Career Definition for a PC Technician
PC technicians diagnose and repair personal computer hardware and software problems, often at the customer's location. They schedule routine maintenance and keep inventory records of a company's computers, printers, and copiers. There are several other career options for PC technicians with education and experience. They can become computer network supervisors, open their own repair shop, or have a career repairing other computer-run devices, such as alarm systems.
|Education||Associate's degree or recognized certificate|
|Job Skills||Computer, interpersonal, competence in directing how hardware and software interact, ability to repair computer system components|
|Median Salary (May 2017)||$37,710 (for computer, automated teller, and machine repairers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||-2% (decline) (for computer, automated teller and machine repairers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The common educational requirements for a career as a PC technician include an associate's degree or a certificate of completion from a vocational school. Some students complete bachelor's degree programs in computer science, which are offered by many universities and colleges. Some of the courses found in these programs include computer technology, electrical system design, and systems administration courses.
PC technicians are expected to have both good computer skills and good people skills to be able to make customer service calls. PC technicians are required to be highly competent in directing how hardware and software are used. Specifically, they must understand how personal computer systems interact with each other. They should also be able to repair other computer system components, such as printers, modems, and other accessory equipment.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 2% decrease for computer repairers, but a faster than average employment growth of 11% for computer support specialists from 2016 to 2026. The need for computer service technicians will continue to grow as computer use increases in the coming decades. Data collected by the BLS shows the median salary for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers in May 2017 was $18.13 an hour, or $37,710 annually. Computer support specialists were earning a median salary of $52,810 during that same time period, according to the BLS.
Alternative Career Options
Telecommunications Station Installer and Repairer
Similar to PC technicians, telecommunications station installers and repairers install equipment, such as telephones, modems, and cable television equipment and are called to fix this equipment when it breaks. Telecommunications workers often need a certificate or associate's degree in a telecommunications-related field to enter this career, and on-the-job training is common. As of May 2017, these workers had a median annual salary of $53,380, according to the BLS. The BLS projects an 8% decline for this career from 2016 to 2026.
General Maintenance Worker
Those who like fixing things other than PCs might prefer the variety of the job duties in a career as a general maintenance worker. General maintenance workers maintain and fix machinery, plumbing systems, and other items in buildings. These workers typically don't complete specialized training or education in a particular field, but they may take a high school shop class or complete a vocational program with courses in a variety of areas, such as electricity, woodworking, or plumbing. To learn the job, a maintenance worker may first work alongside a worker with more experience. General maintenance workers had a median annual salary of $37,670 in 2017. Job growth in this field is expected to be as fast as average, with an 8% increase in jobs projected by the BLS for the period between 2016 and 2026.