Computer Repair Technology: Become a Computer Repair Tech in 5 Steps
Are you technically savvy? Do you love computers? Would you like a job in which your workday revolves around installing, maintaining and repairing computer systems and networks? Consider becoming a computer repair tech. Further information about how to do so is available here. Schools offering Computer Service & Repair degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Computer Repair Tech?
A computer repair tech is a specialist who installs and fixes problems with computer hardware and software. Typical duties include running diagnostic tests, disassembling hardware, replacing defective components, scanning for and removing viruses and spyware or uninstalling and reinstalling programs. These technicians work with individual computers and computer networks.
Step 1: Graduate From High School
You will need a high school diploma or General Educational Development (G.E.D.) certificate to enroll in any postsecondary computer technician training program. Some high school courses can also prepare you for computer repair work. Physics, mathematics, electronics and computer programming are helpful for understanding the technology. English and speech courses are helpful for developing better communication skills.
Step 2: Conduct Your Own Explorations
There are a number of ways you can familiarize yourself with the workings of computers. You can actively troubleshoot problems on your own computer and those of friends and relatives. If you have the financial resources, you could research and purchase the necessary components to build a system. You could volunteer to provide tech support at your church or a local not-for-profit organization.
Step 3: Earn An Associate's Degree
A wide assortment of community colleges and private technical academies offer associate's degree programs that will train you to service computers. Course topics cover basic electronics, digital logic, operating systems, applications software, computer peripherals and networks. The curriculum in most programs is divided between classroom instruction and lab courses that provide you with the opportunity to collaborate with other students and develop problem-solving skills.
Step 4: Obtain Certification
You can improve your employment prospects by earning certification as a computer technician. The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) and CompTIA are two of the most prominent organizations offering certifications. To obtain the ETA's Certified Computer Service Technician designation (CST), you need to pass their Associate Electronics Technician exam for CST. The exam tests your competency in 16 areas of PC maintenance, including computer assembly and disassembly, motherboards, processors, memory, storage and peripherals.
CompTIA A+ certification is also for computer repair techs but is somewhat more comprehensive than the CST, addressing networking and security as well as installation, maintenance and repair. To earn A+ certification you need to pass CompTIA's essentials exam and practical applications exam. Several major companies in the computer industry have made A+ certification a mandatory credential for employment.
Step 5: Obtain Employment
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have specific figures for computer repair techs, but in the larger category for computer, automated teller and office machine repairers, approximately 110,320 people were employed in 2010 (www.bls.gov, with employment projected to reach 146,200 by 2018. Your strongest job prospects are with computer and electronics wholesalers and retailers, computer systems design firms and computer repair services. You could also establish your own repair service - according to the BLS, around 20% of computer technicians are self-employed. As of May 2010, you could expect to earn a median salary of $37,280.
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