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.
These top-rated online programs in technical support and related subjects are currently enrolling students.
- Information Technology Fundamentals
- Network and Systems Administration
- End-to-End Customer Support Training
- Basic IT Security Tools & Techniques
- Microsoft Network Administration
- Cloud Management and Architecture
- Install and Manage RFID Technologies
- CompTIA & Microsoft Certification Prep
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
Help Desk Technician Salary
IT Help Desk Education Requirements
Help Desk Technician Training and Degrees
Help Desk Technician Certifications
IT Help Desk Technician Jobs
Help Desk Technician Job Outlook
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.
Associate of Arts in Information Technology
- Gain the Skills and Credentials to Pursue a Range of Entry-Level IT Jobs
- Prepare for Valuable Industry Certifications
- Computer Network and Systems Administration
- Database and Information Systems Management
- Intro to Computer Programming and Web Design
- Soft Skills inc. Effective Speaking & Communication
Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
- Gain the Skills and Credentials to Pursue Jobs in Cyber Security and Network Management
- Prepare for CompTIA & TestOut Certifications
- 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
- Prepare for Cisco Networking Certifications
- 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
IT Help Desk Certifications
Marketable certifications for help desk technicians and computer support professionals may include the following:
- CompTIA A+ Certification
- CompTIA Network+ Certification
- CompTIA Security+ Certification
- Google IT Support Professional Certificate
- MCSA: Windows 10
- MCSE: Desktop Infrastructure
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
- IT Support Specialist jobs
- Desktop Support Specialist jobs
- IT System Administrator jobs
- PC and Hardware Repair jobs
- Field Service Technician jobs
- Windows Administrator jobs
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
- Network Administrator
- Database Administrator
- Computer Security Specialist
- Health Information Technician