How to Become a Computer Support Specialist
Computer Support Specialist Careers & Degrees

As technology improves at a fast rate and becomes more complicated for the average user, companies and individuals will rely even more heavily on experienced Computer Support Specialists.

These professionals will use their expertise in order to diagnose and resolve technological issues that users may be having.

Continue reading below if this type of career interests you and you feel you have the passion to begin a career as a Computer Support Specialist.

Below you will find information regarding education requirements, a general job description, wage and salary information and the future job outlook for this profession.

Education Requirements to Become a Computer Support Specialist

The education requirements to become a Computer Support Specialist will depend on the type of employer a candidate wishes to work for.

For the most part, employers seek candidates who have some type of formal education.

Candidates who want to become a Computer Support Specialist have the option to attend a certification program, an Associate’s or a Bachelor’s program.

Students in a Bachelor’s program will benefit from studying the following majors: Information Systems, Computer Engineering or Computer Science.

Some candidates may qualify to become a Computer Support Specialist if they have a Bachelor’s degree in a non computer related area but have the necessary technical skills to perform the job.

Candidates entering an Associate’s program should begin a degree that emphasizes on a computer related curriculum.

For some jobs, candidates may qualify for positions if they have experience using a variety of computer software and hardware systems as well as the appropriate certification.

Candidates who don’t a computer related degree but have the necessary experience to find a job will benefit from taking a certification exam.

A certification shows employers that a candidate has the adequate skills and knowledge to work with computers.

Certified candidates with no formal education may be able to qualify for entry level positions.

Computer Support Specialists should also have some inborn skills in order to be successful in this career.

Employers look for candidates who have stellar communications skills because of their constant work with other personnel and clients.

In addition, Computer Support Specialists should have strong analytical and problem solving skills.

Computer Support Specialist Job Description

Computer Support Specialists use their technological expertise to help individuals and organizations with information technology support and advice.

These professionals may work for a variety of organizations including computer software or hardware companies or a help desk service business.

There are several ways a Computer Support Specialist will communicate with other personnel, clients and employees.

They may receive concerns or requests via email, in person or by phone.

Some companies require employees to submit tickets or open a case requesting information technology advice and support.

After receiving an inquiry, a Computer Support Specialist will run an automatic diagnostic program in order to resolve any issues.

After finding a diagnosis, a Computer Support Specialist will develop a treatment plan and implement it.

In addition to repairing any hardware or software issues, these professionals will also provide maintenance work.

Maintenance work requires Computer Support Specialists to monitor and observe Wide Area Networks (WAN), Local Area Networks (LAN) and other related systems.

A Computer Support Specialist may also arrange and write training manuals to teach employees how to use hardware ad software applications.

Computer Support Specialist Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the national median wage for Computer Support Specialists was approximately $43,450 per year.

The salary range during that same year was approximately $26,580 to $70,750 per year.

The exact wage for a professional in this field will depend on the industry they work in, geographical location, years of experience and level of education.

The employment outlook for Computer Support Specialists is expected to grow faster than average through the year 2018.

Employment opportunities for these specialists are expected to increase by 14 percent throughout this time.

This expected growth is attributed to the popularity of and increased use of technology by both individuals and organizations.

Industries that will experience the most growth include computer system design, data processing, software publishing, management, scientific, health care and technical consulting.

Experienced Computer Support Specialists will be needed to resolve advanced and complicated technological problems as technology grows more complex.

Candidates with a bachelor’s degree, relevant experience, communication and technical skills are more sought after by employers.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$56,550
$32K
$40K
$56K
$68K
$88K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$51,550
Alaska$59,270
Arizona$53,670
Arkansas$43,470
California$70,060
Colorado$60,340
Connecticut$61,500
Delaware$60,650
District of Columbia$71,720
Florida$51,420
Georgia$54,470
Hawaii$50,610
Idaho$50,130
Illinois$53,370
Indiana$47,350
Iowa$50,570
Kansas$46,660
Kentucky$49,890
Louisiana$48,170
Maine$48,980
Maryland$57,110
Massachusetts$65,270
Michigan$50,320
Minnesota$56,740
Mississippi$47,560
Missouri$49,740
Montana$46,360
Nebraska$51,970
Nevada$52,030
New Hampshire$53,940
New Jersey$67,210
New Mexico$42,360
New York$61,420
North Carolina$52,590
North Dakota$47,870
Ohio$51,520
Oklahoma$47,220
Oregon$56,870
Pennsylvania$53,530
Rhode Island$64,830
South Carolina$50,000
South Dakota$39,530
Tennessee$48,710
Texas$52,190
Utah$53,100
Vermont$51,460
Virginia$59,410
Washington$62,560
West Virginia$43,700
Wisconsin$52,080
Wyoming$51,330
Guam$36,360
Puerto Rico$32,260
Virgin Islands$47,480

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $71,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $71,720
California - $70,060
New Jersey - $67,210
Massachusetts - $65,270
Rhode Island - $64,830
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Computer User Support Specialists, OCC Code 15-1232, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a computer support specialist do?

Computes support specialists, sometimes also called technical support specialists, offer technical assistance to computer users and organizations.

They test and evaluate network systems and perform regular maintenance to ensure that the networks operate correctly.

Computer support specialists troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems.

Some computer support specialists work for organizations while others offer assistance to home computer users.

Computer support specialists play an important role in every organization and they have to solve IT problems fast because businesses depend on their network systems.

Computer support specialists who assist users are sometimes called help-desk technicians and are trained to provide technical help to non-IT computer users.

Usually, computer user support specialists assist users remotely but they may also respond to the users’ homes if the problem can’t be resolved remotely.

Some computer support specialists work for a large businesses that have their own IT department while others work for an IT consulting firm that offers assistance to smaller businesses.

QuestionHow much does a computer support specialist make?

Salaries vary depending on the computer support specialist’s expertise and specialty.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for computer network support specialists was $62,770 while user support specialists earned a median wage of $50,980 as of May 2018.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a computer support specialist?

There are many paths that can prepare you for a career in this field.

Computer support specialists typically have completed some post-secondary classes or hold an associate’s degree in a technical field.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information science or a related field may help you find a better paying job as a network support specialist.

Tuition costs vary depending on the school you choose and the program itself.

For example, a bachelor’s degree in information science will cost you, on average around $30,000 a year while programs in computer science cost around $42,000-$43,000 on average.

QuestionWhat is the demand for computer support specialists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for computer support specialists is projected to grow 10 percent.

As organizations upgrade their computers and software, more support specialists will be needed to install and maintain new devices but also to teach non-IT users how to operate the equipment.

Job prospects are expected to be good but in order to improve your chances of finding a job, you should complete a bachelor’s degree program in the field.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a computer support specialist?

Educational requirements vary depending on the employer and the field of expertise.

For some positions, an associate’s degree or a similar post-secondary program in computer science may be enough while other positions require a bachelor’s degree.

An associate’s degree program can be completed in approximately 2 years while bachelor’s degree programs are typically 4 years long.

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