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Document Control Specialist Career Guide

What is a document control specialist?

A document control specialist is the gatekeeper for a company’s vital information, ensuring that each digital or physical document is secure, accessible, and properly recorded. The consistent flow of accurate and up-to-date recorded information is vital for business operations, and without these professionals, organizations may face difficulties maintaining data integrity.

This role is valuable as the experts in this field provide seamless management and operation continuity by safeguarding a company’s valuable information. They aid in maintaining an organized system where consistent data processing can thrive. These specialists are integral and trusted within the business, contributing directly to its sustained operational effectiveness.

Duties and responsibilities

Document control specialists are responsible for maintaining all organized files within the company. This includes the upkeep of document storage mediums, either ensuring a physical place for filing or an efficient electronic classification system. They keep track of all documents and draw regular status reports of document changes and modifications.

They implement document management and control processes to enhance the organization’s ability to manage its documents most effectively. The workflow of releasing, distributing, and storing documents falls within their responsibilities. Ensuring data protection and confidentiality, controlling the retrieval of documents, and conducting document audits are also crucial parts of their job.

Work environment

A document control specialist’s work environment is typically an office setting. They work with various departments within the company, requiring them to adapt to different working styles and environments. As they manage vital information from different sectors, they must maintain good relationships with various department heads, making strong collaborative skills crucial.

Due to the nature of the work, they may spend a lot of time working on a computer. The utilization of specific document control software is common in this role. Since they deal with the influx and outflow of critical documents, their work environment may sometimes be fast-paced, especially in businesses where document control is closely tied to compliance, project timelines, or legal issues.

Typical work hours

Generally, the typical work hours for document control specialists align with the typical office day, i.e., 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. However, the exact hours may vary depending on the industry and the organization.

In certain critical projects or peak seasons, extended hours or weekend work may be required to meet project deadlines or maintain document accuracy. Flexibility is always beneficial for those seeking this role.

How to become a document control specialist

This career guide section outlines the steps to becoming a document control specialist, including education, on-the-job experience, and developing skills to manage and safeguard critical documents.

Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma

Your journey begins with acquiring a high school diploma. This formal education is the basic essential that instills foundational skills such as good command over language, understanding of basic IT tools, and organized workflow management.

Step 2: Pursue further education

Although not always required, having a bachelor’s degree can make you more competitive in this field. Degrees in business administration, information systems, or a related field can provide the necessary groundwork. This further education will give you a deeper understanding of business processes and equip you with the analytical and problem-solving abilities required to manage documents.

Step 3: Gain relevant experience

When stepping into the corporate world, aim for positions that allow you to work with documents, databases, and information management systems. Experience in administrative roles, database management, or similar positions will offer you the hands-on expertise needed to deal with the real-life challenges in document control.

Step 4: Master the necessary technical skills

Technical competencies are important in this digital age. Familiarize yourself with several document management software programs. Also, improve your proficiency in commonly used office software like MS Office. Some companies might also require knowledge of other control tools or proprietary software.

Step 5: Pursue professional certification

Although optional, a professional certification can enhance your portfolio and job prospects. Certifications like Certified Document Controller (CDC) or similar attest to your dedication and expertise in this profession, making you a more attractive candidate.

Step 6: Apply for jobs

With the right education, relevant experience, technical knowledge, and professional certification, you can apply for a document control specialist role. Tailor your resume to highlight your competencies and experience in document management and control to stand out in the job market.

How much do document control specialists make?

Compensation for document control specialists varies by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Extensive knowledge of document management systems and processes and proficiency in using related software tools may positively impact their earnings.

Highest paying industries

  • Oil, Gas, and Mining Support Services – $80,820
  • Natural Gas Distribution – $78,220
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises – $73,840
  • Scientific Research and Development Services – $72,005
  • Computer Systems Design – $69,130

Highest paying states

  • Washington – $81,900
  • New Jersey – $79,500
  • Colorado – $78,750
  • California – $76,980
  • Virginia – $75,500

Browse document control specialist salary data by market

Types of document control specialists

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for document control specialists. This section provides comprehensive insights into the various responsibilities, career directions, and specializations of this dynamic role.

Document control supervisor

Often performing a supervisory role, these professionals oversee document control teams and implement various procedures to manage documents efficiently. They are usually responsible for training staff members, ensuring timely project documentation, and maintaining control over the quality of document flow within the organization.

QA document controller

These specialists work closely with the quality assurance (QA) team to ensure that all documents adhere to the organization’s quality standards. Their work often entails managing document revisions, validating the accuracy of document information, and identifying areas for improvement in document quality.

Technical document controller

Catering to the technical side of document control, these specialists manage technical documents, including manuals, schematics, and drawings. They usually have a strong understanding of technical language and standards, allowing them to work effectively with engineers and other technical personnel.

Project document controller

Their main role is managing and controlling specific project documentation. This includes creating and maintaining project documentation plans, assuring document safety and security, and facilitating effective communication between project teams.

EDMS specialist

They are responsible for managing documents electronically using an electronic document management system (EDMS). Their tasks include setting up EDMS, training staff to use it, and troubleshooting any document-related issues within the system.

Top skills for document control specialists

This section outlines the primary skills and traits needed for career success as a document control specialist. The following descriptions provide insights into the abilities anyone aspiring to this role should focus on developing.

Attention to detail

In an environment where minor discrepancies can lead to significant problems, the ability to spot minor details and inconsistencies is crucial. An eye for detail can save a company time, resources, and even potential legal issues.

Organizational skills

With a large volume of documents coming in and going out daily, it is essential to have superior organizational abilities. This involves sorting, categorizing, and managing documents in a way that is efficient and easily accessible to others in the company.


Regular interaction with various departments and individuals necessitates solid communication skills. In this role, you must effectively articulate instructions, changes, or discrepancies concerning important documents, ensuring a smooth flow of information.

Proficiency in document control software

Due to digital advancements, proficiency in document control software has become a fundamental requirement. Knowledge of software such as Microsoft SharePoint, Adobe Acrobat, and other document management systems is crucial in performing tasks efficiently and accurately.

Understanding of regulations and standards

The various industries linked to document control each have their own set of regulations and standards. They must be familiar with these policies to guarantee that all documents comply with the appropriate guidelines.

Document control specialist career path

As a document control specialist, your future career path can branch out in multiple directions based on your interests and skills. One common path is upward within the document management realm to roles of increasing responsibility and leadership. This generally commences with gaining experience in your initial position, demonstrating consistently high performance, and showcasing skills in organization, attention to detail, and leadership.

A possible progression could begin with a promotion to a senior specialist position, which generally comes with increased responsibility. It might involve managing more complex projects or overseeing other document control specialists. You’re likely to gain extensive experience in compliance, quality control, and possibly even project management.

After getting some senior-level experience, you could pursue a managerial role. This may be as a document control department manager or even a quality assurance manager. These managerial roles would place you in a position of overseeing a team or even an entire department, requiring strong leadership and people skills.

Another alternative path could lead you to work as a consultant, offering your expertise to companies, especially in industries heavily regulated with strict guidelines for documentation, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, or construction. This could also include advising organizations on document management strategies and systems, a role that leverages your vast experience gained in the field.

The digital era has greatly impacted how these professionals manage information, with paper documents being rapidly replaced by digital equivalents. Document control specialists are at the forefront of implementing new technologies and management software. As such, trends in this profession are significantly shaped by advances in digital technology.

In recent years, a growing emphasis on data security and privacy has also steered the evolution of this role. With cyber threats on the rise, their responsibility to protect sensitive information has increased. In their work, these individuals are tasked with securing data from unauthorized access, validating document authenticity, and ensuring the traceability of changes made to critical business documents.

Another emerging trend influencing these specialists is the acceleration of remote working practices. These professionals are increasingly using cloud-based solutions to facilitate document access and control from anywhere in the world. Remote access to documents has become crucial in maintaining business continuity, making it a high priority in document management. It has been established, therefore, that the ability to adapt and respond to technological changes is key to thriving in this role.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while there is no specific forecast for the role of a document control specialist, it is closely related to the roles of information clerks and record-keeping clerks. Both these categories are projected to have little to no change in employment through 2031. However, it is important to note that trends concerning digital transformation, data security, and remote work practices may result in a higher demand for professionals skilled in document control in the coming years.

Document control specialist career tips

Understand and apply industry standards

One of the main areas you must excel in is understanding and applying industry standards relevant to documentation. Different industries, such as manufacturing, construction, and healthcare, have their own set of regulations for how documents should be managed and maintained. Always make it a point to stay updated with industry-specific protocols and methodologies. Read the latest updates, articles, and blogs, and participate in related webinars and training courses whenever possible.

Be detail-oriented and organized

Given the critical nature of the job, meticulous attention to detail is required. Mistakes or inaccuracies in document management can lead to serious consequences, including compliance issues. Being organized and diligent in managing and archiving documents is also essential in this role. Use digital tools and software to keep track of different versions of the documents and their archival status.

Build a professional network

Networking can greatly assist you in your career by giving you access to resources and advice from seasoned professionals in the industry. It’s especially beneficial to join professional associations and online forums where you can exchange ideas, learn the latest trends, or even find mentors in your field.

  • Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM)
  • International Standard Organization (ISO)
  • The National Association for Information Destruction (NAID)

Recommend continuous learning and professional development

In a field like document control, where standards and technology continue to evolve, you should aim to keep continuously learning. This will help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technological advancements.

  • Pursue certifications related to data management and quality control, such as ISO 900 Quality Management certification
  • Stay updated with the advancements in document management software and database systems
  • Participate in webinars, industry conferences, or workshops on document and record management

Showcase excellent communication skills

Document control is not solely about managing documents. It also involves a substantial amount of interaction with team members, managers, and other key stakeholders. You have to communicate clearly, effectively, and professionally. Remember, your role is often the link between departments, ensuring everyone has access to accurate and necessary documentation. Improve and showcase your excellent communication skills for smoother operations and efficient workflow.

Where the document control specialist jobs are

Top employers

  • Becton, Dickinson
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific
  • CBRE
  • Jacobs Engineering

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • Google Jobs
  • Monster
  • SimplyHired


What is the essential educational background for a document control specialist?

Most document control specialist roles require a high school diploma at a minimum. However, certain employers or industries may prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as library science, information management, or business administration. On-the-job training is typically provided to understand the proprietary systems used by the organization.

What competencies does a document control specialist need?

Employers typically look for document control specialists who are highly organized and detail-oriented, as these traits are crucial to the role, which involves storing, managing, and tracking company documents. Core competencies include excellent database management skills, confidentiality, problem-solving abilities, and strong communication skills. Additionally, skills in using document management software could be vital depending on the organization’s setup.

What is the day-to-day work schedule of a document control specialist?

Document control specialists typically work during regular business hours, Monday to Friday. Depending on the industry, some positions may require overtime during busy periods or project deadlines. Some roles offer flexibility, like remote working.

What is the usual work environment of a document control specialist?

Document control specialists often work in an office setting, using computers and other electronic devices to manage document flow within a company. They might be employed across various industries, including engineering, construction, manufacturing, or in any sector where paperwork must be tracked and managed.

What are the responsibilities specific to a document control specialist?

As a document control specialist, you’ll maintain and manage all incoming or outbound documents within the company. You will also control the issuing of documents to employees and manage the procedures on how to handle them. Other responsibilities may include conducting audits, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards, and providing training or guidance to staff on document control procedures.

Which certifications can boost a document control specialist’s career prospects?

Earning a certification can significantly boost a document control specialist’s career prospects. For example, the Certified Document Controller Training Course, offered by Consepsys, is widely recognized in the industry. Additionally, certifications in particular software programs utilized in document control, such as Microsoft SharePoint, can also increase employability.

Does a document control specialist work individually or as part of a team?

It can depend on the size and nature of the company. In a smaller company, a document control specialist might be a one-person department responsible for all document control. In larger firms, they may work as part of a document control team or department. Regardless of the setup, collaboration and interaction with various other internal teams and departments is a significant part of the job.

How much computer literacy is required for document control specialists?

Since document control involves storing, retrieving, and tracking documents electronically, a high degree of computer literacy is a must. Prospective candidates should be competent in using popular office productivity tools like Microsoft Office Suite and familiar with database management and document control software.

Are there opportunities for professional development and advancement as a document control specialist?

Yes, with experience and additional certifications, document control specialists can move into supervisory or management roles. Experienced specialists may even move into strategic roles or become document control consultants in large firms.

What challenges are typically faced by a document control specialist?

A document control specialist often faces challenges such as maintaining the accuracy and integrity of documents, adapting to new technologies and software, training employees on document control procedures, and ensuring compliance with regulations and standards. Also, managing a large documentation flow during busy periods or project deadlines can be quite challenging.