IT Support Technician Careers: Job Description & Salary Information

About this article
An IT user support technician's median annual salary is around $48,000. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming an IT support technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being an IT Support Technician

Information technology (IT) support technicians can work in different positions depending on their education and experience, such as help-desk or computer support. Read more about the pros and cons of becoming an IT support technician below:

Pros of an IT Support Career
Many different paths to an IT support career (some positions require only a 1-year certificate)*
Employers typically provide on-the-job training*
Can work in a variety of industries (healthcare, education, finance, etc.)*
They play an important role in the daily upkeep of their organization's networks by finding solutions to problems as they occur*

Cons of an IT Support Career
May be required to work nights or weekends*
Some lower-level positions are being outsourced*
Travel to the source of the problem may be required in some cases*
Some positions may require working with people who are not used to using IT or computers, which makes problem solving more difficult*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

IT support technicians help individuals and organizations with computer-related problems. Depending on the job title, they may work in an IT department or from a remote location. Help-desk technicians typically provide phone, Internet or on-site support to remote users having computer problems. Technical support technicians typically work in an IT department, performing maintenance duties and solving network and Internet systems issues.

IT support technicians diagnose computer and network issues by communicating with users. They may fix computer issues themselves, or provide users with problem-solving instructions. IT support technicians may also assist users with installation and provide instructions for the proper use of hardware, software or other devices.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IT user support technicians earned a median annual salary of around $48,000, while the top 10% earned around $80,000 or more as of May 2014. The BLS predicted that all computer support specialists would see a 17% growth in employment between 2012 and 2022, with significant growth occurring in the healthcare industry.

The BLS also noted that the outsourcing of lower-level IT support positions may limit employment growth, but more companies are beginning to move these jobs to low-cost areas. Job prospects should be best for individuals with a bachelor's degree and a strong IT background, according to the BLS.

What Are the Requirements?

According to the BLS, there are no specific education requirements for IT support technicians. Entry-level positions may only require a background in computers, but more advanced positions may require a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field, such as computer science or information technology.

Analytical, technical and communication skills are essential for this career, and you must be willing to keep up with changing technology. Some employers also offer on-the-job training relevant to the position.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Many employers are looking for experienced IT support technicians with an associate's degree and knowledge of various operating systems, applications and networks. The following are a few examples of job postings found in April 2012:

  • A Chicago-based business information company advertised for an experienced IT support technician. The ideal candidate should be willing to travel and have knowledge of networks and Microsoft applicants. The employer didn't specify a degree requirement.
  • A New York company was looking for an IT support technician with an associate's degree in computer science or information technology and 2 years of experience in the IT field. Applicants should also have 2-3 years of experience in help desk and network support environments, as well as excellent communication and customer service skills.
  • An Illinois company placed an ad for an IT support technician with at least an associate's degree in a computer-related field to provide support for their warehouse management systems. Applicants must be willing to work any shift.

How to Stand out

According to the BLS, most IT support positions do not require a bachelor's degree, so getting one can help you stand out in the field. In addition to a degree, you'll need to keep up with the latest developments in hardware, software, applications and networks.

Get Certified

You can demonstrate your skills and abilities to future employers with professional certification. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) certification for experienced IT professionals. You can register to take various exams depending on your area of expertise, such as Enterprise Support Technician, Consumer Support Technician, Enterprise Desktop Support and Enterprise Desktop Administrator for various Windows operating systems.

Other Careers to Consider

If working as an IT support technician doesn't seem like the right job for you, you may consider a career as a network and computer systems administrator. According to the BLS, most employers require a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field, but an associate's degree or less in combination with experience can be enough to qualify for some positions. Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for installing, maintaining and repairing an organization's computer systems and networks. According to the BLS, these workers earned a median annual salary of $71,000 in May 2011, and the number of jobs is expected to grow by 28% from 2010 to 2020.

If you would rather work with software and data, you may be interested in a career as a database administrator. According to the BLS, most positions require a bachelor's degree in an IT-related field and 1-5 years of experience. These workers are responsible for maintaining an organization's information database and keeping the data secure and available for authorized users. According to the BLS, database administrators earned a median annual salary of $75,000 in May 2011, and the field is expected to grow by 31% between 2010 and 2020.

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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master: Information Technology - Project Management
  • BS in IT - IT Management
  • AASIT: Network Admin

Which subject are you interested in?

Saint Leo University

  • BS: Computer Science
  • BS: Computer Science - Information Assurance
  • AA: Information Technology
  • AA: Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • Master - Information Technology Management
  • BS - Information Technology
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Security

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Bridge to the M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • M.S. in Information Technology Management
  • B.S. in Information Technology
  • B.S. in Information Technology with an Emphasis in Cybersecurity

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • MS - Game Design (Campus)
  • BS - Cloud Technologies (Campus)

What is your highest level of education?

Regent University

  • M.S. in Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity Policy
  • M.A. in Law - Cybersecurity Law
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Christian University

  • Cyber Security, M.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, B.S.
  • Computer Information Technology, A.S.

What is your highest level of education completed?

Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration - Data Analytics Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?