Word Processor Operator Job Description and Responsibilities

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Until recently, many offices relied on typewriters to process text. Now computers with word processing capabilities are being used almost exclusively. Individuals who work on computers inputting data are called word processors or word processor operators.

Word processing equipment usually includes a keyboard, a video display terminal, and a printer. This equipment has many capabilities that traditional typewriters don't. For example, it can check and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Documents that are typed can be saved and changes can be made. This means that documents do not have to be typed over to correct errors.

Responsibilities of word processor operators may vary with the specific job. The main job description function of most individuals is to type information into the word processor. Information may consist of any type of document including correspondence, reports, contracts, manuscripts, etc. Anything that can be typed on a typewriter can be done on a word processor.

Once word processors have finished typing the required material, they can save the document in the machine's internal memory or on a computer floppy disk. Word processors run the copy through spelling and grammar checkers to detect and correct errors.

In addition to straight data entry, many word processors format documents. They may space paragraphs, set margins, change type fonts and sizes, and move copy around. Word processors print out copies of documents, proofread them, and give them to the proper people in the organization.

Hours vary depending on the work environment in which the word processors are employed. They are responsible to the office supervisor.


Individuals may work in office settings in a vast array of industries, including:

Public relations, Schools, colleges, and universities, Health care facilities, Advertising agencies, Temporary agencies, Banks, Law offices, Manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers, Construction companies, Book publishers, Record companies, Government agencies, Insurance agencies, Real estate companies, Investment firms, Shopping centers and Travel agencies

Expanding Opportunities for the 21st Century

Constant changes in office technology mean costly training and retraining. Word processors that will be most in demand are those who can work on a variety of computers and are familiar with many computer programs.

Many companies are trying to save money by finding ways to cut back on employee benefits. One way is to utilize word processors provided by temporary agencies.

Using home computers and fax machines or modems, employees can handle word processing projects at home. In this instance, many employers do not have to pay full benefits because of the employment structure.


Word processors may earn between $6.00 and $30.00 an hour or more. Earnings depend on the individuals responsibilities, experience, training, geographic location, and the specific employment situation. Those working in large cities will earn more than their counterparts in less urban areas. Word processors with working knowledge of several computer programs and languages will be paid more than individuals who can handle only one program.


Word processors can advance their careers by obtaining more training or learning additional computer skills. Individuals can locate positions in companies with higher earnings if they know more complex computer programs. They might also move into positions in desktop publishing.

Some word processors become trainers, supervisors, secretaries, or administrative assistants, depending on the path they want to take in their career advancement.


Generally, most employers prefer high school graduates or those with equivalency diplomas. Individuals should be trained in word processing. Some people learn these skills in high school; others attend vocational-technical schools, business schools, or community colleges. Many temporary agencies also offer training programs covering various computer programs and word processing skills. Some companies have internal training programs to help their employees keep up with new equipment.

It is imperative for individuals who want to work in this field to continue learning new computer programs and languages as technology changes.


Word processors do not generally need experience to obtain a job, as long as they possess the technical skills to perform.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Individuals interested in becoming word processors should contact vocational trade schools or business schools specializing in word processing skills.


There are seminars, workshops, and classes available throughout the country on a variety of word processing programs. The more you know, the more marketable you make yourself.

There is a vast array of books available in bookstores and libraries on the subject. Make sure you are reading the most current material.

Temporary agencies, especially in large cities, offer training programs in word processing. Some are free and others have a charge.

Job openings are advertised in the classifieds under headings for the specific industry the job is in, such as "Education" or "Health Care." They may also be under "Word Processors," "Word Processing," or "Computers."

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