Technical Phone Support Specialist: Job Info & Career Requirements

Apr 17, 2019

Technical phone support specialists are computer support professionals who advise and assist businesses or nontechnical customers with hardware and software problems. Read on for more details about educational requirements, useful skills, employment outlook and salaries for technical support specialists.

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Career Definition for Technical Phone Support Specialists

Technical phone support specialists, also known as help desk technicians, respond to calls from businesses and customers who are having difficulties installing or working with computer equipment and software. Their responsibilities include diagnosing computer problems and providing callers with step-by-step solutions over the phone. Technical support specialists may be employed by call centers, computer systems design services, educational services or software companies, among other organizations.

Education Bachelor's degree and on the job training; continuing education is helpful
Job Skills Customer service, knowledge of products and services, communication skills, attention to detail, computer literacy
Median Salary 2018* $62,770 (computer network support specialists), $50,980 (computer user support specialists)
Career Outlook* 11% (2016-2026)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Depending on the employer and position, educational requirements for technical support specialists can range from college computer courses to a 4-year degree in computer or information science. Continuing education courses or programs can also help existing tech specialists keep up with new software and system developments. On-the-job training can take up to one year to complete, as specialists learn how to respond to more complex questions and problems.

Required Skills

In addition to an in-depth knowledge of specific products or services, technical phone support specialists should have a general understanding of computer hardware and network systems. Attention to detail and the ability to respond inpatient manner to nontechnical users are key. Technical support specialists who work over the phone should also have excellent customer service and oral communication skills.

Employment and Earnings Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that computer support specialists will see an 11% increase in jobs nationwide, or faster than average in comparison to all other occupations, from 2016-2026. Outsourcing of call center positions may have an impact on lower-level positions; more opportunities may be available in the health care field. As of May 2018, computer network support specialists earned a median annual salary of $62,770, while computer user support specialists earned $50,980 per year, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Similar jobs include:

Customer Service Representatives

As the face or voice of a company, customer serve representatives provide consumers and product users with information and respond to their complaints in a courteous and professional manner. In 2016, roughly 6% were employed by technical, scientific and other related firms, according to the BLS. New customer service representatives are usually high school graduates who receive on-the-job training. As of May 2018, they earned median yearly wages of $33,750; those employed by technical and scientific services earned slightly more during the same month. As reported by the BLS, employment opportunities for customer service representatives are projected to increase by 5% nationwide from 2016-2026.

Information Clerks

Information clerks can be employed by the courts, government, hotels or human resources departments, and their duties typically include answering questions, collecting information and updating files. Qualified candidates with a high school diploma typically train on the job in the use of office computers and procedures; government employees may take several months to learn about regulatory and program processes. As reported by the BLS, information clerks in general earned median annual salaries of $34,520 in May 2018, with government eligibility interviewers earning $46,020 in the same month. A 3% change in job growth for information clerks in general is expected from 2016-2026, eligibility clerks, as well as court municipal and license clerks, will see a 6% increase in opportunities during the same period.

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