A PC support technician provides various maintenance and repair services for personal computers. While these technicians do not always need a postsecondary education, having completed at least some college coursework is typically important when seeking entry-level employment. It is essential for a PC support technician to have an extensive knowledge of computer systems and repairs.
Responsible for repairing and maintaining the personal computers (PCs) of individuals and small businesses, PC support technicians are employed in a variety of circumstances, such as family-owned repair shops or large customer service centers in department stores. Experience and demonstrated knowledge in computer repair are vital components for a career as a PC support technician; however, some individuals also possess specialty education and certification.
|Required Education||Varies; some postsecondary education is typically required or preferred|
|Other Requirements||Computer experience; optional certification available|
|Projected Job Growth*||12% between 2014 and 2024 (all computer support specialists)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$51,470 (all computer support specialists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A PC support technician, also known as help-desk technician or technical support specialist, assists customers and clients with issues arising from everyday computer use. Tasks involving PC support technicians can be performed either remotely or on-site.
PC support technicians have a wide array of job responsibilities, such as upgrading components of aging systems and removing viruses. Employees of larger organizations may also be responsible for networking features, like servers and routers. While the tasks of PC support technicians are generally similar, some individuals work on specialty systems developed for specific purposes. A PC support technician working for software or hardware developers also assists customers with issues on specific products.
With additional experience and education, some PC support technicians may advance into executive or managerial roles. Individuals in upper level positions are responsible for managing PC support employees and administering company policy. Computer systems managers often create guidelines for repairing common customer complaints or handling technical issues within a specific company.
Experience and knowledge with personal computers are the most important elements for entering a career as a PC support technician. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that employers prefer candidates with some collegiate experience, though a degree is not a requirement (www.bls.gov). However, a number of positions for PC support technicians may call for a bachelor's degree in information systems or computer science. Master's degrees in business or information technology may be required for managerial or advanced leadership positions.
Some technology companies, such as CISCO and Microsoft, offer certification in server maintenance and office technology. To earn a technology-based certificate, students participate in classroom instruction focusing on solution development, infrastructure architecture and network administration.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Computer support specialists, including help desk technicians and technical support specialists, were expected to have faster-than-average growth of 12% over the 2014-2024 period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median annual pay for these specialists was $48,620 in May 2015. Most computer support specialists who focus on user support earned annual wages from $28,900 to $81,260 at that same time.
Certain PC support technician positions do require a bachelor's degree in computer science or information systems, though others may be available to job candidates with only a few IT courses under their belts. Some of the common duties of a PC support technician include virus removal and installing system updates. Possessing strong customer service skills can be helpful in this career.