IT Technician: Job Description & Education Requirements

Information technology (IT) technicians maintain computer systems, provide technical support and teach their clients the basic skills they need to operate newly installed programs. Aspiring technicians can find certificate and degree programs in information technology and acquire industry-recognized certifications.

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Job Description for Information Technology Technicians

IT technicians diagnose computer problems, monitor computer processing systems, install software and perform tests on computer equipment and programs. Technicians may also set up computer equipment, schedule maintenance and teach clients to use programs. Other job duties can include minor repairs and computer parts ordering.

IT technicians need strong knowledge of computers and how they operate, which includes having a broad understanding of hardware and software, operating systems and basic computer programming. Familiarity with electronic equipment, Internet applications and security may also be required. Technicians may also need good communication skills because this position requires frequent interaction with clients.

Education Requirements for Information Technology Technicians

Many employers prefer to hire an IT technician who has some level of formal training. Future IT technicians can find certificate, associate and bachelor's degree programs in computer science, information technology or computer information systems. Coursework in these programs may cover computer security, hardware configuration and technical support. Students can also learn about database programming, operating systems and software installation.

Certification

While not all companies require IT technicians to be certified, taking the extra step to earn a certification can show employers that technicians have the required skills and training to fulfill job requirements. Common certifications for IT technicians include A+ and Linux+ certifications offered by CompTIA. IT technicians can also pursue Microsoft Certified IT Professional and Cisco Certified Network Associate credentials. The International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium offers a variety of certifications for IT professionals pursuing information security positions.

The certification process may include passing an exam and completing continuing education courses to maintain or renew credentials.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the most recent information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer support specialists could see employment growth of 17% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Upgrades to existing systems should play a major part in this employment growth. In May 2012, the BLS reported that computer user support specialists earned an average wage of $50,130 per year.

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