Student working in server room

Computer Support Specialist - AAS

In a world where everyday items are increasingly dependent upon computers – from phones to televisions to medical equipment – the need for skilled workers who can troubleshoot computer software issues is growing. If you enjoy combining technical and customer service skills in a variety of business and office settings, Bellingham Technical College’s Computer Support Specialist associate degree could be a good fit to get your tech career started. BTC’s Computer Support Specialist program will train you for top jobs in computer support, software, help desk support, PC support, and training and software support coordination.

BTC’s classes will train you in valuable software and computer support skills needed by companies big and small, including hospitals, financial institutions, large corporations, school districts, and universities. Computer hardware and software manufacturers also hire BTC’s program graduates to work as customer service representatives and help desk personnel.

Students in the Computer Support Specialist associate degree program at Bellingham Technical College will receive training in word processing, spreadsheets and databases; teaching others how to use computers and software; basic computer programming and website building; operating system installation and configuration; and more.

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

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?

A cumulative GPA of 2.0 or greater and a grade of C will be the minimum passing grade for all courses.

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

  • 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

  • CAP 101Microsoft Computer Applications5 CR
  • IT 142Windows Desktop I5 CR
  • BUS 191Technical Communications5 CR
  • OR
  • AENGL 100Applied English5 CR
  • OR
  • ENGL& 101English Composition I5 CR
  • OR
  • ENGL& 102English Composition II5 CR
  • Quarter 4

  • CAP 138MS Word5 CR
  • CAP 142Microsoft Excel5 CR
  • BUS 150Math for Business5 CR
  • OR
  • AMATH 100Applied Occupational Math5 CR
  • OR
  • MATH& 107Math in Society5 CR
  • OR Higher
  • Quarter 5

  • BUS& 101Introduction to Business5 CR
  • CAP 146Microsoft Access5 CR
  • CMST& 210Interpersonal Communications5 CR
  • OR
  • PSYC& 100General Psychology5 CR
  • OR
  • SOC& 101Introduction to Sociology5 CR
  • Quarter 6

  • IT 270Field-Based Experience5 CR
  • REQUIRED ELECTIVE 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 jobs over the next decade. The rapid rate of growth and change in the tech industry requires a commitment to stay current with new technologies. Enhancing a Computer Support Specialist degree with industry-recognized certifications means BTC grads can compete for the best jobs in the software support industry.

Computer Support Specialist program graduates usually find jobs in the information support and IT departments of large organizations such as universities, government agencies, hospitals, financial institutions, and major corporations.

Program graduates also find jobs as telephone-based technicians and customer service representatives for hardware and software manufacturers. Other potential computer support jobs 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.

The average annual wage in the software and computer support field is $55,973, with an earning potential of about $69,680 per year.*

Faculty & Support

Photo of Mike Massey
Mike Massey
Information Technology

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.

Photo of Gregory Rehm
Gregory Rehm
Information Technology