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Computer Electronics Technician: Job Outlook & Career Info

Learn about the work responsibilities of a computer electronics technician. Explore education and certification requirements in addition to salary and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career choice.

Career Definition

A computer electronics technician, also referred to as a computer engineering technician or a computer tech, is the expert people turn to for hands-on problem solving when they have difficulty with their computer. Computer electronics technician might work in the field, in a testing laboratory, in a service department or as an Internet professional. Wherever they work, the duties of a computer electronics technician will typically include installation and maintenance of computer systems. Some computer electronics techs are assigned to help customers with their new computers.

How to Become a Computer Electronics Technician

Education Required

An associate or bachelor's degree is typically required to work in computer electronic technology and certification will also be needed. Many community colleges and universities offer degree programs in computer electronic technology, so it's important to carefully consider which program is right for you. Coursework will include such topics as physics, circuit systems, digital electronics, and advanced programming. The best programs also prepare the future computer electronics technician for professional certification exams; these exams and credentials are important because certification levels are the yardstick by which prospective employees are measured.

Skills Required

Those planning a career in computer electronic technology should enjoy troubleshooting and problem solving. An interest in math and technology is necessary and because computer electronics technicians often work with technologically-challenged customers, patience and good people skills are also important.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects favorable growth for computer technology and notes that those holding bachelor's degrees can expect the best earning opportunities. In May 2012, the BLS placed the median annual salary for computer support specialists at $46,420, while the median for systems administrators was $72,560.

Alternative Careers

Computer Hardware Engineer

For those with an interest in the design and development of computer components, a career in computer hardware engineering should be considered. Hardware engineers draft plans for new computer parts, such as circuit boards, routers and processors. They also test the system or equipment after completion, analyze findings and coordinate manufacturing activities.

To gain employment in this occupation, a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or a related field is required, and some larger organizations prefer applicants with a master's degree. The BLS predicts slower than average growth of computer hardware engineering positions during the 2012-2022 decade, and these professionals earned a median salary of $100,920, according to 2012 BLS statistics.

Electronics Engineer

Somewhat similar to a computer hardware engineer, an electronics engineer designs electrical parts and systems for industrial, commercial and government devices and products. Testing the quality and performance of electronics, estimating customer costs and implementing design revisions are other additional job responsibilities for this type of engineer.

A bachelor's degree in electronics engineering is required by employers, and obtaining a professional engineering license could provide a competitive advantage. Based on BLS data from May 2012, electronics engineers earned a median yearly income of $91,820. The BLS also expects over 12,000 jobs to open up in the fields of electrical and electronics engineering from 2012-2022.

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