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Typists and Word Processors

At a Glance

  • Have good spelling and grammar skills
  • Have a medium level of social interaction
  • Usually work regular business hours
  • Train on the job
  • Are skilled typists and knowledgeable about word processing programs

Career summary

Typists and word processors prepare documents and other print materials using computer software.

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Typists and word processors use computers to set up and prepare printed materials such as:

Typists gather the materials to be typed. These may be paper copies or documents stored on computers. Sometimes they type up tape-recorded words. Occasionally they use data entry devices, such as scanners, to enter information that they can revise. Sometimes they transmit work electronically to other offices.

When the document is complete, typists check it for spelling, punctuation, and formatting errors. They save the document on the computer and print a finished copy. They can edit these documents and use them again. Experienced typists often work with technical material. They may combine and rearrange material from different sources to create new reports and documents.

Typists and word processors usually have other clerical duties. They may:

Typists also keep records of the work they complete. Many maintain a computer filing system.

Related careers

This career is part of the Business Management and Administration cluster of careers.

Related careers include:

Job duties

Task list

The following list of tasks is specific to typists and word processors.

Common work activities

Typists and word processors perform the following tasks. These tasks are common to many careers.

Work requirements

Working conditions

In a typical work setting, typists and word processors:

Interpersonal relationships

Physical work conditions

Work performance


Physical demands

Typists and word processors frequently:

It is important for typists and word processors to be able to:

It is not as important, but still necessary, for typists and word processors to be able to:

Skills and abilities

Typists and word processors need to:


Reason and problem solve

Manage oneself, people, time, and things

Perceive and visualize

Education and training

Educational programs

The programs of study listed below will help you prepare for the occupation or career cluster you are exploring.

Programs of study directly related to this occupation

Other programs of study to consider


To work as a typist or word processor, you typically need to:

Education after high school

Typists and word processors must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many have formal training beyond high school. Business schools, professional-technical schools, and community colleges offer programs that teach typing. Depending on the program, you need a few weeks or up to a year to complete your classes.

Typists and word processors need good keyboarding skills. They should also know how to use word processing software. Experience with spreadsheet and data management programs is also helpful.

On-the-job training

New typists and word processors work under the guidance of experienced workers or office managers. Depending on your skills when you start the job, you may receive training for up to a year. Most people receive a few weeks to a month of training. You get more independence and responsibility as you gain knowledge and experience.

Because of the fast changing nature of this field, employers often offer training in the newest office technologies and software.

Helpful high school courses

You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements (external link). You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this career include:

Many typists and word processors are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Here are examples of activities and groups (PDF file) that may be available in your high school or community.

Things to know

Employers will generally hire high school graduates who meet their requirements for keyboarding speed. Many employers also expect applicants to have word processing experience. In addition, training in other computer software is helpful.

Employers prefer to hire typists and word processors who have good spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills. Knowledge of office equipment and procedures is also helpful.

Some employers also require transcription experience although this is becoming less common. Successful completion of a word processing course, or one year of college, or business school training may be required. Some employers prefer to train new workers on their company's word processing equipment instead of retraining experienced workers.


Experience with desktop publishing is helpful.

Costs to workers

Some workers may wish to join a professional association, which may have annual dues.

Job listings

Listed below are links to job categories from the National Labor Exchange that relate to this career. Once you get a list of jobs, you can view information about individual jobs and find out how to apply. If your job search finds too many openings, or if you wish to search for jobs outside of Washington, you will need to refine your search.

To get a listing of current jobs from the WorkSource system, go to the WorkSource website (external link).


Word processors and typists (SOC 43-9022)

Pay Period
Washington Hourly $15.94 $17.43 $20.47 $24.70 $31.88
Monthly $2,762 $3,021 $3,547 $4,281 $5,525
Yearly $33,150 $36,260 $42,580 $51,380 $66,300
    Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Hourly $16.14 $19.63 $24.58 $32.13 $37.89
Monthly $2,797 $3,402 $4,260 $5,568 $6,566
Yearly $33,584 $40,817 $51,126 $66,826 $78,803
    Spokane-Spokane Valley Hourly $17.88 $20.29 $22.38 $24.39 $25.45
Monthly $3,099 $3,516 $3,878 $4,227 $4,410
Yearly $37,200 $42,204 $46,546 $50,728 $52,949
    Vancouver Hourly $16.56 $17.97 $20.32 $24.14 $29.86
Monthly $2,870 $3,114 $3,521 $4,183 $5,175
Yearly $34,456 $37,373 $42,271 $50,218 $62,112
    Wenatchee Hourly $14.14 $14.79 $16.75 $18.10 $20.97
Monthly $2,450 $2,563 $2,903 $3,137 $3,634
Yearly $29,392 $30,764 $34,831 $37,643 $43,614
    Yakima Hourly $14.20 $16.06 $17.98 $19.89 $20.66
Monthly $2,461 $2,783 $3,116 $3,447 $3,580
Yearly $29,535 $33,409 $37,391 $41,374 $42,981
United States Hourly $13.02 $15.78 $19.11 $23.18 $27.93
Monthly $2,256 $2,735 $3,312 $4,017 $4,840
Yearly $27,070 $32,810 $39,750 $48,210 $58,090

Wages vary according to the worker's level of responsibility. Wages also vary by employer and area of the country.

Typists and word processors who work full time generally receive benefits. Typical benefits include paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance. Those who are self-employed must provide their own insurance.

Employment and outlook

Washington outlook

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this career in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Word Processors and Typists (SOC 43-9022)

Location Current employment Growth over 10 years Annual openings
Washington 476 -28.8% 16.1% 18
    Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties 17 -35.3% 11.9% 0
    Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties 169 -27.8% 15.2% 6
    Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties 10 10.0% 14.6% 1
    King County 142 -32.4% 19.6% 4
    Pierce County 66 -21.2% 15.2% 4
    Spokane County 34 -26.5% 13.9% 1
United States 60,400 -33.8% 5.2% 4,100

National employment

About 10% of typists and word processors are self-employed.

Major employers:

National outlook

Demand for this occupation is declining significantly. Other workers often perform duties once assigned to typists. For example, most managers and other professionals now use computers to do their own word processing.

There will be many job openings each year as people leave the occupation. Job prospects are best for those with experience using computer software programs.

Other resources

Washington Business Week (external link)
PO Box 1170
Renton, WA 98057


Career cluster

Career path

O*Net (external link) occupation

O*Net job zone (external link)

DOT occupations

Holland occupational clusters