Accurate typing and data entry skills are important for many jobs in this modern economy, where even factory workers often have to know how to type in the instructions for the automated machinery that helps them assemble products. Many employers set out a minimum words per minute (WPM) requirement in their job descriptions and help-wanted ads, and most of the temp agencies (“temp” = “temporary employment”) start out every new candidate with a typing test. The United States Government requires a minimum typing speed of 40wpm for even the lowest-paid entry-level positions – and that’s approximately twice the speed of the average untrained “two-finger” typist who has not learned to touch type.
If you want to make sure your job application stays at the top of the pile on the Human Resources clerk’s desk, you’ll need to make sure that your typing skills meet this minimum standard, at the very least. In fact, it’s better to set a goal that’s higher than 40wpm, for several reasons. First, if you’re faster and more accurate than the “average” typist, you’ll have the edge over the competition. Speed and accuracy translate into increased productivity, and that’s something that every employer looks for. Second, once you’re hired, you can use your typing speed to get through your work efficiently, leaving you extra time for those extra projects that help you get promoted to higher – and higher-paying – positions.
If you’re looking for a job that centers on your typing skills, doing transcription or data entry, you’ll need to get your typing speed up to at least 60wpm, and 80wpm is better. In general, when doing transcription of dictation or a recording of a conversation, you’ll be listening to people speak at a normal pace, which is approximately 150wpm. Obviously you’d have to type that fast to get the words on paper in real time, but with a typing speed of 80wpm it’s possible to keep up with only a little pause every few seconds to allow your fingers to catch up with what your ears have heard. Good transcriptionists generally start at a pay scale that’s double what an entry-level office worker earns.
Whether you have a goal of improving your typing skills for your own satisfaction, or because you’re looking for an improvement in your earning powers, learning and perfecting your ability to touch type will bring you the results you want.