Businesses and organizations of all types rely on technical support and repair workers to maintain their information systems. Online degrees in technical support and repair offer an entry point into this high-demand IT career.
The minimum credential for a job in technical support is the associate degree, but a bachelor's degree is the most versatile qualification, preferred by many employers.
- A.S. in information technology or A.A.S. in technical support. Associate degrees offer an accelerated path to a tech support career. The two-year program focuses on general education and applied training in the repair and management of information systems.
- B.S. in computer science, information systems or management information systems (MIS). The four-year college degree offers a strong foundation in general education with core courses in math and science. Upper-division major courses offer training in computer systems and technical support. The MIS degree offers a combined business and technical curriculum, while the computer science degree features in-depth instruction in technical systems.
Technical certificate and professional certification programs are also available to help technical support & repair workers develop targeted skills. A vendor-neutral IT support certificate is a general program for entry-level IT workers with a college degree in another field. Vendor-specific certification programs in technical support and repair include the popular CompTIA A+ and Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST) credentials.
Technical support & repair training curriculum
Online technical support & repair degrees include courses in information systems components and their maintenance. Courses cover the basics of network, systems, PC and database technology. Some sample course titles include:
- Network installation and maintenance
- Customer technical support
- Technical communication
- Introduction to UNIX and Linux
- Support center procedures
Hands-on training is an important part of technical support programs. Since online technical degree students do not have access to a campus lab, online technical support & repair degrees may require students to secure a professional internship in an IT department. Students who are already working in information systems can apply their learning directly in the workplace.
Careers in technical support & repair
Online degrees in technical support and repair can lead to entry-level administrative and repair roles specializing in different IT technologies. Examples include:
- Network administrator
- Unix system administrator
- PC support specialist
- Call center support or help desk technician
Computer support specialists can expect favorable job conditions in the coming years, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. The BLS predicts 14 percent job growth in the 2008-2018 period, with the best opportunities for workers with a college degree. Key industries experiencing job growth in technical support include computer services, data processing and hosting services, software publishing, and scientific consulting. The health care sector is also an up-and-coming employer of trained technical support & repair personnel, as hospitals and clinics look to increase efficiency through information technology.
Technical support and repair at a glance
- Education & training: An associate or bachelor's degree is generally sufficient for entry-level positions, but to keep up with technological advances, continuing education is often required.
- Salaries: The top-paying employer of tech support workers is the Central Bank, offering an annual salary of $71,270 (2010, BLS).
- Top locations: States with the highest concentration of IT support workers are Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut (BLS, 2010).