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Word Processor Duties and Responsibilities

Word processors work in a variety of industries. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary, but there are several core tasks associated with the job, including:

Create Documents Word processors use word processing software, such as Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat, to create, edit, and format a range of business documents, including letters, reports, and memos. In some cases, they start with a handwritten document, typed copy, or template, and in other cases, they create documents from scratch using organizational guidelines or standard industry practices.

Enter Data Many organizations use spreadsheets to store customer data and other important information. Word processors create and update spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel, Smartsheet, and other spreadsheet programs. They may also enter data into custom database programs or content management systems.

Create Presentations Word processors use word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, and presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, to create text-based and digital presentations for business meetings. This often involves the creation and manipulation of visual aids, including photos, tables, graphs, and charts.

Schedule Projects and Engagements Scheduling frequently comes into play in the day-to-day duties of word processors. In addition to scheduling meetings, conferences, and employee travel, they also schedule and communicate deadlines for word processing projects.

Provide Administrative Support Word processors commonly provide administrative support to various departments within an organization. This responsibility involves clerical duties such as answering telephones, responding to emails, faxing or mailing correspondence, and filing documents.


Word Processor Skills and Qualifications

Word processers need strong interpersonal and organizational skills to quickly and accurately prepare internal and external deliverables. Many employers prefer candidates with the following skills:

  • Word processing experience – word processors use a range of word processing software in the course of their work; they often work with intermediate and advanced program features
  • Typing skills – word processors create typed drafts on a regular basis; many employers seek candidates who type at least 65+ words per minute with an accuracy rate of 95 percent or higher
  • Project management experience – although word processors often collaborate with others, they also work independently and manage multiple word processing projects
  • Multitasking – word processors sometimes work under time pressures and constraints in fast-paced environments; they need to multitask so that they can work on several projects simultaneously
  • Communication skills – the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is a key skill for word processors; they frequently disseminate information to diverse audiences orally and in writing

Word Processor Education and Training

Word processors typically need a high school diploma or the equivalent for entry-level or mid-level positions. Some employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree (in any field) or several years of office experience for senior-level positions. Licensing and certification are not required. However, job candidates can demonstrate their familiarity with word processing software by earning a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification in one or more specific Office programs.


Word Processor Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), word processors earn a median annual wage of $40,000. The highest-paid professionals (in the top 10 percent) earn more than $58,000, while the lowest-paid professionals (in the bottom 10 percent) earn less than $27,000. Some word processors receive additional compensation in the form of benefits, such as vacation time, insurance, or retirement options. Overall, the BLS projects a 5 percent employment decline in this occupation by 2026. The best prospects for word processors are in the medical field due to increased demand for medical services, particularly among the aging baby-boomer population.


Helpful Resources

Ready to begin a career as a word processor? We’ve compiled a list of industry resources to help you master key skills and find more information about this career path:

American Society of Administrative Professionals – this international organization has more than 75,000 members. It provides education, training, and career resources that are of interest to word processors, office assistants, and other administrative professionals

Word Processor and Typist Career: The Insider’s Guide to Finding a Job at an Amazing Firm, Acing the Interview and Getting Promoted – written by Anne Johnson, this comprehensive career guide explains the day-to-day duties of word processors and identifies strategies for pursuing a career in this occupation

Microsoft Office 2016 Step by Step – written by Joan Lambert, a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and Curtis Frye, the author of several Microsoft-related books, this how-to guide covers Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. It includes brief lessons, helpful screenshots, and downloadable practice files