Computer Technician Career Overview
As a computer technician, you may troubleshoot personal computer software or hardware either remotely or in person, work at a helpdesk to support and train users, diagnose system performance, and develop and maintain procedural manuals and training materials. Entry-level employment opportunities include computer stores, IT departments at companies and organizations, such as universities and colleges, and telecommunication companies. A great deal of the required training may be carried out online.
|Required Skills||Computer skills, customer-service skills, listening, problem solving, speaking and writing|
|Job Growth*||11% for 2018-2028 (for Computer User Support Specialists)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$50,980 per year (for Computer User Support Specialists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Steps to Become a Computer Technician Online
In addition to experience in setting up and troubleshooting computer systems, computer education and certifications can add valuable credentials and a broad level of knowledge. Many of these options may be pursued online, as detailed in the following steps.
Step 1. Obtain a Computer Technician Certificate or Associate's Degree Online
To satisfy the growing need for computer customer and organizational support, online certificates or associate's degree programs can get you started in this career or support career advancement. Certificate programs may span about two semesters and require approximately 24-30 credits. Associate's degree programs generally take two years and consist of a range of coursework, covering areas such as computer applications and repair, operating systems, hardware, network and systems security, as well as database applications. Some courses may also serve as transfer credits into a bachelor's degree if you choose to pursue further education.
The following are possible online certificate or associate's degree designations:
- IT Support Technician
- PC and Computer Maintenance
- Information Technologies
- Computer Information Systems
Step 2. Continue with a Bachelor's Degree in Information Technology Online
An online bachelor's degree in information technology takes about four years, requiring broader study than the certificate or associate's degree. While all education options can get you access to entry-level employment, the bachelor's degree provides you with a higher level of qualifications and is usually required if you choose to continue with a master's degree to qualify for senior-level positions. Bachelor's degree coursework includes systems and database management, software development, and ethics training.
The following are possible online bachelor's degree concentrations:
- Networking and computer system security
- Computing and security technology
- Enterprise computing
- Information Systems: Design and Development
Step 3. Add Certification as a Computer Technician
Certain employment opportunities may ask for specific software or hardware knowledge that requires certification. Certifications are typically offered by computer and software vendors. They might also be included with certificate or degree programs. Certifications may also be made available through professional organizations, such as the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals (ICCP). Earning certifications might require a minimum amount of experience, postsecondary education, and a written or oral exam. Although the training and course materials for many computer-related certifications can be studied online, most involve proctored examinations that may require travel to specific testing locations.