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Qualifications

First, realize you won't find a standard educational path for this career. Also, understand you're probably not going to land a computer repair tech job right out of high school. Yes, you should take every computer-related course you can, especially programming and applications-related classes. After you graduate, broaden your computer and electronics background by completing a certificate or associate's degree at a technical school or community college. Depending on the program's scope, you'll spend six months to two years learning about computer and peripheral installation and maintenance. You might also get some intro courses in networking, digital logic, and microprocessor troubleshooting. If you didn't learn to solder components onto PC boards in high school, you'll probably learn it now.

Let's say you get these basic concepts down, and you want to rack up some advanced courses. Pick up a class that teaches you to troubleshoot technical problems using common diagnostic equipment. Also consider courses in popular programming languages.

Once you have your credentials in hand, get ready to take the Computer Technology Industry Association's A+ certification test (which actually consists of two exams). CompTIA is an independent organization that certifies computer technicians in maintenance, networking, and security disciplines. The A+ certificate is an entry-level credential that validates your computer system installation and maintenance skills. Of course, you'll increase your marketable skills if you also obtain advanced certifications.

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