Help Desk Technician Career Path & Training

Help Desk Technician Training
Help Desk Technicians provide technical support for IT end-users.

Help desk technicians are vital to the IT workforce, as they keep the technologies that organizations rely on to do business up-to-date 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 effectively communicate solutions to both technical and non-technical individuals. 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 | Computer Support Engineer | IT Support Specialist | Field Service Technician | Desktop Support Analyst

Find IT Help Desk Training



Help Desk Skills & Responsibilities

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

  • Diagnose computer errors and provide technical support.
  • Troubleshoot software, hardware and network issues.
  • Train end-users how to setup and use new technologies.
  • Backup and restore an organization's data files and systems.
  • Install, configure and upgrade PC software and operating systems.
  • Clean and repair computer hardware, such as keyboards and printers.
  • Remote IT help desk technicians provide technical support over the phone or Web.
  • Remote help desk technicians often use specialized help desk support software to take control of end-users' computers to troubleshoot, diagnose and resolve complex issues.

Help Desk Technician Salary

The median annual salary for help desk technicians in $56,000, according to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Help Desk Technician Salary $56,000

 

Average wage for help desk technicians and related IT 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

Top paying cities for help desk technicians:

  • Sacramento, CA: $86,000
  • San Francisco, CA: $79,000
  • San Jose, CA: $73,000
  • Carson City, NV: $72,000
  • Boston, MA: $69,000

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

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

Sources: Indeed.com | 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 a college 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 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 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.

Associate of Arts in IT: Network Administration

  • Includes Certification Preparation for:
    • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Prepare for Entry-Level Roles in Network Administration and Technical Support
  • Manage Microsoft PCs and Servers in Cloud (Azure) and Virtual (Hyper-V) Environments
  • Cisco Network Design and Administration
  • Network Security and Digital Forensics
  • Intro to Web Development & Programming
 

Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity

  • Includes Certification Preparation for:
    • CompTIA A+, Network+ & Security+
    • TestOut Network Pro, Security Pro & Pro PC
  • Gain the Skills and Credentials to Pursue Jobs in Cyber Security and Network Management
  • Information Security Tools and Techniques
  • Design, Build & Manage Secure IT Networks
  • Cyber Security Policy and Risk Management
  • IT Service and Process Management
 

Bachelor of Science in Network Technology: Cisco

  • Includes Certification Preparation for:
    • Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching
    • CompTIA A+, Network+, Security+, Project+ & Linux+
  • Design & Manage Cisco Wired / Wireless Networks
  • Network Security Threats & Countermeasures
  • Install and Support Telecommunications Systems
  • IT Project and Process Management Training
  • Explore Hot IT Topics inc. RFID Architectures, Enterprise Mobility & Cloud Computing
 

Master's in Technology Management

  • Prepare for Leadership Roles in Business and Information Technology
  • Business Intelligence and Data Analytics
  • Cyber Security Threats & Countermeasures
  • Cloud Computing and Virtual Data Centers
  • Globalization and the Modern IT Workforce
  • Computer Systems Analysis Tools & Techniques
  • Wield Emerging Technologies and IT Personnel to Achieve Business Goals
  • No GRE or GMAT Required for Admission
 
Search IT courses and degree programs by job role, technology platform & major.

IT Help Desk Certifications

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

Find Help Desk Certification Prep


Help Desk Technician Jobs

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

  • Help Desk Technician jobs link-icon
  • IT Support Specialist jobs link-icon
  • Desktop Support Specialist jobs link-icon
  • IT System Administrator jobs link-icon
  • PC and Hardware Repair jobs link-icon
  • Field Service Technician jobs link-icon
  • Windows Administrator jobs link-icon

Search IT Jobs


powered-by-ziprecruiter

Help Desk Technician Job Outlook

Employment of help desk technicians and computer support specialists is expected to increase by 9% from 2020 to 2030, just about inline with the 8% average for all occupations. Demand for help desk technicians will rise as organizations continue to implement the latest and greatest computer systems to reduce long-term costs and foster a competitive advantage. However, job growth for help desk technicians will be tempered as cloud computing continues to increase the productivity of technical support solutions, thus requiring less man-hours and personnel to accomplish the same tasks.

To improve your job prospects as a help desk technician, bolster your skill set with topics like cloud engineering and cyber security, two of the decade's hottest IT disciplines. As for specific industries to focus on, health care has an accelerated need for IT support and help desk specialists.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook


Related Career Paths


Subject Matter Expert Contributor

IT Subject Matter Expert Daniel Greenspan is an IT education specialist and the founder of ITCareerFinder. Working closely with IT professionals, world-class trainers and tech executives since 2005 has given him a unique perspective into the information technology job market and the skills and credentials IT pros need to succeed.