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Entry Level Payroll Jobs

Updated on September 5, 2009

If you are considering looking for payroll jobs you may be surprised to find out how easy it is to get into the payroll job profession with little experience. Payroll jobs are also always going to be available because no matter how automated a companies payroll can become, there is still the need for a payroll clerk or payroll administrator to enter into information that the computer can just not assume.

I was formerly a payroll specialist and found the work in a small business payroll service exciting and very enjoyable. For a numbers cruncher or someone who enjoys entering data information jobs in payroll are an excellent choice for a office job.

Entry level payroll jobs also pay quite well. Depending on the location, company and type of payroll job position, you can start around $12 an hour for jobs in payroll and go up from there. This job is sometimes high stress due to deadlines, but the work is quite rewarding.

For many payroll clerks and payroll administrators, learning how to do payroll is done through informal on the job training. So long as you have strong computer skills and attention to detail, anyone who is comfortable doing data entry can apply for jobs in payroll.

Skills Required for Payroll Jobs

If you are looking for payroll clerk jobs or payroll administrator jobs you will want to make sure that you are up for the challenge. Jobs in payroll are not for everyone. You must be efficient, highly organized, and resourceful and must possess excellent written and verbal communications skills. Payroll jobs many times require the ability to handle high stress fast paced work environments as many times there are deadlines to meet and very little time to meet them in.

Some skills that usually are required

Strong math skills

Data entry

Customer service skills

Attention to detail

Willingness to learn all aspects of payroll processing, payroll systems, payroll accounting and payroll tax.

A strong or moderate knowledge of Excel and other Microsoft Office Applications

For Entry level Payroll Jobs, generally a GED or High School Diploma is required. Some business may also require an Associates Degree in a related field.

Job Duties

  • Receive and review applications for necessary information and accuracy
  • Enters new hire applications
  • Enter in payroll hours and any additional payroll items such as garnishments, 401k, bonuses, etc.
  • Verify that payroll has been entered correctly
  • Package and distribute payroll as required
  • Research and resolve any issues that may arise relating to the payroll
  • Maintain validity and accuracy of payroll system data and ensure payroll transactions are in compliance with Federal, State and local laws.
  • Complete any reports requested in relation to the payroll such as job costing.

Where To Find Entry Level Payroll Jobs

Entry level payroll jobs can be found within companies looking for an assistant to their payroll specialist to assist with payrolls that are done internally. Payroll jobs can also be found in firms and companies that specialize in small, medium, or large business services.

  • Companies such as ADP and Paychex often are hiring for entry level payroll jobs that require little experience.
  • Accounting firms sometimes offer payroll services for their clients.

Payroll jobs can often be found listed on websites such as,, careerbuilder, and more. If you are having trouble finding a job listed, go through your local phone book looking for companies that provide accounting or HR type services for other local compaines.

Payroll Jobs Advancement

If you want to start out entry level, but are looking to advance later on down the road, there are many positions that this entry level position can open up. After you have found an entry level payroll job and have been working at it for a few months you will be familiar with the basics of payroll. To further your knowledge and understanding there is a course and exam called Fundamentals of Payroll. This exam will provide a certificate that shows you have basic understanding of the principals of payroll and will further your career.

After 3 years in payroll you can take the course and exam for a Certified Payroll Professional (CPP).

Once you have proven yourself as a Payroll clerk or administrator you can move upward as a Payroll Specialist.

Either one of these certificates is going to further your career and help you to make more money and obtain better positions working in this industry.


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    • profile image

      Guy N 

      8 years ago

      The author makes it seem easy to get into this field, but it is not true. I have an associates’ degree in accounting and a Fundamental Payroll Certification by the American payroll Association and I have not been able to get into the field at all. I even volunteered to do a part time job at a nonprofit organization and I was turned down. I have a 3.85 grade point average out of 4.0.

    • profile image

      Marcy F 

      8 years ago

      This is very helpful in helping me understand what the details are of a payroll specialist. I am presently going back to school in the general office field and specifically would like to work in the payroll department. This is very thorough. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is very helpful information, this is exactly what I was looking for.

    • NotPC profile image


      8 years ago

      Such a great writer! Very helpful thank you!


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