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Degrees Needed to Become a Computer Technician

Updated on July 2, 2013
Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

Computer technicians, also known as computer support specialists, install, maintain and repair hardware and software for organizations or individual consumers. They answer questions by phone, email or in-person; instruct users and upgrade systems to the latest standards. Although some are able to work from home, most work 40-hour weeks in businesses, with some night or weekend shifts. Employers typically require postsecondary training for the profession.



Bachelor’s Degrees

Many computer technician positions need at least a bachelor’s degree, especially in large corporations that employ professionals who have a similar minimum educational background. Majors in computer science, information science or hardware engineering are acceptable. Programs of study typically last four years, with an example of required subjects provided by Oklahoma State University for its Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. They include math, computer science, English, history, natural and social sciences, and electives from engineering, geography and statistics.


Options

Some employers require only a two-year associate degree in computing. For technicians at call centers, who may specialize in only one or two products, experience may suffice. Whatever their background, all technicians receive on-the-job training that lasts three months or longer to learn about company policies and procedures, customer service and undocumented peculiarities about the hardware and software they handle. Certification in specific products is also available from vendors and manufacturers, which can enhance job opportunities and increase salaries. This usually entails passing an exam and paying a fee, with many employers shouldering the costs for existing employees.


Characteristics

Technicians with certain personal characteristics may find it easier to obtain a degree or succeed at their tasks. Although they are experts with machines, they primarily deal with people, so good interpersonal skills are important. They must listen actively to users as they explain issues, and be able to communicate clearly in writing and verbally to explain working procedures. They must also have good analytical skills to determine the cause of problems and effect solutions. Those who show organizational and administrative skills may advance to more complex tasks, or supervise other technicians.


Careers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job increases of 18 percent for computer technicians, which is less than the 22 percent expected for all computer jobs but more than the 14 percent projected for all occupations in all industries. Healthcare industries will provide the largest area of growth. As of May 2011, technicians earned a mean $51,820 per year, or $24.91 per hour, although the top 10 percent earned over $81,190 yearly, or $39.03 hourly. Most worked for computer systems design and related services to average an annual $53,630, or $25.79 per hour. The highest wages were with other investment pools and funds, such as trusts and estates. Earnings here ran a mean $72,670 per year, or $34.394 per hour.


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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just dropping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

    • Sidewinder6661 profile image

      Leese Wright 4 years ago from Manchester, UK

      Useful content for someone who might be interested in a career in computing. I studied IT for two years myself and came out with a National Diploma, then decided it wasn't for me and changed degrees.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      One thing I had not realized was that computer technicians need to have expert listening skills. It makes a lot of sense, now that you point it out. Very useful information about what is needed to become a computer technician.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting and useful info. Voted up. Wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Cool stuff here! My two cousins live in San Fran and are IT gurus. They're both working on their Master's degrees and this field pays well for sure.

    • Pool Of Thoughts profile image

      David Steffy 4 years ago from Southern Ohio

      I just finished a two year degree in IT and have found it very difficult to find a job in this field without experience or a bachelor's degree. Very balanced article. I believe you nailed it!

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      Good info for anyone considering the field. It is hard to find good technicians.

      I've had some pretty bad service and wondered if they knew how to setup a computer, let alone had a degree in computing lol. The worst I had was when a helpful 'technician' installed a malware fake virus program to cure 'power cut' issues. I explained that it seemed to be a loose connection, but nope ... must be a virus.

      Those that train are good, but I feel far to many with just a little knowledge are getting into this field.

      Shared, up, interesting, useful, tweeted and pinned.

    • expertscolumn profile image

      Stanley Soman 4 years ago from New York

      I've a feeling computer technician fields are going to get outsourced more and more because univerities overseas like IIT have rigorous offerings more than their counterparts in the states

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Not too shabby a salary for this career. I do teach IT students English and they agree that it helps their communication in IT. Well done!

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Belated Merry Christmas to you too, Billybuc!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Aurelio,

      Just yesterday on CNN news they reported some jobs that look good for the upcoming years and people with computer skills will be needed. As you also reported, the health care industry is in need of many people and the predictions are that this will remain so for quite some time. This is good information to have with regard to what students will be studying. Of course engineering also has good prospects. One smart young man that I know got a degree in engineering and computer science. He will probably always have a job! Up and useful votes.

      Happy New Year!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      These professionals are so vital. In these times, every thing depends on data and reliable computers. It seems a person couldn't go wrong with this degree!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Thanks alot for the hub Alocsin. One of my interests is in App development, but I have a secondary interest in Technical work. Looking into degrees lately to see if I could take something online maybe to get myself suited to the task. This was very useful. Voting up!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up. Computer technicians earn a lot in my country. I wonder if it's true for the rest of the world...

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