A typist uses computers with word processing programs to type letters, articles or documents. Typewriters are not often used any more.

The typist:

  • prepares neatly typed copies of hand-written, printed and recorded documents
  • prepares addresses for envelopes
  • types headings on form letters and performs other routine typing chores.
An experienced typist performs tasks which require a high degree of accuracy and independent judgement such as planning and typing of complicated statistical tables, combining and rearranging of materials from different sources and preparing of master copies to be produced on copying machines.

The typist may type letters, reports, forms and memos from dictating equipment or operate high speed typewriters with programmed memories. Sometimes other clerical duties such as filing and answering telephones have to be done as well.

The work of a typist depends on the nature of the job and type of company or department. The typist may work in a typing pool where the supervisor distributes the work. Completed work is handed in and a new assignment is then tackled.

As the work of a secretary is becoming more and more complex with a variety of tasks, the typist may assist the secretary in typing documents such as letters or reports.

Personal Requirements

  • have a good command of different official languages, spelling, grammar and punctuation
  • be courteous and alert
  • be able to concentrate amid distractions
  • work well under pressure
  • be well organised
  • work well with others
  • have good typing skills and speed
  • present a neat, well-groomed appearance
  • be able to operate office equipment

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate

What to Study

Private colleges, technical colleges and universities of technology present training in Typing. A Senior Typing qualification is equivalent to a Senior Certificate level. Even if a person has no previous experience of typing, such a person can enrol in a Typing course at an after-school training institution. The training institution or private college presents a certificate to each successful candidate. National Secretarial Certificates can be obtained from various technical colleges and universities of technology.

Diploma: Office Management and Technology - is presented by UNISA, DUT, TUT, CPUT, VUT

Colleges: Secretarial courses are available at the Academy of Learning, Rosebank College, ICESA, Varsity College.

After successful completion of one or both of the above-mentioned certificates, the candidate can receive training for the National Higher Certificate. The National Higher Certificate: Secretarial (Executive Secretaries) is presented by UJ The National Higher Certificate: Office Administration can be followed at the following: CPUT, Setlogelo, NMMU and UJ.

For more information regarding the National and National Higher Diploma courses, see the article on the private secretary.


  • businesses
  • industries
  • government Departments
  • regional administrations
  • educational and research institutions
  • embassies

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation or part-time work as a typist in a company
  • arrange to speak to typists about this type of career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

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