How Can I Become a Computer Repair Technician?

Research what it takes to become a computer repair technician. Learn about education requirements, job outlook and salary information 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 Repair Technician?

This career falls under the telecommunications equipment installer and repairer industry, which works in improving the transmission of communication signals provided by devices located in business offices and homes. Computer repair technicians specifically focus more on troubleshooting equipment, installing proper routing signals, rewiring defected cables, updating technology, and testing newly installed software. These technicians are also responsible for detecting and fixing computer malfunctions and replacing or repairing parts.

The following table provides an overview of this career:

Education Required High school diploma; postsecondary training preferred
Key Responsibilities Install and repair computer systems, replace parts, advise clients
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) -12% (for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers)*
Median Salary (2015) $36,840 (for computer, automated teller, and office machine repairers) *

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Options for Computer Repair Technicians

You could enroll in a computer repair or computer repair and support certificate program. Some schools offer certificate programs that could prepare you for CompTIA A+ certification, which is designed for computer support technicians. Most certificate programs take about six months to complete; some can take as long as one year.

Because an understanding of electronics is essential to becoming a computer repair technician, you might consider enrolling in an associate's degree program in electronics technology or electronics and computer technology. Before applying to one of these programs, you should make sure the program covers computer repair topics sufficiently; some associate's programs only include 1-2 courses related to computer repair. You can usually earn an associate's degree after two years of study.

What Will I Learn?

In a computer repair certificate program, you'll learn the fundamentals of computer operating systems and system hardware. Lab courses will give you hands-on training in computer repair. You might explore a computer's architecture, which is vital to the understanding of how computers work and how they can be repaired. You'll also learn how to remove and replace parts, troubleshoot error messages and run scans on software programs to detect system and hardware malfunctions.

Associate's programs in electronics and computer technology often include courses in circuitry and electrical control systems. General education courses like introductory communication or English composition are usually required. Similar to certificate programs, you'll discuss computer repair topics like computer architecture, PC troubleshooting and computer hardware.

Get Certified

You could earn the CompTIA A+ designation by taking a certification exam. CompTIA tests can be taken at Pearson VUE and Prometric testing centers. You'll need to re-certify every three years by taking an updated exam or by participating in CompTIA's continuing education program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), certification shows employers that you're proficient in computer repair and may lead to an increase in job opportunities.

Typical Job Duties

Computer repair technicians install and repair computer systems as well as computer system components. The BLS notes that technicians replace some computer parts more frequently than they repair them; certain parts can't be repaired, and clients may not have time to wait for such repairs to be made. Parts that might be replaced include video cards, hard drives and network cards.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Two careers that are closely related to a computer technician repairing job are as a broadcast and sound engineering technician and a line installer. According to BLS, broadcast engineering technicians made a median salary of $41,780 in 2015. This job usually involves managing equipment and operating devices for broadcast mediums including radio, film, cable TV, live concerts, and studio recording. In 2015, the median salary for line installers and repairers was $61,430. In this profession, you can look forward to working outside with electrical cables, ensuring that power line networks are operating properly for computer, phone, and electricity usage.

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:

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