How to become a Typist. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about Typist careers.
What does a Typist do?
As a typist or word processor operator, you would use a computer to produce letters, reports and other documents.
Depending on your job, you might work in any or all of the following ways:
- copy typing – working from hand-written notes
- audio typing – typing whilst listening to spoken notes that have been dictated onto audio tape
- shorthand typing – taking notes in shorthand then typing up the information later from their notes.
Some larger organisations may employ you only to type documents, but in most jobs you would also carry out other administrative duties such as:
- working with computer spreadsheets and databases
- answering the telephone
- handling enquiries
- using office equipment like photocopiers, faxes and franking machines
- dealing with post and emails
In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. Part-time and temporary work are widely available.
You would be based in an office and spend most of your time at a computer.
How much does a Typist earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Full-time salaries can be between £15,000 and £18,000 a year.
- With good skills and extra responsibilities, earnings could reach £24,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You must have good keyboard skills, and previous experience of office work is useful, perhaps from temporary work (‘temping’).
You may not need academic qualifications to work as a typist, although employers may ask for a good standard of general education to GCSE level or equivalent.
Employers may prefer you to have a recognised qualification in administrative skills, so you may find it useful to take a college course before looking for office work. Most local colleges offer a wide range of full- and part-time courses, such as:
- OCR Award, Certificate and Diploma in Administration (Business Professional) or Text Processing (Business Professional)
- BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Business (Administration)
- City & Guilds NVQ Award, Certificate or Diploma in Business and Administration (4418)
- Education Development International Award, Certificate and Diploma in Business Administration and Practice
- the 14-19 Diploma in Business, Administration and Finance.
You may be able to get into office work through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
When you start work as a typist, your employer will train you in company procedures and any in-house computer systems.
You may also get the chance to take qualifications in word processing and other office skills while you are working. Relevant qualifications include:
- Education Development International Award, Certificate and Diploma in Business Administration and Practice at levels 1 to 3
- OCR Award, Certificate and Diploma in Text Production (Business Professional) or Administration (Business Professional) at level 1 to 4
- City & Guilds NVQ Award, Certificate and Diploma in Business and Administration at levels 1 to 4.
Awards at levels 3 and 4 would be suitable if you had supervisory or management duties.
Skills and Knowledge
- good keyboard and computer skills
- a good command of English grammar, spelling and punctuation
- accuracy and attention to detail
- good communication skills
- efficient time management for meeting deadlines
- discretion, as you could be dealing with confidential information
- the ability to work as part of a team.
You could be employed by all kinds of business or public sector organisation. If you are confident with a range of computer packages and can do other administrative tasks, you will have more chance of finding work.
Jobs are advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus and by recruitment agencies.
With more experience and perhaps further training, you could become a secretary, personal assistant or office manager. There may also be opportunities for self-employment and home working.