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The ability to type quickly and accurately is a valuable skill, particularly in any office work. Employers have minimum standards, which any aspiring employees must meet if they are to be successful in the job. The standards are much higher in some careers. Improving typing speed is a big step toward getting a job.
Words Per Minute
In a speed test for typing, every five characters or keystrokes, including spaces, is classed as one word. Speed tests can be taken online on various different websites that enable users to type random passages of text in a set amount of time to determine their typing speed. This is given in wpm (words per minute), with deductions made for each word spelt incorrectly. Therefore, someone who typed 60 words of the passage in one minute and made 4 errors would have a typing speed of 56 wpm. Another format calculates the wpm as an accuracy percentage, comparing the number of words spelled correctly to the total typed.
Secretaries are expected to meet the standard of 60wpm, although this can vary depending on the employer. Office experience is valued and having this may compensate for a slightly slower typing speed. Executive secretaries or administrative assistants would require a higher standard of approximately 65 to 80 wpm.
Stenography is the art of writing in shorthand. This is a useful skill for journalists to have when attending press conferences or any scene that requires them to make their notes as quickly as possible. Experienced stenographers would be able to perform shorthand at a rate of 80 to 120 wpm and they would need a typing speed of 55 to 60 wpm. Transcribers have their dictation recorded on a transcribing machine instead of having it in shorthand. The minimum typing speed for someone working as a transcriber would be 55 wpm. Those working in a specialized field such as medicine would need to have experience with medical terms in order to achieve the minimum standard.
The minimum typing speed is generally 40 words per minute. This is the standard for most office or government jobs, although more advanced positions will require a higher level of proficiency. A receptionist or copy typist would be expected to meet the minimum requirement of 40 wpm, while a clerk typist may be required to do 45 wpm. Senior typists or those who specialize in legal or medical work have higher standards of approximately 55-60 wpm.
Chris Haughey has been writing since 2007. His articles have appeared in college magazines and newspapers including "The Terrace Star" and "Student Voice." He received a foundation degree in journalism in 2009 and completed a Bachelor of Arts at Teesside University in 2010.