Computer Office Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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Get the truth about a computer office technician's salary, training requirements and career prospects. Read the job descriptions and see the pros and cons of becoming a computer office technician.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Computer Office Technician

As a computer office technician, you could work as a computer repairer, technical support specialist or help-desk support technician. Continue reading the pros and cons to find out if this career is right for you.

Pros of Becoming a Computer Office Technician
Decent job growth potential for computer support specialists (17% increase from 2012-2022)*
Careers can be found in many different industries*
Some positions require work in ventilated and comfortable environments*
Computer repairers may have the option for part-time work*

Cons of Becoming Computer Office Technician
Computer repairer positions are showing slow growth (four percent increase from 2012-2022)*
Some lower-level support positions may be subjected to outsourcing*
Some employers may require you to travel to a client's location*
Employer may require on-call emergency services*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Career Information

Job Duties and Responsibilities

Depending on your line of work, your roles and duties may vary. For example, computer repairers need to know how to fix minor network connections, software issues, computer hardware and monitors. If you work in technical support, you may need to know how to troubleshoot local and wide area networks, work with other information technology (IT) professionals and ensure that network systems are running properly. As a help-desk technician, you may be required to teach users basic troubleshooting techniques, diagnose computer-related issues, provide step-by-step instructions for correcting some issues and set up computer systems.

Salary and Job Outlook

In May 2014, the BLS estimated that the median yearly salary for computer repairers was $37,000, $48,000 for computer user support specialists, and $62,000 for computer network support specialists. The BLS states that computer repair positions are expected to grow slower than average at four percent from 2012-2022. Repairers may find additional growth due to continuous demands for computer hardware upgrade support. Computer support specialists are expected to see a 17% growth in job positions from 2012-2022. Job growth in this field may be caused by organizations requiring system upgrades, an increased reliance of IT support in healthcare fields and additional complex equipment installations.

Education Requirements

When looking for potential educational opportunities, you may find unrelated programs that are described as computer office technology training. These programs often focus on developing skills in word and spreadsheet processing. When pursuing a career as a computer repairer, employers often prefer to hire someone who has earned an associate's degree in a computer-related field, such as computer programming. If you only have a certificate education, some employers may hire you if you have some related work experience. These programs can train you in data security, computer mathematics, computer hardware operations, computer component repair and digital systems design.

If you are looking to start a career as a computer support specialist, an associate's degree education is also required for most positions. Many programs are designed specifically for computer support specialist training. Courses will teach you about concepts in network communications, managing IT projects, emerging technologies, Web applications and system design. Some computer support specialist programs offer internship and cooperative education opportunities.

Useful Skills

To be successful in this field, proficient problem-solving, troubleshooting, interpersonal, listening and speaking skills may be required. Since some jobs require you to work with small objects and specific measurements, you may need to have an eye for detail while having dexterous hand movements. Regardless of your field, your employer may require you possess the following general traits:

  • Exceptional verbal and communication skills
  • Ability to multi-task and learn concepts at a quick pace
  • Ability to work alone or with a team
  • Strong customer service skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

If a company has a computer system installed, related positions are usually offered. Many employers require you to possess strong computer hardware knowledge, experience in computer repair and a background in related computer support. The following examples were from a national job board sampling in April 2012:

  • A wireless company in Florida was looking for a specialist able to solve computer peripheral, desktop computer and network issues. Applicants must have three years of experience and be available to work seven days a week in rotating shifts.
  • A city government in Florida searched for a specialist able to provide support to business networks and server operations. Individuals who apply need to have a bachelor's degree and will be subject to a background check.
  • A retail management company in South Carolina was searching for a technician able to properly assemble computers and troubleshoot e-mail systems. Applicants must have an associate's degree and at least one year of experience.
  • A computer hardware company in New Jersey was looking for a technician able to monitor computer systems and work with related vendors. A strong knowledge of computer hardware is required, and applicants must have at least one year of experience.
  • A workforce firm in California was looking for a repair technician proficient in data collection and working with various types of computer operating systems. An associate's degree and two years of experience are required.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

Since many technical positions require you to earn an associate's degree, you may want to consider earning a bachelor's degree in a field related to computer engineering, information science or computer science to improve your chances for being hired. If you are interested in a lower-level support position that doesn't require any post-secondary education, you may want to consider completing an associate's degree or certificate program in a related field. If you aren't interested in enrolling in a post-secondary program, the military may also provide electronics repair training.

Get Certified

If your career involves fixing computer hardware and software issues, you may want to consider earning the Certified Computer Service Technician (CST) designation offered by Electronics Technicians Association International (ETA). To earn the CST designation, you are required to pass a written exam covering topics in processor components, storage devices, networking concepts, power supplies, troubleshooting, computer operating systems and computer securities. If you are interested in maintaining certification, the ETA requires you to complete ten continuing education hours every year.

Alternative Career Paths

If you would like to work with home audio and video components, you may be interested in a career as a home entertainment equipment installer or repairer. In this field, you may be required to interpret installation manuals, inform clients about proper equipment use, fine tune products for optimal use and repair defective parts. You can learn this trade through on-the-job training or enrolling in some post-secondary education programs. If you are interested in earning certification, the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians (ISCET) offers the Multimedia Systems Technician Journeyman Level (MST) designation and the ETA offers the Residential Electronics Systems Integrator (RESI) designation. In May 2011, the BLS estimated that workers in this field earned a median salary of $34,000.

As a computer programmer, you can be expected to write lines of computer code, check for programming flaws, use various types of computer languages, simplify processes by using code libraries and update older programs. Employers generally require candidates to have earned an associate's or bachelor's degree in fields related to computer science. If you are interested in earning certification, you may be able to earn designations from software and hardware vendors that showcase your product knowledge. In a May 2011 report, the BLS estimated that programmers earned a median salary of $72,000.

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Grand Canyon University

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  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

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Saint Leo University

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  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

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Penn Foster

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  • Career Diploma - Administrative Assistant

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Utica College

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Colorado State University Global

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  • BS - Organizational Leadership

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Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization

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Regent University

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  • Master of Business Administration - General Management
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  • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management

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