Computer Support Specialist

Student working in server room

Computer Support Specialist - AAS-T

Here’s a program to consider if you enjoy combining technical and customer service skills in a variety of business and office settings. Our Computer Support Specialist program will train you for a rewarding career as a computer support specialist, software specialist, help desk specialist, training and support coordinator, or PC support specialist.

You’ll learn valuable skills needed by companies ranging from hospitals to financial institutions, large corporations, school districts, and universities. Hardware and software manufacturers also hire program graduates to work as customer service representatives and help desk personnel.

Bellingham Technical College is a Microsoft IT Academy member and is a member of CompTIA.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

77% BTC graduate placement rate1

$47,216 starting annual wage2
$58,802 average annual wage2
$71,864 potential annual wage2

 

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2016-17 and 2018-19. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2020 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates (Washington State wage) and reflect 2015-2018 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

Estimated Program Costs

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

This program typically starts in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer Quarters on a space available basis.

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and assessment testing in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or at admissions@btc.edu for assistance with academic planning.

What are My Next Steps?

Classes

Total Program Credits: 90

  • Quarter 1

  • IT 105Using Network Computer Systems3 CR
  • IT 141A+ Operating Systems5 CR
  • IT 112A+ Hardware5 CR
  • Quarter 2

  • IT 106IT Support Skills3 CR
  • IT 120Command Line Interface and Scripting5 CR
  • IT 160Network Technology I5 CR
  • Quarter 3

  • IT 142Windows Desktop5 CR
  • CAP 101Microsoft Computer Applications5 CR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I (Required)5 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • CAP 138MS Word5 CR
  • CAP 142Microsoft Excel5 CR
  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • OR
  • Any approved Math course as detailed on the AAS-T Math course option list.
  • Quarter 5

  • BUS& 101Introduction to Business (Required)5 CR
  • CAP 146Microsoft Access5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communication5 CR
  • OR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • OR
  • SOC& 101Introduction to Sociology5 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • IT 270Field-Based Experience5 CR
  • REQUIRD ELECTIVES 14 CREDITS
  • Computer Support Specialist students may choose elective credits from any 100 level or higher courses with the following prefixes: ACCT, BUS, BUS&, CAP, CIS, CS, CS&, ECON, HT, LGL, IT, OR MGMT. Courses taken to meet the general education or program core requirements may not be used for electives.

Program Outcomes

After successfully completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Apply industry standard IT networking solutions to understand and troubleshoot networking issues.
  • Design and develop an IT Helpdesk disaster recovery plan.
  • Troubleshoot operating systems or software problems.
  • Design and develop a hardware-based user needs assessment.
  • Use a variety of scripting tools or languages to automate routine tasks.
  • Provide satisfactory helpdesk solutions to problems or scenarios with Word, Excel, Access, or PowerPoint using industry standard helpdesk procedures.
  • Provide efficient and effective IT technical support to clients in a manner that promotes safe computing practices and encourages effective working relationships.

Employment Outlook

Computer support positions are expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the next decade. The rapid rate of growth and change in the field requires a commitment to stay current with new technologies. Enhancing a Computer Support Specialist degree with industry recognized certifications increases employment opportunities.

The average annual wage in this field is $55,973, with an earning potential of about $69,680 per year.*

Computer software support and training staff usually work in the information support departments of large organizations such as universities, government agencies, hospitals, financial institutions and major corporations.

Hardware and software manufacturers also employ telephone-based help as customer service representatives. Potential positions include computer support specialist, computer software specialist, help desk specialist, training and support coordinator, desktop services analyst, PC support specialist, response line representative, and help desk analyst.

Faculty & Support

Mike Massey graduated from Western Washington University, in 1985, with a combined Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science and Business Administration, and a minor in History. For the next 15 years he worked as a computer programmer (Dealer Information Systems), and as a database programmer, network administrator and IT Manager at Western Washington University (WWU). During that time he also obtained his commercial pilot license and float plane rating from Trinity Western University. Mike has been teaching Computer Networking at Bellingham Technical College since 2000. He is currently pursuing a degree in Biology at WWU.

  • Degrees and Credentials

    WA Professional Technical Certification - 2001

    CompTIA Network+ Certified - 2001

    CompTIA A+ Certified - 2001

    B.A., Business Administration/Computer Science, Western Washington University - 2001

    Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer - 2001

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Microsoft Certified Professional - 1997

    B.S., Community Health Ed, Western Washington University - 1997

    WA Professional Technical Certification - 1997

    Network+ Certified Professional - 1997

    Linux+ Certified - 1997

    Certified Netware Administrator - 1997

    A+ Certified Professional - 1997