Word Processing Jobs: Options and Requirements

Training in word processing typically covers project management and typing skills. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for word processing graduates.

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This article explores three jobs that rely considerably on word processing software: secretaries, court reporters, and typists. Secretaries and typists can go to work with high school diplomas, while court reporters need a certificate or associate's degree, plus state licensing.

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Essential Information

The number of jobs that utilize word processing duties in day-to-day work responsibilities is quite large. In this article, the secretary, court reporter, and typist careers are discussed. Each of these jobs requires word processing abilities and may include general office administrative duties. Most word processing related jobs take place in an office environment and usually require long hours of sitting. Formal education is not generally required, but word processing job applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in processing a large number of documents.

Career Secretary Court Reporter Typist
Education Requirements High school diploma Postsecondary certificate High school diploma
Other Requirements Document computer software proficiency Licensure or certification On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 3%* 2%* 3% (office clerks)*
Median Salary (2015) $33,910* $49,500* $37,610*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Secretary

Requirements

The responsibilities of a secretary include general office duties. In addition to writing letters and taking down notes, a secretary also answers the phone, puts files in order and uses office machinery, such as faxes, computers, scanners and copiers. Secretaries can specialize and choose to work for health care or legal employers.

No formal education is required for entry-level secretarial positions; however, secretaries that also serve as executive assistants and have greater job responsibilities are required to have some formal schooling and training beyond a high school diploma. Community colleges offer secretarial training programs that focus on project management, bookkeeping, transcription and computer technology. Additional skills beyond those learned in a program are often picked up through on-the-job training.

Career Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted secretaries and administrative assistants would see a 3% increase in job opportunities from 2014-2024. It also reported this group earned a median annual wage of $33,910 in May 2015.

Court Reporter

Requirements

The primary responsibility of a court reporter is to listen to attorneys and other legal professionals and transcribe every piece of information that was stated. The goal is to create organized legal documents that are detailed and can be referenced for future use. Court reporters must be adept at typing and be able to concentrate for long periods of time.

Most court reporters complete 2- to 5-year certificate or associate's degree programs and, in many states, must be licensed or certified. Court reporters must have a strong understanding of the English language and grammar. Training programs help students to familiarize themselves with legal terminology and work on building up their typing speeds. Some companies and courts may require that applicants have experience in the legal field.

Career Info

Court reporters were expected to see a 2% increase in jobs between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. They earned an average of $49,500 annually as of May 2015.

Typist

Requirements

A typist is a general office worker that specializes in typing letters, reports and other documents. In addition to general typing duties, a typist may also address envelopes, collate reports, fill out forms, proofread all completed work, answer phones and take messages if needed. Typists also work with office machines, which may include typewriters, computers, calculators, copiers and faxes.

Aspiring typists are not required to have any further education beyond a high school diploma. Work experience in the field is helpful, but job applicants for this position must have strong typing skills and an acceptable words-per-minute (wpm) score. Job applicants who have a low wpm score may want to consider using a free online typing training program that calculates a wpm score and allows users to build their proficiency. Typists should also have a strong knowledge of the rules of grammar and be able to proofread documents for accuracy.

Career Info

The BLS reported that word processors and typists earned an average of $37,610 in May 2015. Employment for general office clerks, a group that includes typists, is projected to grow 3% from 2014-2024.

Although growth for all these jobs is expected to be slower than average, they still have good prospects. The best opportunities will be available for those who are experienced typists and can easily navigate computer applications.

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