Computer Repair Technician: Career, Outlook and Education Information

Explore the career requirements for computer repair technicians. Get the facts about education requirements, average salaries, and predictions for job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Repair Technician?

A computer repair technician resolves issues like hard drive crashes, hardware conflicts, and malfunctioning software. You major responsibilities will include repairing broken computer equipment and installing newly purchased electronics. In order to be effective in this career, you should have an extensive knowledge of how to work with many different kinds of common office technology. These technicians may sometimes conduct their work over the phone, walking users through issues, but hands-on repair and installation is done on-site.

The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as a computer repair technician.

Education Required High school diploma; associate's degree or certificate to specialize, with some positions requiring a bachelor's degree
Education Courses Math, physics, and computer science
Key Responsibilities Resolve computer hardware and software issues, troubleshoot potential problems, repair broken parts and equipment
Certification Professional certification optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12% (computer support specialists)*
Average Salary (2015) $38,990 (computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Computer Repair Technician?

Computer repair technicians resolve common issues, such as crashed hard drives, malfunctioning software, and hardware conflicts. Technicians also deal with computer installation. When you work in the field, you are mostly responsible for repairing what is already broken but must also troubleshoot for potential problems and critical errors. This may include working on printers, modems, computers, software, hard drives, and memory cards.

If you are hired to work as a computer repair technician for a particular company, you might maintain your employer's networks and computer systems. Additionally, you could help to make the company's network more secure, assist with Web development and keep all of the operating systems running up to speed. You may also be in charge of buying and installing software, equipment, and computers.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

Computer repair technicians have an employment outlook for the years of 2014-2024 that represents faster-than-average job growth when compared to all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). An anticipated 12% increase in job opportunities is expected in that decade for all computer, ATM, and equipment repairers. This could result in approximately 88,800 job openings. Advanced diagnostic technology that allows technicians to troubleshoot issues from remote locations is decreasing the need for on-site service calls, according to the BLS. Also, when a computer has a major malfunction, consumers are more likely to replace an older version of computer rather than hire a technician for repairs.

In May 2015, the average annual salary for computer, ATM, and office machine repair technicians was $38,990. In the District of Columbia, repairers could see an average salary of around $49,150. The other top-paying states in 2015 were South Carolina, Washington, Rhode Island, and Alaska.

What Should I Study?

High school courses in math, physics, and computer science can begin to prepare you for a position as a computer repair technician. Many employers require formal training for hires. A computer repair technician certificate program, an associate degree in computer science, or a bachelor's degree in information systems can provide you with advanced skills in the field and can lead to more opportunities and possibly career advancement.

Where Can I Get Certified?

Many computer hardware and software companies offer certification, for technicians who specialize in their products. The International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians can offer you certification if you pass tests on electronics and computers (www.iscet.org). CompTIA has certifications for technicians of computers, networks, printers, and servers (certification.comptia.org).

Also, the Electronics Technicians Association, International has a certified computer service technician program (www.eta-i.org). This certification exam tests you on hardware, software and server repair and installation.

What Are Some Similar Careers?

There are many bachelor's-level careers similar to computer repair that you can pursue. One such option is to become a computer network architect. These professionals design and implement computer networks on both the local and global scales. Computer systems analysts make changes to the way an organization uses its computer networks based on observation and data in order to make things run more efficiently. Database administrators keep documents and other important information securely protected from those trying to view them without authorization.

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