Customer service technicians answer calls and try to help customers address a technical problem with a product, or travel to homes and businesses to repair or maintain products. They may work in telecommunications, with computers or office machines, or specialize in electronics repair.
Customer service technicians are responsible for an extensive range of duties, such as hardware installation, connection repair and general maintenance. Numerous industries have need for skilled technicians, including manufacturing, telecommunications and electronics companies. Education and training requirements typically vary, but an assortment of specialized training options exist.
|Telecommunications Equipment Installers and Repairers||Computer, Automated Teller, and Office Machine Repairers||Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment|
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED minimum||High school diploma or GED minimum||High school diploma or GED minimum|
|Other Requirements||Often, employer-sponsored training||Often, employer-sponsored training||Often, employer-sponsored training|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-4%||2%||-4%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$54,570||$36,840||$55,690|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Customer service technicians working from a remote location, such as a call center, help customers with troubleshooting in order to determine the specific nature of a technical malfunction. Some customer service technicians report to customers' homes or places of business to deal with maintenance and installation issues.
The working environment of a customer service technician will ultimately depend on the needs of employers. Professionals working with power, water or natural gas providers generally have to travel between sites and adhere to extensive safety standards while performing assigned duties. Employees of companies that assist consumers with home theater and personal computing often go to various locations for service calls with minimal safety risks.
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Customer Service Technician Requirements
For most customer service technicians, the vast majority of skills and knowledge that are used on the job are learned through employer-sponsored training programs. Though not required for most customer service technician positions, an undergraduate degree can increase a candidate's employment prospects.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aspiring customer service technicians will need to have a high school diploma or proof of completion of an officially authorized equivalent, such as the General Educational Development (GED) program (www.bls.gov). Some companies administer an academic proficiency examination before hiring candidates for certain technically demanding customer service technician positions.
An associate's or bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or computer science can lead to a position with technology and data processing companies. Individuals with a more general undergraduate education in liberal arts-based subjects, such as economics, may find that their mathematics and communication skills are an asset in obtaining jobs.
Certification of completion of a vocational school or community college technician program can make a potential candidate more desirable to employers. Training programs of this nature focus on specific areas, such as electronics or information technology.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Job prospects for customer service technicians can vary by area of specialty. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that commercial electrical and electronics installers and repairers could expect job decline of 4% from 2014-2024. According to the BLS, telecommunications equipment installers and repairers could also expect to see a 4% decline in jobs during that same interval. The BLS said that computer, ATM and office machine repairers were facing slower-than-average job growth during the same period, just 2%.
Wages can also vary by area of specialty. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for electrical and electronics repairers who handle commercial and industrial problems was $55,690 in May 2015; while those who work on transportation issues earned median annual wages of $58,990. During that same time, computer, ATM and office machine repairers earned a median annual salary of $36,840. Telecommunications equipment installers and repairers (except line installers) earned a median yearly salary of $54,570; while line installers and repairers were paid median annual wages of $52,920.
Entry-level positions for most customer service technicians require a high school diploma or GED. An associate's or bachelor's degree in electrical engineering or computer science may be an asset for those interested in working with technology and data processing companies.