you know the purpose and importance of document control.
If you are new to document control and are looking to learn more, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of managing technical documentation.