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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.

To learn more about Bellingham Technical College programs you’re interested in, join us for a Virtual Program Info Session. Prior sign up is required. If you do not see an Info Session for the program you’re interested in, email outreach@btc.edu for more information.

Employment Information

75% BTC graduate placement rate

$44,450 starting annual wage
$55,973 average annual wage
$69,680 potential annual wage
  • Employment and Wage Data Sources

    BTC graduate employment rates:
    The graduate employment rate reflects placement rates of students who graduated from BTC in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Data Linking for Outcomes Assessment database pulls from Unemployment Insurance (UI) data across Washington and Oregon. UI data do not reflect BTC graduates who (a) are employed in states beyond those listed above or outside of the United States, (b) are self-employed, (c) are active duty members of the armed forces, (d) continued on to another educational institution, and/or (e) did not provide a social security number while enrolled at BTC.

    Wages:
    Washington State Employment Security Department 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates ( esd.wa.gov) reflect 2014-2017 employment

    Starting annual wage = 25th percentile
    Average annual wage = 50th percentile
    Potential annual wage = 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

Photo of Mike Massey
Mike Massey

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

Photo of Gregory Rehm
Gregory Rehm

  • 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