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Computer Field Technician: Job Requirements, Duties and Overview

Working as a computer field technician requires some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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A computer technician is the person who can fix your computer when you are unable to repair it with solely the help of a computer support specialist over the phone. These professionals may work in clients' homes, offices, or businesses, fixing and repairing equipment.

Essential Information

Computer field technicians service, update and repair personal and business computers. Most technicians earn an associate degree in electronics, computer servicing or computer science and become certified before finding work. In addition to formal training from a community or vocational college, new hires typically receive some on-the-job training that is specific to the needs of the company. The growth of job opportunities is expected to slow down due to cheaper and more efficient technology, as well as a rise in automated help.

Required Education Associate's degree in electronics, computer servicing or computer science; on-the-job training provided with employment
Other Requirements Voluntary certification available through the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians and the Electronics Technicians Association
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers*
Median Salary $36,840 for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers (2015)*;
$39,104 for computer technicians (2016)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Computer Field Technician Job Requirements

In addition to education, certification assures employers that a job candidate possesses the necessary skills and experience to do the job. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians and the Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) are among professional organizations that offer several certifications for computer field technicians. Techs may earn, for example, the ETA's Certified Computer Service Technician designation by passing an exam that covers topics such as memory and processor characteristics, peripheral devices, preventive maintenance and operating systems.

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Duties of a Computer Field Tech

Computer field technicians make house calls and travel to businesses to fix computer problems that can't be solved over the phone. In conjunction with tech support teams, they diagnose and remedy a wide range of computer hardware and software malfunctions, as well as perform routine updates and upgrades. Field technicians assess whether problems can be resolved on site or need to be addressed in a shop.

Instead of fixing computer subsystems, techs may simply replace inexpensive parts to reduce business down time. Printers, scanners and other peripheral devices may be diagnosed and repaired by field techs, as well. Businesses may also contract computer field techs to perform regular preventive maintenance on their computers.

Computer Field Technician Career Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 131,600 computer, automated teller and office machine repairers employed in various industries in 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS expected job availability to increase 2% between 2014 and 2024 due to companies upgrading and replacing their technology. The median wage for computer technicians, as reported by PayScale.com, was $39,104 per year, as of October 2016.

Any new computer technician can expect to receive specific on-the-job training from their employers that will get them comfortable with the machines they will be working with. General training for these professionals can be found through technical school programs and associate's degree programs. Certification is available and useful in convincing a potential employer that you have the necessary skills to complete the work.

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