To become a typist, you will need to learn how to type both accurately and at high speed. Changes in technology have reduced the need for some types of typists, so it may be difficult for you to find work as a typist that does not include developing other specialized skills in customer service, office administration, or transcribing. To maximize your job opportunities, work on developing your typing skills while also learning other occupational skills that can complement your work as a typist and get you hired for positions that may be typing-intensive, but that also require you to engage in other job duties.
In order to become a typist, you will first need to be able to type without actually looking at the typing keys. This is called touch typing, and it will typically be a requirement of any typing job that you apply for. Like any skill, you will improve with practice and will eventually develop your typing speed as well. Typing courses are available through adult education programs, computer schools, and trade schools, where they may also be called keyboarding classes. You may also learn how to type by using online or software-based typing training programs.
The proliferation of word processing programs, scanners, and personal computers has reduced the need for typists in offices or for typing handwritten manuscripts. If you want to become a typist who performs these tasks, you may have difficulty finding work either in a salaried position or as a freelance typist. You may still be able to get this type of work if you know individuals or companies that do not rely on word processing equipment, however.
Your best options for putting your typing skills to use will likely be in the areas of office administration or data entry. If you decide to work as a secretary or office administrator, you will typically be required to perform other office duties, such as filing, basic bookkeeping, and assisting other workers with projects. If you become a typist as well as an office administrator, you may also wish to develop your business writing skills, including learning appropriate formats for various types of business correspondence. If you work in data entry, you may need to have some basic proofreading skills and may also be required to assume customer service responsibilities.
You may eventually decide to enter into other trades and professions in which the skills you learned to become a typist are highly valued. Court reporting and other types of transcription jobs may be suited to your skills and abilities. While they may require you to complete additional training, you may find that job opportunities are more plentiful and that you can command a higher wage when working in these occupations.