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Computer Repair Tech: Education Requirements & Career Info

Computer repair technicians require some formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Computer repair technicians troubleshoot computer systems and install additional software. In addition to personal computers, technicians repair printers, disc drives, mainframes, servers and other types of peripheral equipment. While a high school diploma and computer skills are sufficient to begin a career in this field, completion of some postsecondary coursework is typical. Students might consider pursuing a certificate or an associate's degree program in computer technology or a related field. Professional certification for computer repair techs is available, though voluntary.

Required Education High school diploma at minimum; some postsecondary education recommended
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2012-2022)*4% for all computer, ATM and office machine repairers
Median Salary (2013)*$36,390 for all computer, ATM and office machine repairers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements for Computer Repair Techs

Computer repair techs may begin their education by taking computer programming and graphic design courses in high school. Some vocational high schools may offer introductory classes in computer repair. Working with computer interfaces and applications during high school may help aspiring computer repair techs prepare for more advanced courses after graduating. There are no industry standard educational requirements for computer technicians, so postsecondary education may vary.

Postsecondary Education Options

High school graduates may consider 6-12 month certificate and 1-2 year associate's degree programs offered by junior colleges, technical institutes and vocational schools. These programs prepare students with classroom and practical coursework on installing, maintaining and repairing computers and peripheral systems. Students take introductory courses in digital logic and computer networks. Other topics covered may range from troubleshooting computer microprocessors to soldering electrical components on circuit boards.

Advanced courses in certificate and associate's degree programs generally cover computer diagnostic equipment used to diagnose technical issues. Associate's degree programs may extend these concepts to other systems that use computers or electronic devices, such as lighting systems or home entertainment systems.

Certification

Most computer repair tech programs prepare students to take the Computer Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA) A+ certification exam (www.comptia.org). CompTIA is a vendor-neutral organization that certifies computer techs in a number of areas like computer networks, servers and security applications. The A+ certification is the organization's basic, entry-level designation that provides proof of a professional's skills and abilities to install and maintain computer systems. Earning the credential involves completing two exams. CompTIA offers study materials for the exam on its website.

Career and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated slower-than-average employment growth of 4% for computer, office machine and ATM repairers in the 2012-2022 decade. These repairers earned $36,390 as a median annual wage in 2013.

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