Help Desk Technician

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Help Desk Technician TrainingHelp Desk Technicians provide technical support for PC end-users.

Help desk technicians are vital to the IT workforce, as they keep the technologies that organizations rely on to do business current, and running smoothly.

IT help desk technicians provide technical support and troubleshooting services to end-users who need assistance with their computer hardware or software. There are two chief types of help desk technician: In-house and Remote. Remote help desk technicians support technology customers via phone, online and occasionally on-site. In-house technicians only provide support for internal employees.

Help desk technicians need a deep understanding of computer hardware and software. Strong communication skills are also essential, as help desk specialists must be able to effectively communicate solutions to both technical and non-technical end-users. The IT help desk career path is ideal for methodical problem-solvers with an aptitude for learning and quickly adapting new skills. Patience, resourcefulness and a desire to help others are desirable virtues in technical support and help desk roles.

Many IT pros begin their career as help desk technicians because of the low experience and education requirements, then as they're exposed to new IT disciplines and technologies they discover their niche and branch out into other IT careers, such as network administrator, DBA or IT security specialist. Other technicians will remain at the help desk and leverage their experience to become a help desk technician manager.

a.k.a. Desktop Support Technician | Technical Support Specialist | Systems Administrator | Computer Support Engineer | IT Support Specialist | Field Service Technician | Enterprise Support Technician | Desktop Support Analyst

IT Help Desk Training

Help Desk Skills & Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day duties and in-demand skill sets for IT help desk technicians include:

  • Help desk technicians diagnose PC errors and provide technical support.
  • Help desk technicians troubleshoot software, hardware and network issues.
  • Help desk technicians train end-users how to setup and use new technologies.
  • Help desk technicians backup and restore an organization's data files and folders.
  • Help desk techs install, configure and upgrade PC software and operating systems.
  • Help desk technicians clean and repair computer hardware, such as keyboards and printers.
  • Remote IT help desk specialists provide technical support over the telephone or Internet.
  • Remote help desk technicians may use specialized help desk support software to take remote
    control of end-users' computers to troubleshoot, diagnose and resolve complex issues.


Help Desk Technician Salary

  • Help desk technician average salary (USA): $46,000

Help Desk Technician Salary $46,000


Average starting wages for help desk technicians and related positions:

  • Help Desk Technician Tier 1: $35,000
  • Computer Repair Technician: $37,000
  • Help Desk Technician Tier 2: $43,000
  • Help Desk Technician Tier 3: $52,000
  • End-User Support Specialist: $53,000
  • Desktop Support Specialist: $54,000
  • Technical Support Specialist: $59,000
  • Application Support Specialist: $63,000
  • Lead Help Desk Technician: $67,000
  • Windows Systems Administrator: $71,000
  • Technical Support Manager: $76,000
  • Senior Systems Administrator: $83,000
  • Senior Windows Administrator: $89,000
  • Senior Linux Administrator: $89,000

The hourly wage for help desk technicians ranges from $12 to $44 per hour, depending on location, technical specialty, experience level, and certifications held.

Explore a deep dive comparison of IT help desk & technical support salaries.

Sources: | U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Help Desk Technician Education Requirements

A college degree is not typically required for entry-level help desk positions, however it may help you get the interview and job faster - and at a higher pay grade - than candidates with no degree. For those who pursue a formal education, degree programs in computer information systems (CIS), help desk administration, technical support, and network administration all provide a solid base for the help desk technician career path. If you want an accredited education, but not the time and expense of a 2- or 4-year degree program, consider a specialized certificate in PC repair or IT/help desk support.

Marketable skill sets to look for in a help desk technician degree program include PC repair, network management, OS deployment and configuration, information security, desktop and mobile device troubleshooting, and soft skills like customer service and verbal and written communication.

For help desk technicians, IT certifications offer a viable alternative or compliment to an accredited degree program. CompTIA's A+ and Network+ certifications are an ideal place to start, as they introduce the essential IT domains and provide valuable insight into IT infrastructure. The A+ curriculum even includes a solid customer service component - a key element in today's business-focused IT job market. The next step in your help desk certification track may be mastery of a popular operating system, for example Microsoft's MCSA: Windows 8 and MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure credentials.

With the recent advent of sophisticated online simulations, and PC hardware packages which can be mailed to remote students, help desk technician training works well in a distance learning format.

Research and compare the top-rated help desk technician training programs online and in your area.


Help Desk Technician Training Programs

Browse the top-rated campus & online degrees, vocational certificates and self-paced courses matching the help desk technician education requirements and career path.

Admissions advisors can provide more info about technical support programs & curriculum, admissions & start dates, certification tracks, career placement, tuition costs and personalized financial aid options.
Got targeted learning goals? Many schools offer individual courses from accredited degree programs.


Help Desk Training Program

Course Highlights & Certifications

AAS in Information Technology - Network Administration

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Associate
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Includes Certification Preparation for:
    • CompTIA A+, Network+ & Security+
    • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Prepares Graduates for Entry-Level Roles in Network and Systems Administration
  • Microsoft Windows PC & Server Support
  • Cisco Network Design and Management
  • Network Security & Penetration Testing
  • Intro to Coding & Software Development

B.S.I.T. Network Administration

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Bachelor
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Provides the Technical & Business Skills to Secure a Job in IT Support or Networking
  • Design, Install and Support Local/Wide Area Networks (LANs/WANs)
  • Network Security Threats & Countermeasures
  • Enterprise Mobility and Cloud Computing
  • Soft Skills: Leadership, Customer Support & Effective Verbal/Written Communication

MBA - Technology Management

  • Method: Online Degree
  • Degree Level: Master
  • Accredited School: Yes
  • Financial Aid Available: Yes
  • Prerequisite: Bachelor's
  • Lead Organizations in the Planning, Development, Operation & Management of IT Solutions
  • Applied Managerial Accounting, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Decision-Making
  • Use IT to Foster a Real Competitive Advantage
  • Database & Telecommunications Management
  • Impact of IT Innovation on Business Strategy
  • IT Management and Team Leadership Training

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IT Help Desk Certifications

Marketable certifications for help desk technicians and computer support professionals may include the following:

Help Desk Certification Prep


Help Desk Technician Jobs

Your help desk technician education, certifications and experience qualify you for a variety of job roles:

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Help Desk Technician Job Outlook

Employment of help desk technicians and computer support specialists is expected to increase by 17% from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for help desk technicians will increase as organizations continue to adopt the newest forms of technology. As IT becomes more complex and widespread, PC repair and support specialists will be needed in greater numbers to resolve the technical problems that inevitably arise. Businesses and consumers will demand greater levels of technical support, as information technology continues to become an integral part of how we live, work and play.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2014-2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook (BLS.GOV) 


Related Career Paths


Subject Matter Expert Contributor

IT Subject Matter ExpertDaniel Greenspan is an IT education specialist, web designer and entrepreneur living in New York City. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers and technology executives since 2005 has given him a unique perspective into the IT job market and the skills and credentials IT professionals need to succeed.


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