The type of education required to work as a help desk specialist depends on the employer, but short certificate programs are available. A help desk specialist certificate program is not typically an introductory program; it is designed for those who already have a functional understanding of computer operating systems. In addition to learning about advanced networking and database management, students learn basic communication, business and management skills.
These programs are available at community colleges and universities. The length varies by school, but often accommodates the schedules of professionals. Admissions requirements also vary, but usually applicants should already have completed some college-level computer science courses and/or be able to pass a placement exam.
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- Computer and Information Support Services, Other
- Information Science and Studies General
- Information Technology
- Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
Certificate Degree Programs for Help Desk Specialization
Most certificate programs for aspiring help desk specialists have 5-10 main courses and then offer a series of electives. They are designed to address particular career goals via course flexibility and provide concise technical training in the field. Specific courses topics may include:
- Networking and communications
- Advanced servers
- Information and database management
- Interacting with users and customer service
- Business applications
- Internet essentials
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer support specialists, including help desk technicians, is predicted to rise by about 12% between 2014 and 2024. In 2014, such individuals held 766,900 jobs across the country. They made a median annual salary of $51,470 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Help desk specialists and computer support technicians typically earn certification through specific software and hardware companies. They can gain certification in Microsoft or Apple operating systems by completing a series of examinations, many of which can be taken online. There are also individual, for-profit organizations that offer certification in a variety of computer science fields, commonly requiring the completion of an examination.
Help desk specialist certificate programs are designed for professionals or those with working knowledge of computer systems. Curricula include elective options that are geared for specific career concentrations.