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Computer Office Technician: Employment Info & Requirements

Learn about the job duties of a computer office technician. Explore what education and skills are necessary as well as employment outlook and salary to decide if this is the right career for you.

Career Definition for a Computer Office Technician

Computer office technicians provide support to office workers who use computer technology. They may set up and repair hardware, install software, establish network and Internet connections, and connect computers to printers, scanners, and copiers. They may also diagnose computer problems by running diagnostic software and by speaking with computer users. They may work as field reps for computer repair companies, in-house information technology (IT) staff for larger organizations, or independent consultants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that job growth for this occupation will be average for all occupations; continued use of computer systems in the workplace often contributes to job stability (www.bls.gov).

Education High school diploma or GED, associate degree in computer technology or related field, some employers may also require certifications and computer repair experience
Job Skills Knowledge of computer hardware, software, operating systems, networking, and peripherals
Median Salary (2018)* $53,470 per year (computer support specialists)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 11% (faster than average) (computer support specialists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational and Certification Requirements

Many computer office technology professionals have a high school diploma, GED, or an associate's degree in computer technology or a related field, such as technology. Computer repair experience and training are also important qualifications for many employers. Certification, such as CompTIA A+ can also enhance job prospects and may be required by some employers. Candidates must pass two exams covering skills and practical knowledge and have at least 500 hours of experience in computer repair (www.comptia.org)

Skills Needed

Computer office technicians must have strong communication and technical skills. They must be analytical with good diagnostic and problem-solving abilities. Organization, time-management, and customer service skills are essential. They must be familiar with operating systems, commonly used office software programs, database systems, network and Internet connections, computer hardware, and related equipment, such as printers, copiers, and scanners. In addition to being able to work independently, they must have good interpersonal skills and the ability to work as part of a team. Computer office technicians must also have hand and finger dexterity, in addition to good eyesight.

Career Forecast and Economic Future

While the BLS predicts faster than average job growth of 11% for computer support specialists, including computer office technicians, throughout the 2016-2026 period, continued complexity of computer systems requiring fine-tuning and repairs should provide consistent opportunities. As of May 2018, the median annual salary earned by computer support specialists was reported as $53,470 by the BLS.

Alternative Careers

Other jobs similar to a computer office technician that might appeal to you include:

Network Administrator

For those interested in the installation and maintenance of computer network equipment, becoming a network administrator may be a good career choice. A network administrator researches what technology is needed, sets up computer equipment and devices, controls user access, runs performance tests, gathers data to find areas of improvement and educates computer users about software and machines. Although a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or another technology field is required by a majority of employers hiring network administrators, some may be able to find jobs in smaller, less complex organizations with only a technical certificate and related work experience.

With the growth of cloud technology and other advancements, network and computer systems administrators should see a 6% increase in job opportunities during the 2016-2026 decade, as stated in BLS predictions. The BLS estimated that network administrators earned a median yearly wage of $82,050 in 2018.

Computer Repairer

Those seeking a career fixing computers but do not want to pursue the certifications that computer office technicians may need should consider becoming a computer repairer. These repair professionals fix and change out broken parts, hook up new equipment, clean dirty devices, perform testing to make sure everything runs properly and document maintenance activities for invoicing and warranty purposes. To find employment in the field, a high school diploma and computer repair courses at a technical school are usually sufficient. Excellent customer service and communication skills are also essential.

As of 2018, the median annual salary for computer repairers is $38,480, according to the BLS. The BLS also projects an employment decrease of 2% for ATM, computer and office machine repairers from 2016-2026 because of the development and use of diagnostic software.


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