There are a number of professional certifications that aspiring computer technicians might consider, with the most basic being the CompTIA A+ certificate. Many corporations, such as Cisco and Microsoft, also offer certification for technicians in order to designate them as specialists in a particular system. Most certification is earned by writing and passing a qualifying exam.
Certified computer technicians repair and service computers, servers and other hardware for individuals and organizations. These professionals have typically gained experience as a technician and been certified by an industry-recognized organization or vendor. Certifications are available in a number of different specialties, as well as for particular computer products. Technicians with these certifications may find it easier to find a job.
|Required Training||Training in specialty or product|
|Exam Requirements||Varies by certification; computer-based exam is typical|
|Specialization Options||Technical fields such as systems installation or security; vendor products such as those made by Microsoft or Cisco|
|Average Salary (2019)*||$58,000 for Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technicians (MCDST)|
|Job Outlook (2018-2028)**||10% for Computer Support Specialists|
Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Certification for a Computer Technician
The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is an industry-neutral organization that certifies qualified candidates in a number of technical fields (www.comptia.org). These certifications may help aspiring computer technicians distinguish themselves from the competition and may increase employment opportunities. The CompTIA A+ certification is the most basic credential offered and tests candidates on systems installation, maintenance and security. Certification requires successfully completing a qualifying examination.
Computer technicians may also consider vendor certifications, such as those offered by Microsoft, Cisco and other corporations. Microsoft (MS) certifies qualified individuals as Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists (MCTS) in Windows technologies or MS system technologies for the office. To become a MCTS, technicians must successfully complete a corresponding certification exam(s).
Certified Computer Technician Career Info
Certified computer technicians may find entry-level employment with a hardware or software vendor, computer repair shop or within the technical support department for an organization or corporation. Regardless of employer, most certified computer technicians work within an office environment fielding questions, monitoring computer systems and performing repairs when required. Some technicians may work in call centers, helping consumers fix their computer issues over the phone. Depending on experience and knowledge, certified technicians might advance to shift supervisors or managerial positions like a system administrator.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of computer support specialists is expected to increase by 10% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that the median salaries for computer network support specialists and computer user support specialists were $62,770 and $50,980, respectively, in May 2018. A search in 2019 on PayScale.com revealed that Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technicians (MCDST) earned an average annual wage of $58,000.
A certified computer technician typically works in a support role in an office setting, where they are responsible for tasks such as troubleshooting, repairs, and monitoring a network. Some certified computer technicians work in a repair shop, while others find employment in a call center. Although certification is not always necessary, it can greatly help to increase employability.