Computer service technicians may work in corporations or service repair companies. They install, maintain and repair computer equipment. These professionals may expect sluggish job growth during the next decade.
Corrupted files, hard drive crashes, outdated hardware, failed operating systems or particularly nasty computer viruses represent some of the daily challenges tackled by computer service technicians. These especially tech-savvy individuals must possess creative problem-solving skills. Certification and training helps produce more attractive job candidates for this profession.
|Required Education||Associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Experience with electronics and computers; voluntary certification is available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||2% for all computer, ATM and office equipment repairers*|
|Median Salary (2016)||$42,635**|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Computer Service Technician Education
Preparation can begin as early as high school, where prospective computer service technicians may take vocational courses. Pre-college vocational courses can provide transferable credits to an associate's degree. Most aspiring computer service technicians earn a 1-2 year associate's degree in electronics through a vocational school or community college. Students take courses in microprocessors, programming, network security, electronics maintenance, troubleshooting and software installation.
Individuals should consider A+ certification through the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), which is intended for individuals with at least 500 hours of work experience (www.comptia.org). This entry-level certification consists of two exams; the first exam tests technical knowledge and professional customer service skills, and the second exam presents problem solving and troubleshooting scenarios.
The A+ certification is the most popular entry-level certification, but advancing computer service technicians can pursue specialty certifications as well. The Electronic Technicians Association (ETA) offers about 50 electronics certifications. Applicants working toward these advanced levels first need to pass the Associate Electronics Technician (CETa) exam on basic electronics (www.eta-i.org). Obtaining CompTIA and ETA certifications lets employers know that job candidates meet professional and common knowledge standards.
Many employers and certification organizations have continuing education requirements for practicing technicians. However, whether they gain work experience, attend seminars or take additional training courses, computer service technicians need to consistently update their hardware and software knowledge as computing technology evolves.
Computer Service Technician Career Information
Computer service technicians may maintain personal computers and business networks, and the job frequently involves a mixture of software installation and hands-on electronic maintenance. Computing components are often reinstalled or replaced rather than repaired since this is often more cost-effective. Technicians deal with clients who may or may not possess basic computing skills, so patient customer service and effective problem solving are essential skills.
Replacement of parts and hardware upgrades are expected to contribute to a slower-than-average 2% job growth for computer repairers over the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Individuals with certification or other formal education may expect more favorable job prospects. The median salary for computer service technicians was $42,635 as of 2016, according to PayScale.com.
Computer service technicians need an associate's degree in a related field. Employers may also require A+ certification. Additional certifications for specific software applications and hardware products are also available.