Typist Job Description
Typists work on typewriters, word processors, and also may perform a variety of other clerical duties. Aside from being able to type efficiently with few or no errors, an attention to detail is also necessary. A professional typist can find full or part-time employment, or choose to work on a freelance basis. Most freelance work will be for people who are poor typists, such as college students who need essays typed, or those who simply do not have the time to type the documents they need, such as someone who has a large handwritten manuscript.
Typist Duties and Responsibilities
Although a typist’s daily duties and responsibilities can vary depending on actual job title, certain core tasks are generally expected of those in the profession. Based on our review of job listings, these core tasks are:
Gathering and Compiling Data
A typist may have to physically or electronically sort and compile text and numerical data, as well as retrieve, update, and merge documents as required.
Transcribing Audio Records
Some typists will be responsible for listening to audio recordings and typing what they hear to produce a physical record of a meeting, phone interview, or other recorded speech. Accuracy and timeliness are important when transcribing audio.
Typing Handwritten Documents
Typists may be tasked with transforming handwritten notes, stories, emails, articles, or letters into neatly typed documents. They may also proofread and edit the copy as needed to produce a finished product.
Maintain a Filing System for Documents
A typist who is responsible for preparing a large number of policies, contracts, or other forms of documentation will need to maintain an organized filing system. Both electronic and hard copies of files may need to be maintained.
Sometimes documents may need to be reformatted, and a typist needs to be proficient with word processors to do so. Examples of reformatting include adjusting margins, removing or adding tables, and altering page numbers.
General Office Duties
Answering and routing phone calls, sorting mail, interacting with customers, running errands, ordering office supplies, copying, scanning, and faxing may all be part of a typist’s duties.
Typist Skills and Qualifications
Typists are expected to complete tasks in a timely manner. Employers also look for applicants who possess the following abilities.
- Writing skills – because a typist may have to compose letters and emails from notes, take dictation, or transcribe from audio, it’s important to have stellar writing skills
- Reading comprehension skills – when transcribing from notes or compiling data, typists need to be able to read fluently and understand what they are reading
- Speech recognition skills – transcribing audio files requires a variety of skills, such as the ability to quickly recognize what the person speaking is saying accurately
- Time management skills – when working as a typist, it’s not uncommon to have more than one typing task assigned. Knowing how to work through tasks in an efficient manner is key
- Interpersonal skills – although a typist may work independently on typing tasks, other general office duties will likely be required, such as interacting with supervisors, coworkers, and the general public. Tactful, polite, and pleasant behavior is required
- Dependability – a typist usually has little direct supervision while performing job duties. Therefore, it’s vital that the typist is able to prioritize tasks and follow through with them without missing deadlines
Typist Education and Training
A high school diploma or equivalent is usually all that is required to hold a typist position; there is no formal education program designated for typists. However, knowing how to type efficiently and effectively is vital. Employers might prefer candidates who have office clerk experience, a proven typing speed of 50 to 80 words per minute, or a typing certification.
Typist Salary Information
The BLS lists the national median annual salary for a typist as $39,740 with a median hourly wage of $19.11. A typist in the 10th percentile earns approximately $26,770 a year (or $12.87 an hour), while the highest paid in the field make $58,040 a year ($27.91 hourly).
Typist Helpful Resources
Before you make the decision to pursue a career as a typist, a little further research might be in order. Here are some of the best industry resources for typists that we found on the web.
Typing.com – this comprehensive typing website offers free typing lessons for any stage of typing competency, typing games, a virtual keyboard to provide constant feedback, and a certificate.
Ratatype – Ratatype, an online typing tutor, helps students learn how to touch type for free. Practice, take a test to find out your typing speed, and get a certificate.
Mastering Computer Typing – written by Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts, this guide can be used for self-instruction from the novice to experienced typist. Find practice exercises that focus on business letters, charts, tables, resumes, reports, and emails.
Touch Typing in Ten Lessons – written by Ruth Ben’ary, this guide has taught more than a million people the basics of touch typing. If you need to learn typing quickly, the Ben’ary method might be just what you need.
Typing for Beginners – author Betty Owen designed this helpful guide as a basic resource for learning typing at your own pace. The guide includes specialized drills, speed and accuracy timings, centering, business letters, corrections, proofreading symbols, and time-saving tips.
Typist Resume Help