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IT Support Technician: Job Description and Education Requirements

IT support technicians require some formal education. Learn about the education requirements, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Information technology (IT) support technicians troubleshoot software and hardware problems for computer users. There are different ways to become an IT support technician, but most people in this career generally have an associate's degree.

Essential Information

IT support technicians provide assistance to computer users by answering questions, resolving technical problems and maintaining a company's network, software and computer equipment. They are also called desktop support technicians or computer support specialists. Most have an associate's degree in a computer-related field, but some talented individuals may be hired with a high school diploma and trained through on-the-job programs. Other IT support technicians hold professional certifications, which often are acceptable in lieu of a degree.

Required Education Most hold associate's degrees in computer science or related field
Other Requirements Professional certifications available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 12% for computer support specialists
Mean Salary (2015)* $52,430 for computer support specialists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Job Description for an IT Support Technician

IT support technicians offer support to users who are experiencing problems with their computers or software. Support can be provided in person, over the phone or online. They address issues ranging from network systems to individual desktop computers.

IT support technicians can work for computer software or hardware companies, assisting customers with products. More generally, IT support technicians can work in a company's IT department, providing computer support internally to company employees. These technicians are responsible for maintaining the company's computer services and equipment. Their duties can include troubleshooting to detect and solve technical problems, installing or updating required hardware and software and recommending computer products or equipment to improve company productivity.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for all computer support specialists will increase by 12% between 2014 and 2024. This increase can be attributed to the growing use of technology and computer systems in most businesses. The mean annual wage for computer support specialists in May 2015 was approximately $52,430 (www.bls.gov).

Education Requirements for IT Support Technicians

IT support technicians usually hold an associate's degree in computer science or a related field. However, on-the-job training might be provided to a candidate, with only a high school diploma, who demonstrates exceptional communication, problem-solving and analytical skills. An IT support technician who holds a bachelor's degree in computer sciences, information systems or a similar field is the most likely to find advancement opportunities.

Professional Certification Options

In some cases, IT support technicians can substitute a professional certification for postsecondary education. Such certifications demonstrate professional dedication and expertise to prospective employers. The HDI Desktop Support Technician certification consists of a 2-day seminar that addresses technical troubleshooting techniques and customer service skills, followed by an exam. The Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician is awarded to IT support technicians who have 6-12 months of work experience and pass required exams on Windows operating systems and desktop applications.

IT support technicians are essential members of today's workforce because of the widespread presence of computer technologies in businesses. With excellent customer service skills and a knack for solving problems, those who choose a career as an IT support technician should have favorable job prospects. An associate's degree is usually the minimum requirement, but professional certification may be acceptable in place of formal education.

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