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Computer and appliance repair schools

Do you love tinkering with computers, appliances and electronics? If so, a career in computer and appliance repair might be a great choice for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best jobs in computer and appliance repair are reserved for those with computer repair degrees or other formal training.

Appliance and computer repair degrees differ from ordinary academic degrees in that they are typically offered at institutions other than traditional four-year colleges and universities. Most training in computer and appliance repair comes in one of two forms: the non-degree certificate (sometimes known as a career diploma) and the associate degree.

Career diplomas and certificates

Regardless of where you attend school, there are certain elements of your training that are likely to be consistent across certificate programs. These are some of the subjects covered in a typical career diploma program at an appliance repair school:

  • Testing electric appliances
  • Common appliance parts
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Heating and cooling appliances
  • Electric power tools
  • Air conditioning machinery
  • Career guidance

Programs that focus on computing technology tend to cover a largely different range of topics than those with an emphasis on appliance repair. These are some of the courses offered in computer repair schools online or on-campus:

  • Magnetic and solid-state hard drives
  • Operating system partitions
  • Common hardware errors
  • Diagnostic software applications
  • Memory installs and upgrades
  • Computer networking fundamentals
  • Input/output devices

Students earning career diplomas and other non-degree awards in computer and appliance repair must complete anywhere from 20 to 60 credit hours of coursework. Certificates may be earned in less than a year — as little as nine months in some cases — depending on how many credits the institution requires and whether a student is attending full or part time.

Associate degrees in computer and appliance repair

An associate degree program from a computer or appliance repair school online will usually cover a broader range of subjects and explore concepts in greater depth than a program that leads to a career diploma. Associate degree programs at appliance schools are likely to address the following topics, among others:

  • Theory of electricity
  • Theory of refrigeration
  • Mechanical physics
  • General circuitry
  • Independent appliance diagnostics

In addition, computer repair degrees at the associate level may branch out into coverage of subjects like these:

  • Information literacy
  • Internet server environments
  • Data assurance and security
  • Code languages (HTML, Java, Python, SQL)
  • Database technology

Appliance and computer repair associate programs take about two years to complete, and the titles of their degrees tend to reflect a subject focus that goes beyond the practical repair skills typically gained in a certificate program. Programs that lead to an associate degree also require a general education component, which can include courses in English composition, physical science, history, mathematics and the arts.

While students don't often go beyond an associate degree in these particular fields, earning one can prepare you to transition into a degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or computer science at the bachelor's level.

Computer and appliance repair school: online vs. campus-based degrees

It may surprise you that training for such a hands-on career can be taken in the virtual classroom, but computer and appliance repair schools have begun offering online programs for students who want career training but don't have the available time in their schedule to commit to a full-time, campus-based program.

Not only do most appliance and computer repair online schools offer the same basic courses as programs that take place at a brick-and-mortar campus, but many of them even furnish students with the software tools or testing hardware necessary to engage in field practice on their own time. Students at computer or appliance repair schools online may also have the opportunity to participate in some hands-on coursework at a nearby learning center or affiliated career training facility, if their schedule allows for it.

For now, computer repair online schools tend to be easier to find than appliance-based programs, but advancements in online learning are emerging with each passing semester. If you haven't found the right appliance repair school online, don't give up just yet.

College degrees in computer and appliance repair, including online degree programs, are available at vocational schools and junior colleges. In recent years, predominately online technical colleges and career schools have become some of the go-to institutions for training in disciplines like these, both at the career diploma and associate degree levels.

Here are a few of options for appliance technology training and computer repair degrees in today's education market:

  • Ashworth College features computer repair degrees at the career diploma level and allows students to major in either hardware or software.
  • Excelsior College offers online associate degrees in computer technology and electromechanical technology for aspiring technicians with scientific minds.
  • Penn Foster College and Career School offers degrees in both subjects, at both levels, and provides students with learning tools at enrollment and career guidance along the way.

Certification and careers for graduates

Jobs in computer or appliance repair can be found in wholesale trade establishments (such as ATM suppliers), electronic and precision equipment repair shops, and computer systems design firms, among other establishments. Approximately 20 percent of computer & appliance repairers are self-employed, according to the BLS.

Various professional organizations can provide technical certifications that can serve to demonstrate your expertise to potential clients and employers. The Electronics Technicians Association (ETA) International is one example, where technicians can choose from more than 80 certifications in various specialized areas and at various levels of skill. Trade union membership, if available in your area, can also help you find jobs or clients. Start training now to turn your tinkering hobby into a lucrative job.

Sources:

Career Diploma in Computer Service & Repair: Hardware, Ashworth College,
http://www.ashworthcollege.edu/career-diplomas/computer-service-repair-hardware/

Career Diploma in Computer Service & Repair: Software, Ashworth College,
http://www.ashworthcollege.edu/career-diplomas/computer-service-repair-software/

Associate Degree in Computer Technology and Networking, CollegeAmerica,
http://www.collegeamerica.edu/information-technology/associates/computer-technology-and-networking

Certification Programs, Electronics Technicians Association International,
http://eta-i.org/certifications.html

Technology Associate Degrees, Excelsior College,
http://www.excelsior.edu/programs/technology/technology-associate-degrees

Online Appliance Repair School, Penn Foster Career School,
http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/construction-and-maintenance/appliance-repair-career-diploma.aspx

Online PC Maintenance Degree, Penn Foster College,
http://www.pennfoster.edu/programs-and-degrees/computer-programming-and-support/pc-maintenance-technology-associate-degree

Major Appliance Technology, Ranken Technical College,
http://www.ranken.edu/academics/construction/MajorAppliance

Major Appliance and Refrigeration Technology, Renton Technical College,
http://www.rtc.edu/Programs/TrainingPrograms/MART/