Professional Typist: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for professional typists. Get the facts about salary, job outlook and education requirements to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Information Processing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Professional Typist?

Typists are needed in a variety of fields, and they require little training. Professional typists may be used in an office to type and distribute memos or other reports. They may also assist in formatting and editing various reports or written content. Typists may collect data to be entered into various databases or records. Some typists may help organize and maintain different kinds of records. These professionals work with hard copies and/or electronic documents. Learn about the different job skills needed, as well as what type of education is needed to work in this position. The table below has more information to help you decide if this employment path is for you.

Education Required High school diploma
Key Skills Time management, attention to detail, grammar, speed
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (for all general office clerks)*
Median Salary (2015) $37,610 (for all word processors and typists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Professional Typists Do?

Typists assist in the preparation of text documents such as reports, meeting agendas, letters and labels (www.careerinfonet.org). As a typist, you may use voice dictation software to transcribe meetings, interviews and other recorded proceedings. You might scan and format multi-page text documents, decipher and compile handwritten notes, enter detailed financial information or interpret court reports. You may also create and format charts, tables and statistics and properly present them in a larger text document. Other responsibilities include checking and revising word processing documents and performing minor editing.

What Skills and Education Would I Need?

In addition to an above average typing speed, you must have good grammar, spelling and reading comprehension skills to work as a typist. You must also demonstrate proficiency in advanced database and word processing functions. Higher education is not usually necessary, as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that most typists have only a high school diploma (www.bls.gov). However, many high schools and community college offer helpful preparation classes in keyboarding and word processing.

What Are the Job Prospects?

According to the BLS, employment for general office clerks, which can include typists, was expected to rise three percent from 2014 to 2024. Advances in technology make it possible for managers and executives to do their own typing, and the competitive design market requires formatting to be done by professional graphics firms. Further, the evolution of voice recognition software may make the keyboard itself obsolete.

You may also choose to find work as an administrative assistant or data entry clerk, or you might even acquire advanced training to work as a medical transcriber or court reporter.

How Much Would I Make?

In May 2015, the BLS reported the median annual income for word processors and typists was $37,610, with a median hourly wage of $18.08. The lowest percentiles made $12.16 per hour, and annually grossed $25,290. The highest earners made $25.85 per hour, with an annual salary of $53,760.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related positions that require a high school diploma, including customer service representatives, administrative assistants and receptionists. Customer service representatives aim to please a company's customers. This includes addressing their complaints, answering their questions, helping them place orders and more. Administrative assistants help support the staff in a particular office. They may assist with scheduling appointments, answering phones, maintaining files and other administrative duties. Receptionists typically greet customers and visitors and perform administrative tasks as needed.

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