Technical Support Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
Learn about a technical support technician's job description, salary and training requirements. Get straight talk about the pros and cons of a technical support technician's career.
View available schools

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Technical Support Technician

Technical support technicians help customers with questions on computer issues, important software updates and installation of hardware or software. Consider these pros and cons to determine if this career is right for you.

Pros of Becoming a Technical Support Technician
Bachelor's degree not required for entry-level positions*
Advancement opportunities through work experience instead of education (administrator, developer or manager positions)*
Can work in various industries (education, finance, telecommunication and health care)*
Some workers can telecommute*

Cons of Being a Technical Support Technician
Continuing education or training typically required to keep up with new technology*
Entry-level jobs may be outsourced to cut costs*
Unusual hours may be required (weekends, nights and holidays)*
May have to resolve technical issues with frustrated customers*

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

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Technical support technicians typically spend most of their day responding to user issues and troubleshooting computer problems. Their jobs consist of making sure hardware and software are running efficiently. They may also install and modify programs for businesses and individuals.

Technicians often keep records of computer activities, problems and transactions. They may help train other staff members in the use of new technology and processes. Some technicians may be able to work from home if they are only providing simple technical support. Some field technicians are required to travel to a customer's location for installation or technical consultation.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the BLS, these workers made a median annual salary of about $47,610 in May 2014. The highest-paid ten percent of these workers made $80,180 or more, while the lowest-paid ten percent earned about 28,280 or less.

The BLS projects that these technicians will see an employment growth rate of 20% from 2012-2022, which is faster than average for all occupations. This growth is due to businesses needing professionals who know about computer installation, software, hardware and current technical issues.

Job Requirements

Educational requirements depend on both the employer's preference and the level of the job. You can obtain lower-level technician jobs with only some experience with computers and a high school diploma, although usually an associate's degree or some postsecondary education is required. However, you should know that a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field is commonly preferred by employers.

Whether or not you get an associate's or a bachelor's degree, you still need to keep up with current technology that customers may have questions about. In the beginning of a job, you may receive additional training from the work place. If you want to be a successful technician, then you should have:

  • Good communication skills
  • Interest in computers
  • Analytical skills
  • Interest in new technology
  • Patience

Job Postings From Real Employers

Job postings usually list the requirements, job duties and types of certifications needed for the job. Most employers expect workers with flexible schedules, prior experience with computers and good customer service skills. Here are some job postings from April 2012:

  • A telecommunications company in Maryland sought a technical support technician with a college degree or 1-2 years of work experience. The applicants would know how to work with networks, servers, programming languages and other platforms. Applicants would have knowledge of UNIX, Windows, TCP/IP, MS Exchange and more.
  • A computer company in Georgia needed a service technician with a high school diploma, an A+ certification and at least 2-5 years of work experience. They also preferred an applicant with additional certifications from Microsoft. The applicants would be able to install firewalls, work with Point of Sale (POS) systems and travel extensively.
  • A computer company located in New York required an advanced technical support technician who could provide complex troubleshooting of networks and management of various departments. The employer required the applicants to have a bachelor's degree in computer science, engineering or a related field and 5-6 years of experience.
  • A wireless company in Mississippi asked for a technical support technician with an A+ certification and a year of experience in troubleshooting phones. The applicants would know the most current wireless technology and have a flexible schedule.

How Can I Stand Out?

One way you can stand out in this field is to become certified. Certification is commonly available through product vendors and organizations, such as CompTIA and Microsoft. CompTIA offers such certification as the A+ and Network+ options. Microsoft offers several certifications for information technology (IT) professionals. Some examples include a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE), a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP) and a Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA).

According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree is preferred by many employers of computer support technicians. By earning a bachelor's degree, you can be qualified for more advanced job duties, such as maintaining network systems, managing support specialist workers or overseeing complex computer operations. A bachelor's degree could also help you prepare for higher-paying careers or for graduate school.

Alternative Careers

Computer Programmer

Computer programmers use computer languages to code and debug programs. They usually work with software developers. An associate's or bachelor's degree in computer science can suffice for educational requirements. According to the BLS, computer programmers made a median annual salary of about $73,000 in May 2011. The BLS projected that these workers would have an employment growth of 12% for 2010-2020.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

These workers have advisory duties in various organizations, and they may need to outline technological upgrades to executives. They determine computer needs by analyzing the organization's departments and adhering to budgets. They usually need a bachelor's or a master's degree in computer science or management information systems (MIS).

The BLS states that computer and information systems managers made a median annual income of about $120,000 in May 2011. For 2010-2020, these managers have an expected employment growth of 18%.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • Bachelor: Accounting
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Customer Service
      • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Campus and Online Programs
    3. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Applied Management
      • BS in Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Strategic Management
  • Online Programs Available
    9. City University of Seattle

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Administration
    Master's
      • M.B.A.
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. Management
      • B.S. Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment
  • AASBA in Customer Service
  • Associate: Business Admin.

Which subject are you interested in?

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • MBA
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Applied Management

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Studies

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
  • MBA - Strategic Management

What is your highest level of education?