What Does a Documentation Specialist Do?

Updated on March 7th, 2021

A document control specialist (or simply document specialist) is a professional who works under the administration department. They are responsible for document control procedures, looking after the precious documents of their company, cataloging them, and retrieving them when needed, among other things. Also a document control specialists create templates of project documents.

Document control specialists can have different job titles in various companies or government agencies.  Document control specialist jobs can vary. For instance, in the healthcare sector, where document control specialists are needed the most (apart from the finance and legal industry), they're commonly referred to as "clinical document control specialists."

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The employment rate for this occupation is expected to go up in the following years. While there isn't any data for the job title of document control specialist, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% growth in demand for medical records and health information technicians (a related role) through 2029. While many document control specialists are climbing the career ladder, the ones who are searching a way of taking a step into the career path prefer a job in this sector after getting a bachelor's degree.

Documentation Control Specialist Roles and Responsibilities

As discussed, the roles and responsibilities of document control specialists vary across different sectors.

Document control specialist jobs needs data processing, labor statistics and business administration. Most document control specialists acquire great amount of experience in this area in time.

Despite the surface-level differences, all document control specialists have similar roles such as preparing company's document lifecycle procedures and getting the records management procedures.

To keep things simple, we list down and discuss their typical duties below (if you're a recruiter, you can use the following pointers as a new template or customize them according to your current one).

Coming up With a Long-Term Storage Strategy

A document control specialist's most important responsibility is to develop a long-term document storage strategy for their employer and then execute it, which includes controlled documents.

Also known as a "document management strategy," a storage strategy is a crystal clear plan that outlines where to store a company's documents, how to store them, and rules and policies for retrieving them.

This strategy aims to protect sensitive information, make teams more efficient, and improve accessibility to company documents for authorized personnel.

The documentation specialist takes charge of the storage strategy, which entails:

  • Creating and communicating crystal-clear rules for creating, storing, and retrieving documents.
  • Updating the filing system (or creating one from scratch).
  • Determining who gets access to which documents (along with the steps required to request access).

Of course, there may be more to setting up and maintaining a long-term document storage strategy, depending on the organization. However, you can get its gist from the points mentioned above.

Managing an Archiving System

A considerable part of any document control strategy is figuring out an effective archiving system.

As the name suggests, document control specialists use this system for safely storing their documents and retrieving them whenever needed.

Managing an archiving system involves:

  • Using a secured database for storing the documents (the specialist may have to collaborate with an IT team for this purpose).
  • Correctly categorizing/cataloging the documents for ease of retrieval.
  • Removing documents when they become obsolete to free up space.

In addition, a document control specialist may also be responsible for training their employees on how to store documents (more on this later).

Creating Updating and Managing Documents

Taking care of the documentation process for the company is the primary responsibility of any documentation specialist.

Of course, in and of itself, that entails a lot, including, but not limited to:

  • Drafting various documents for the company and its employees, partners, customers, and any related party.
  • Editing and scanning documents to ensure they are complete, free of grammatical mistakes, and consistent by using document control procedures.
  • Ensuring the integrity of hard copies and maintaining electronic files. Uploading the files into document control database.
  • Providing document control (or working with a document control specialist, if available) to restrict distribution of and access to certain documents.

Additionally, a document control specialist is also responsible for updating certain documents from time to time to ensure their validity.

Training Employees on Document Usage

A document control specialist should know how to create, maintain, store, and manage inactive records.

But what about everyone else?

A specialist can make the documentation strategy, but its success depends on the rest of the company.

Another critical responsibility of any document control specialist is to educate and train other employees on good documentation practices.

For this purpose, they have to:

  • Create and manage a comprehensive training program that educates new and existing employees on how to create, fill out, store, and retrieve company documents.
  • Communicate regulatory requirements with all the employees and clarify who can access which documents (and how).

The document control specialists are more or less responsible for how the entire company uses the storage system.

Looking After Administrative Tasks

In addition to the above, document control specialists are also responsible for carrying out specific administrative tasks.

These additional responsibilities depend entirely on the company one works for.

However, without getting into specifics, some everyday day-to-day tasks include:

  • Scanning documents
  • Stamping paperwork
  • Conducting research and entering data
  • Emailing/Faxing files
  • Retrieve data
  • Issue documents
  • Tracking logs
  • Prepare soft copies
  • Creating new templates
  • Maintaining purchase orders
  • File index
  • File migrations

TIP: If your employer lists something vague in the job description (for instance, something along the lines of "assist the administration team with day-to-day tasks or anything else that might arise"), ask for some clarification.

Career Path

Candidates with a bachelor's, or master's degrees in technical writing, business administration, library science, or a similar field are frequently more appealing to employers seeking to fill document control specialist roles. In addition, successful document control specialists often advance to management roles as document control managers or office managers.

 

What Are the Requirements to Become a Document Control Specialist?

The roadmap to becoming a document control specialist is relatively simple.

Below, we've sketched out all the steps one should take (including all the academic and technical requirements to pursue this career path):

Academic Requirements

Becoming a document control specialist with just a high school diploma or GED is possible.

However, having an associate's degree, bachelor's degree or even master's degree in information technology or any other related field is a massive plus for more job opportunities.

In addition, having a technical writing certification to validate your skills will give you a massive edge over your peers and will wow your employers.Technical Writing Certifications

Required Skills

Like most administrative roles, document control specialists require a balance of technical and soft skills.

As far as the hard skills go, you should be proficient in:

  • Microsoft Office products (especially Word, Excel, and Access)
  • Transcription work
  • File digitization
  • Follow work instructions thoroughly
  • The use of office equipment (printers, scanners, photocopiers, and fax machines)

In addition to the above, a document specialist should also have a knack for the following:

  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Time management
  • Organizational skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Customer service skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Responsibility and professionalism
  • Primary data and analytical abilities
  • Knowledge about quality assurance
  • Able to organize, prioritize and plan work
  • Have a strong sense of time management and urgency
  • Must be detail-oriented and able to work within a defined timeline
  • Must be able to work independently in a team environment and provide training and guidance to personnel of various backgrounds

Furthermore, if you're applying at a company that performs its documentation through physical paperwork, you also need ample physical strength to pick up potentially large stacks of paper.

Required Experience

Required experience entirely depends on the company you're applying for.

Some companies accept fresh candidates with professional resume, while others demand relevant experience in standard operating procedures or technical writing, a high school diploma, a bachelor's degree or familiarity with the role.

For instance, if you're applying for a document control specialist job in the healthcare sector, you may be required to have some relevant clinical experience (such as managing medical records) and experience using a health information management system, as well as having a bachelor's degree in the target field.

How Much Do Document Control Specialists Earn?

Like everything else, document control specialist salaries in the United States tend to vary from location to location. It means the median annual salary changes according to various factors.

This variation results from the cost of living, the difference in demands, and the sectors.

However, looking at the national average will give you a good idea of what to expect or demand from your recruiter.

According to Indeed, document control specialists in the US earn around $41,452 per year. Furthermore, Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, and Houston, TX were reported to be the highest paying cities. All of that is based on 3,000+ salary reports received on the platform.

The figures on Zippia are pretty much the same. According to the platform, the average document specialist salary in the US is $42,000 per year, with New Jersey being the highest paying state.

In addition, Zippia also lists Jacobs Engineering Group as the highest paying employer for this role, handing out a whopping $96K annual package to document control specialists.

Available Certifications

Because document control professionals work in several industries, various institutes provide certificates, including:

Certified Technical Writer

Technical Writer HQ's certification helps you learn how to manage documentation across fields and ensure proper document control.

Certified Billing and Coding Specialist

The CBCS will concentrate mainly on transforming medical documentation and data from jargon and shorthand into billable codes for claims.

Microsoft Office Specialist Master Certification

The MOS certification aids in demonstrating the holder's complete knowledge of the Microsoft Suite.

Certified Medical Office Manager

The CMOM certifies the holder's advanced knowledge of medication administration.

Certified Quality Auditor

The CQA is a professional who knows auditing standards and concepts and auditing procedures such as examining, questioning, assessing, and reporting to identify the adequacy and deficiencies. In addition, the Certified Quality Auditor examines all aspects of a quality system and assesses its compliance with industrial management and quality assessment and control systems requirements.

What Should a Document Control Specialist Resume Include?

When creating your document control specialist resume, you should demonstrate to potential employers that you have the necessary abilities and qualifications for this position. This process requests relevant experience working in document control or administrative settings if you have it. Employers will also want to see proof of your self-motivated work ethic, outstanding organizational and multitasking abilities, accountability, and attention to detail. You can also use resume builder sites for this purpose.

Typical Work Environment

Document control specialists often work in a medical or scientific office environment. Although they may be found anywhere physical documentation may be stored, their work is now primarily digital. As a result, you'll either be seated at a desk for lengthy hours or walking from one office setting to another for meetings or appointments. If given a chance, some may also work remotely. You can also become one of the external business partners.

Typical Working Hours

Typical work hours of a document control specialist are between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, companies may have different working hour policies.

Positioning Trends

According to the business technology firm Gordon Flesch Company, one key trend in the document control industry is robotic process automation. This process entails utilizing software robots to do repetitive office tasks such as document digitization. Another emerging trend in document management is cloud storage. Many agencies and companies are transitioning from physical storage to digital cloud storage to improve document search efficiency and establish a more secure environment for critical documents.

Example Interview Questions

  1. How do you stay up to date on the latest advancements and best practices in document management?
  2. What's the most effective way to monitor regulatory compliance in terms of records and documentation?
  3. What realistic approach have you used to keep documentation up to date?
  4. Have you ever had a suggestion that significantly enhanced the management system? What was the result?
  5. Do you have any documentation processing, reproduction, distribution, or storage expertise?
  6. What aspects would you consider while selecting a new digital document management system?
  7. What is your most effective strategy for assessing and interpreting lawful access to secure content?

Before Applying for a Document Control Specialist Job

We understand the value of choosing the right keywords to describe your experience better than anybody else. It is very critical for attracting the right employers while checking a job alert.

Keywords for ATS (applicant tracking systems) are essential on a resume.

Because the applicant tracking system swiftly reads hundreds of resumes, ATS keywords on a resume are essential. Then it ranks candidates depending on the keywords selected by the company for the open post. Before it reaches the recruiter or hiring manager for consideration, your resume must successfully pass through the ATS. Therefore, optimizing your resume for ATS keywords can enhance the likelihood that a hiring manager will notice your resume and call you for an initial phone screen or interview.

To guarantee your resume's keywords are optimized for ATS, follow these steps:

  1. Carefully read the job description.
  2. Include role-specific keywords.
  3. Include industry-specific keywords.
  4. Put your resume keywords in the right place.
  5. Use proper spelling, numerals, and abbreviations.
  6. Finally, create a resume for the ATS and the recruiter or hiring manager.

Wrapping It Up

Document control specialists have a lot on their shoulders, and they rarely spend a day where they have a small to-do list. If they're not busy working on existing documents, they're working on updating the filing system or training a new employee on document usage.

If you enjoy paperwork and organizing documentation, have good communication and management skills, and want to carve out a career in administration, this is a promising path.

 

 

 

 

 


If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.