Jobs in Word Processing: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements and potential opportunities in word processing. Get the facts about the job duties, education requirements, professional licensure and employment outlook to determine if this is the right field for you. Schools offering Microsoft Office degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Word Processing Worker?

Word processing workers create documents -- some from scratch, others from rough drafts or recordings -- enter the material into a computer program, edit for readability, and save their work on servers. In addition to good organizational skills, these workers must possess a strong fluency with computers and computer programs that are typically used in an office. Additional tasks may include other clerical duties such as answering phones and distributing mail.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Education Required High school diploma or equivalent; college coursework helpful
Education Field of Study Word processing, fundamental keyboarding
Key Skills Accurate grammar, spreadsheet and data entry skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) -16% for word processors and typists*
Median Salary (2015) $37,610 for word processors and typists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Typical Job Duties?

You will process and arrange documents according to assignment goals, typing material from portions of rough drafts, voice recordings and corrected copies. Proofreading all documents for format, grammar or spelling problems is necessary. You will then store the files on computer hard drives or paper filing systems, often while managing and updating database information. Depending on the specific job, you may also perform other clerical duties, including answering phone calls, making copies, sending faxes and running various office errands. With technological advancements, some word processing workers can complete their assignments away from the office, at home, or from other remote locations.

What Type of Training Do I Need?

Many of those working in word processing begin directly after high school and receive on-the-job training. They may work as secretaries or administrative assistants. Competitive candidates for word processing jobs include those who have strong grammar skills, and experience with basic office equipment functions. Accurate spelling is essential. Taking classes in high school that introduce common word processing, spreadsheet and data entry software and fundamental keyboarding techniques will help build the skills necessary for word processing jobs.

Word processing courses and certificate programs at community colleges and technical schools can further increase your knowledge, as well as your speed and accuracy at word processing. Practicing outside of the classroom through regular practice and self-training programs will help limit your typing errors and increase your words per minute (WPM), likely improving your chances of employment and advancement.

What Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of word processors and typists, as of May 2015, was $37, 610 annually, and most earned between $25,290 and $53,760 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicts employment of word processors and typists will decrease 16% over the 2014-2024 decade.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related fields for word processing workers include bookkeeping, accounting or auditing clerks. These jobs require proven keyboarding skills and postsecondary training. A degree in this field however, may not be needed. You'd keep busy inputting financial information, updating bank statements, and checking for accuracy. Another alternative career for a word processor is an administrative assistant or secretary. You'd be charged with administrative duties such as appointment scheduling, file organizing, document preparation or other staff support. These positions may require some college coursework and additional training. Information clerks are another alternative. These jobs may require an associate's degree and you'd work on reports, maintain records, check the phones, and answer client questions.

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