PC Technician: Job Outlook & Career Information

Learn the education and training requirements to become a personal computer technician. Discover the salary and job outlook for this career, as well as some alternative career options.

Career Definition

Personal computer (PC) technicians, or computer service technicians, are specialized workers in the general field of computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers. PC technicians diagnose and repair personal computer hardware and software problems, often at the customer's location. They schedule routine maintenance and keep inventory records of a company's computers, printers, and copiers. There are several other career options for PC technicians with education and experience. They can become computer network supervisors, open their own repair shop, or have a career repairing other computer-run devices, such as alarm systems.

How to Become a PC Technician

Required Education

The common educational requirements for a career as a PC technician include an associate's degree or a certificate of completion from a vocational school. Some complete bachelor's degree programs in computer science, which are offered by many universities and colleges. Some of the courses found in these programs include computer technology, electrical system design, and systems administration courses.

Skills Required

PC technicians are expected to have good computer skills and good people skills to be able to make customer service calls. PC technicians are required to be highly competent in directing how hardware and software are used. Specifically, they must understand how personal computer systems interact with each other. They should also be able to repair other computer system components, such as printers, modems, and other accessory equipment.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while growth in this field is projected to be slower than average from 2012 to 2022, a need for computer service technicians will continue to grow as computer use increases in the coming decades. Data collected by the BLS shows the median salary for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers in May 2012 was $17.60 an hour, or $36,620 annually.

Alternative Career Options

Telecommunications Station Installer and Repairer

Like PC technicians, telecommunications station installers and repairers install equipment, such as telephones, modems, and cable television equipment, and are called to fix this equipment when it breaks. Telecommunications workers often need a certificate or associate's degree in a telecommunications-related field to enter this career, and on-the-job training is common. As of May 2012, these workers had a median annual salary of $54,530, according to the BLS. The BLS projects slower-than-average job growth for this career from 2012 to 2022.

General Maintenance Worker

Those who like fixing things other than PCs might prefer the variety of the job duties in a career as a general maintenance worker. General maintenance workers maintain and fix machinery, plumbing systems, and other items in buildings. These workers typically don't complete specialized training or education in a particular field, but they may take a high school shop class or complete a vocational program with courses in a variety of areas, such as electricity, woodworking, or plumbing. To learn the job, a maintenance worker may first work alongside a worker with more experience. General maintenance workers had a median annual salary of $35,210 in 2012. Job growth in this field is expected to be about average, with a 9% increase in jobs projected by the BLS for the period between 2012 and 2022.

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