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Word Processing Operator

No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

Also known as Data Entry Clerk.

Word processing operators type, edit and print documents, using computers with word processing software programmes and printers.

In some offices, operators spend all or most of their time doing word processing work.

They may work alone or in a group with other operators.

It is standard practice for operators to take regular rest breaks in order to minimise the occurrence of repetitive strain injury (RSI) to their arms and hands.


    Word processing operators may perform the following tasks:

  • plan and set out the format required (such as page length and width, line spacing and style of typeface), for letters, business forms and other documents
  • type and re-arrange information (such as highlighting parts of the text, moving paragraphs from one page to another and putting information into columns)
  • transfer data from audio tapes into letters and reports
  • set up mail merge functions to enable multiple letters to be personalised or directed to individuals in a number of locations
  • make alterations to information already stored on a computer
  • manage electronic documents and records
  • print out letters, address labels and other documents
  • perform clerical duties, such as filing, answering the phone and dispatching mail
  • perform switchboard or reception duties


  • good command of the English language, particularly spelling
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good concentration
  • good organisational skills
  • able to work independently
  • aptitude for working with computers

Interest Area

Clerical/Administrative Literary


Audio Transcript Typist - produces transcripts from digital audio recordings of court and parliamentary proceedings, tribunals, arbitrations, business conferences, lectures and medical reports.

Data Processing Operator - uses computer terminals to transfer information into a database for storage, processing and transmission. They may input information in prescribed formats such as payrolls, staff records or scientific software programmes, and retrieve, confirm and update data in storage. They work in almost all industry sectors including government, manufacturing, education, retailing, banking and finance.

Offline Captioner - generates captions (or subtitles) for pre-recorded television programmes. The captions are then embedded in the recording and automatically transmitted when the programme eventually goes to air.


No Formal Qualifications On The Job Training VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred

You can work as a word processing operator without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications.

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in business or business administration. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education.

You can also become a word processing operator through a traineeship in Business or Business Administration.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers usually require Year 10.

Additional Information

    Once you are employed, you may be able to develop, and have recognised, additional skills under the Business Services Training Package that will expand your career opportunities within this industry.


Word processing operators are employed in a wide range of business and government organisations. Employers may look for experience with a specific brand of equipment or software when recruiting new employees.

In many organisations, word processing tasks are included in the work of clerical workers and secretaries. With experience, and sometimes further training, operators may have the opportunity to move into higher level positions, such as personal assistant, word processing coordinator or supervisor in larger organisations, or into other areas of administration or management.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Word Processing Operator Australasian Court Reporting Industry Association Innovation and Business Skills Australia Australian Institute of Office Professionals

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