Should I Become a Customer Service Engineer?
Customer service engineers provide remote and on-site technical support and services. They work as intermediaries between the company they work for and the company's clients and customers. The job duties of customer service engineers vary by industry but include installing and maintaining computers and other office technology like copiers, automated teller machines, and electronic kiosks. They may also place and service industrial equipment, such as aluminum extruders and die cast machines. Some customer service engineers travel frequently, as they must visit job sites to provide support and services.
|Degree Level||Some vocational training or an associate's degree|
|Degree Field||Electronics technology, electronics engineering technology, or another technical field|
|Certification||Voluntary certification is available|
|Experience||Entry-level jobs are available|
|Key Skills||Time management, quality control analysis and repair skills; ability to use various types of enterprise software; ability to work with circuit boards and various diagnostic and repair tools|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$54,257 (for customer service engineers)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online, Job postings (January 2013)
The required job skills for customer service engineers may vary by industry, but they generally include capabilities in time management, quality control analysis, diagnostics, repair, and enterprise software. Salary potential also fluctuates by industry. According to PayScale. com the median annual salary for customer service engineers was $54,257 in January 2016.
Now let's walk through the steps you can take to enter a career as a customer service engineer.
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Step 1: Earn a Certificate or Degree
While some people become customer service engineers after working with electronics in the military, others obtain postsecondary training. Relevant options include a certificate in electronics or electronics technology or an associate's degree in electronics engineering technology. These programs typically include a combination of labs and lectures covering analog and digital circuitry and principles of electronics. The coursework often covers topics such as computer programming, robotics, solid state electronics, and technical writing. While certificate programs generally cover only core courses associate's degree candidates often complete general education classes in addition to core electronics engineering technology courses. Some programs also prepare students for A+ Certification, which demonstrates proficiency in computer technology and is often preferred by employers of customer service engineers.
During college you may want to complete an internship program. Internship programs can provide academic credit and on-the-job training. Experience making repairs and interacting with customers could prove crucial when looking for a permanent job.
Step 2: Get Work Experience
After completing postsecondary training, you might find entry-level employment in technical support, such as technician or repair jobs. These jobs typically require new hires to work under the supervision of experienced customer service engineers. With experience and demonstrated expertise, they may advance to the position of customer service engineer.
Step 3: Consider Professional Certification
While professional certification isn't required to work as a customer service engineer, it can demonstrate an individual's knowledge and skill. It may also be helpful in finding employment as well as advancing in one's career. The Electronics Technicians Association offers several certifications for these professionals. The computer service technician designation, for example, is available qualified customer service engineers and requires passage of a certification exam.
Keep in mind that certifying organizations often require individuals to complete continuing education hours to maintain certification. Those who hold professional certification should pay attention to renewal dates and schedule required courses accordingly.
Customer service engineers typically have certificates or associate's degrees in or related to electronics technology as well as experience in the field, and certification can improve job prospects.