Computer hardware technicians work in a variety of settings installing, maintaining and repairing computer hardware. Jobs in this field typically require an associate's degree in a related subject. The outlook for these positions is for them to grow slower than average.
Computer hardware technicians work to install, service and replace the hardware of business and personal computers. An associate's degree in computer hardware technician training can be found at many vocational and technical schools. A technician is often expected to be certified; certifications are offered through multiple organizations at many different levels. The demand for computer repairers is expected to decline with a rise in cheaper and more efficient technology.
|Required Education||Associate degree|
|Certification||Voluntary; may be preferred by some employers|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||2% for all computer, ATM and office machine repairers|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$38,990 annually for all computer, ATM and office machine repairers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Computer Hardware Technician Education Requirements
Because computer hardware technicians are responsible for solving complex problems, the profession typically requires an applicant to earn a college degree. Many technical and vocational schools offer computer hardware technician associate degree programs. These 2-year programs teach the fundamentals of support, networking skills, algebra, microcomputers and operating systems. Other relevant subjects include computer science and electronics.
Certification is not a formal requirement for all hardware technicians; however, many employers prefer applicants who have been professionally certified. There are numerous organizations that offer various levels of credentialing, and the specific program will depend upon the needs of the employer. The certification process often requires an applicant to pass through multiple stages of examination before achieving a status of journeyman technician.
Much of the education that hardware technicians will receive is specific to the needs and requirements of the company that employs them. On-the-job training is provided by all employers and will provide a technician with both hands-on and classroom instruction, often lasting several months.
Computer hardware technicians perform tasks that revolve around the installation, maintenance and replacement of hardware. They may be employed by hardware companies, computer manufacturers or support crews, or be self-employed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the demand for computer and other related repairers will increase by 2% between 2014 and 2024, (www.bls.gov). The BLS reports that computer, automated teller and office machine repairers held 106,100 jobs in 2015, and the mean hourly wage of repairers was $18.75.
Many entry-level technician positions can be obtained directly after earning a college degree. Advancement opportunities can be good for those with years of experience and a high level of certification and education, allowing a technician to advance to managerial or supervisory roles.
Computer hardware technicians can seek voluntary certification which may increase their job prospects. Certification is available in this particular specialty as well as in specific hardware and software applications. The average salary for these positions is about $39,000 annually.