Computer Technician: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a computer technician within the growing field of computer services. Learn about salary, education needed, and training to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Support Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Computer Technician?

Computer technicians install, maintain and repair computer hardware and software components. Much of the time, computer technicians work for a company setting up computers and maintaining the intranet and/or internet. They will also install the software needed by the employees of that company. These experts will troubleshoot user problems and analyze the fix. Technicians will be in charge of user security, maintenance, upgrading, and service of the computers and servers. They will also be versed at replacing hardware or running the latest updates for the computers or the programs.

The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Certificate or associate's degree; bachelor's required for some positions
Education Field of Study Computer hardware, operating and networking systems, computer administration
Key Responsibilities Install and maintain computers; upgrade hardware and software
Certification Voluntary
Job Growth (2014-2024) 12%* (all computer support specialists)
Average or Median Salary (2017) $42,375** (PC maintenance technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

What Education Do I Need for a Career as a Computer Technician?

Completion of a diploma or certificate program designed specifically for computer technician training is likely sufficient to get you started on your career. Computer technician diplomas and certificates are offered by community colleges or through the extension or continuing education programs at universities. You could expect to complete courses in computer hardware, operating systems, networking, computer administration and information systems. Computer technician certificate programs can typically be completed in 9-12 months.

Some community colleges allow you to apply course credits from a computer technician certificate program towards an associate degree in a computer-related field. Earning an associate degree in a field such as computer software technology could improve your earning potential.

Do I Need to Get Certified?

In a field where technology evolves rapidly, obtaining professional certification could show employers that you possess up-to-date knowledge and skills which meet industry-wide standards. Certification exams test your knowledge of computer hardware, operating systems, peripheral hardware components and networking protocols, as well as your ability to perform installation, troubleshooting and maintenance functions, such as formatting and partitioning hard drives. Some community colleges offer training programs that prepare you for certification exams.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

As a computer technician, you'll likely be responsible for maintaining and repairing computers. You could also expect to install, configure and upgrade hardware and software components. Some employers might require you to provide technical support to customers online or over the phone. In more advanced computer technician positions, you could be responsible for setting up computer networks and ensuring network security.

What Salary Could I Earn?

According to data published by Salary.com, computer technicians earned a median annual salary of $42,375 as of January 2017. Salary.com reported that computer technicians in the top-paid ten percent of the salary range earned more than $52,958 in 2017, whereas those in the bottom-paid ten percent earned less than $33,444. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that during the 2014 - 2024 decade, jobs for all computer support specialists are expected to increase by 12%.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative careers for computer technicians would definitely include computer hardware engineers who work planning and designing a variety of computer tech products like processors, circuit boards, and wireless memory devices. Maybe you'd be more interested in a career as a database administrator, where you'd spend time organizing, storing, and protecting information for a school, financial institute, or library. Other related work could include computer network architecture, which involves designing and building LANs or WANs. Another career could be as an operations research analyst, which requires the use of analytical methods and higher mathematics to identify and solve complex issues.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Lincoln Tech

    Lincoln Tech responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Lincoln Tech:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • University of Alaska

    Campus Locations:

    • Alaska: Anchorage
  • Yavapai College

    Campus Locations:

    • Arizona: Prescott
  • Withlacoochee Technical Institute

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Inverness
  • Wiregrass Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Valdosta
  • Winter Park Tech

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Southwestern College

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Chula Vista
  • West Georgia Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Waco