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Become a Professional Typist: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a professional typist. Research the career requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in professional typing.

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Should I Become a Professional Typist?

A career as a professional typist requires an arsenal of skills in order to be marketable to employers. These skills include proper keyboarding technique, formatting knowledge and word processing software familiarity to create documents. Many work hours might be spent seated at a desk and looking at a computer.

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Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma or General Education Development (GED)
Training Specialized courses are available through technical schools and universities, as well as online
Key Skills Typing skills, comprehensive knowledge of Microsoft Office applications, communication and customer service skills, document management skills, transcription, office terminology, clerical systems
Salary (2014) $36,700 (median salary for word processors and typists)

Sources: O*Net Online; Monster.com job postings (August 2015); U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); TUSD.org.

Step 1: Learn How to Type

Typing quickly and creating error-free documents is not a skill that all people have acquired. Those just learning how to type should use aids such as textbooks and teaching software or consider taking classes.

Success Tips:

  • Take classes in office skills while in high school. Most high schools offer office education-related courses, which will provide a background in word processing and keyboarding. English, business and communication classes are also useful choices for this occupation.
  • Explore free training in typing. There are many Internet sites that offer free learn-to-type resources in the form of games and tutorials. Use these free resources to improve typing speed and accuracy.

Step 2: Learn Word Processing Software

Becoming a typist without a working knowledge of computers is nearly impossible. Prospective typists should become familiar with popular word processing software programs, like Microsoft Word. Continuing education may be required because new software versions are released every few years. Word processing software helps typists catch typographical errors while inputting data. The software also features grammar checks so original copy mistakes will be marked for correction.

Success Tip:

  • Explore word processing software classes. Most colleges offer training in Microsoft Word or other word processing software. The vendor site may also offer training on specific topics in word processing using their product.

Step 3: Obtain Formatting Knowledge

Typists may be expected to create any number of documents, including reports, business letters, resumes, contracts and memos. In order to enhance attractiveness to employers, typists should learn how to format as many different types of documents as they can. Because typists may also be responsible for inputting form data or client information into databases, familiarity with these functions may prove useful.

Success Tip:

  • Practice on templates. Many word processing programs offer templates in documents like letters, reports and resumes. These templates should be used to practice formatting sample documents in order to hone document creation skills.

Step 4: Keep Learning

A high school diploma or the equivalent is usually the minimum educational requirement for a typist, but typing skills need to be acquired and maintained. Improving English style and grammar skills is another way for a typist to increase his or her value to employers. Learning how to use computer peripherals like printers, scanners and copiers can also improve a typist's employment opportunities.

Success Tip:

  • Explore degree and certificate programs. Colleges often offer office-related certificate and degree programs in office systems technologies, office administration or office management. This may improve job prospects and help with career advancement.
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