Microsoft Desktop Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Desktop support technician certificate programs instruct students in a variety of installation, repair and configuration methods related to personal computers (PCs).

Essential Information

Becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate can provide proof of proficiency when dealing with Microsoft Windows hardware and software operating systems. Certification candidates will need to pass Microsoft examinations in order to be awarded such credentials, so relevant experience and knowledge are essential.

Desktop support technician certificate programs typically require 25-31 credit hours and can be completed in two to three semesters. Curriculum is generally composed of courses involving computers, computer-related equipment, and electronics. Students develop knowledge and skills involving the repair, support, and maintenance of computers, operating systems, hardware, and a variety of other computer-related components.

Additionally, certain programs require students to participate in internships to attain real-work experience in computer maintenance and repair. Applicants must be proficient with computers.

Desktop Support Technician Certificate

Through a desktop support technician certificate program, students learn to work with many programming and networking tools, such as Linux, UNIX, PERL, Cisco, and Java. Certificate programs also tend to focus on methods and techniques for helping others purchase the right computer. Graduates are trained to walk others through basic setup, operating, and maintenance procedures.

  • Computer hardware and software
  • Introduction to computer networks and operating systems
  • Troubleshooting computers and desktop applications
  • Upgrading and maintaining PCs
  • Customer support and help desk theories and concepts
  • Local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) technologies

Popular Career Options

Graduates of desktop support technician certificate programs may find entry-level jobs in computer and desktop operation, maintenance, repair, and support. Workers in these areas are needed in many employment environments, including industrial, business, and commercial settings. Some careers available to holders of desktop support technician certificates include:

  • Computer technician
  • Information technology (IT) specialist
  • Help desk analyst
  • Field service technician
  • Computer support specialist

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer user support specialists earned an average salary of $52,430 as of 2015. During this time, specialists working in the aerospace products and parts manufacturing earned the highest average salaries, at $82,250. Job opportunities for computer user support specialists were projected to rise 13% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average.

Continuing Education

Students who are looking to further their education might pursue an associate's or bachelor's degree. Computer support specialists often choose to work toward a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering, or a similar computer-related area. Job candidates with an undergraduate degree might be more attractive to potential employers that those with a certificate. Additionally, this additional education could allow for occupational advancement. Many technical certifications also are available to prove a candidate's proficiency in certain subjects and expand job opportunities.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification provides validation of a candidate's skills and abilities to work with Windows operating systems and provide customer service to Windows users. Those who wish to become MCSA certified must pass two Microsoft exams to demonstrate their knowledge of user support and troubleshooting of desktop applications on Windows 7 or 8 operating systems. After earning an MCSA certification, individuals have the option of seeking additional certifications, such as Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).

Students in a desktop support technician certificate program learn to provide effective customer service to troubleshoot potential problems with the PCs of patrons. Graduates may work as computer user support specialists, or pursue a degree in a related field.

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