Many of us rely on our computers and household appliances on a daily basis, but who can we turn to when they break down? Earning a degree for one of the top computer and appliance repair schools in the U.S. can teach you the skills necessary to save the day when people in your community have a minor household crisis.
Most training in computer and appliance repair comes in one of two forms: two-year associate degrees and non-degree awards like certificates of achievement and career diplomas. Major subject coursework is often similar between the two types, although the associate degree typically provides more transferable credits that can advance your future academic goals.
Online degrees for computer and appliance repair students are also available, for students with a reliable internet connection and not a lot of time on their hands. If a traditional study plan won't fit into your schedule, look into one of the online computer and appliance repair degrees from our top schools.
Best colleges for Computer And Appliance Repair Degree Programs
We wanted to sort out the best computer and appliance repair schools from the rest, so we put together data profiles using numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and analyzed dozens of institutions across the country. Click the button to see just how we calculated the scores and rankings, and read on for our list of the ten best colleges for computer and appliance repair degree programs.
This Rocklin, California, institution took the No. 2 spot for affordability among schools that made our top ten, charging its students an average tuition and fees cost that came in under $1,150 in 2015. Flexibility was also a high-scoring category for Sierra College -- weekend and evening classes are available, and just three other schools on our list reported a higher percentage of students enrolled in online courses.
Aspiring computer techs have two main options for computer information systems degrees: an associate degree plan and a certificate plan. If you've already got some knowledge in computer service and just want to add more to your toolbox, Sierra also offers two-class programs that lead to a mini-skills certificate.
Los Medanos College took the No. 2 spot overall thanks in part to an average tuition cost that was more affordable than the majority of other schools on our list. It also tied for the second-largest catalog of computer and appliance repair degree programs among schools in our top ten.
Computer repair students can earn an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in computer support, as well as basic and advanced achievement certificates and an abbreviated skills certificate program in PC repair. Those studying to be appliance techs can choose between two levels of certificate -- Appliance Technician I and Appliance Technician II -- that take between 18 and 39 credit hours to complete, or work toward an A.S. in appliance service technology.
Our No. 3 school stood out well ahead of the pack on our prominence metric. Eastern Arizona College reported the largest percentage of computer and appliance repair enrollment of any school on our list by a wide margin, suggesting that you'll be able to find a wide network of potential colleagues to study with.
Computer students at EAC have four programs to choose from, two of which lead to associate degrees and two of which are 28-credit certificate plans. The certificate plans focus tightly on either database support or personal computer networking, while the Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) and Associate of Business (A.Bus.) programs include more general education courses and better prepare you to transfer to a four-year university.
Albany Technical College took the top spot on our distance education enrollment metric, reporting to the NCES that more than 57 percent of its 2015 student body took at least a portion of their coursework online. It also had one of the highest graduation rates among schools in the top ten, beating all other schools on our list but two in that category.
Students looking to train in computer repair have a few options at this Albany, Georgia, institution. One of the more direct routes available is the computer support specialist diploma, which requires 55 credit hours of study and teaches hardware installation and maintenance alongside IT analysis and computer networking fundamentals.
If you're looking for a close-knit academic environment, this Sandersville, Georgia, school might be for you. The student-faculty ratio at Oconee Fall Line Technical College was 10:1 in 2015, which is not only the most student-focused ratio among schools on our list but beats the national average of 16:1 by nearly 40 percent.
The computer support specialist degree and certificate programs at OFTC focus more on software support, computing concepts, program design and networking than on direct physical repair of computer systems, although a course in hardware installation is included in the curriculum. If you're interested in circuit boards and soldering, check out OFTC's mobile electronics technician certificate.
The statistics show that South Georgia Technical College invests in its students' futures, and those investments seem to be paying off. The Americus, Georgia, school earmarks nearly 50 percent of its annual budget for course development and other instructional expenses, and its efforts have returned the No. 1 graduation rate among schools that made our top ten.
Future computer and appliance techs at SGTC have a range of different study plans to choose from. The 18-credit PC repair and network technician certificate aims to give a solid introduction to computer support, while the electrical maintenance technician certificate teaches the fundamentals of wiring, motors, programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other common components of household machines.
Just three other schools on our list posted better numbers in the graduation rate category than Western Wyoming Community College, which also took the No. 2 spot for its percentage of students enrolled in at least some distance education courses. The online offerings at WWCC are structured similarly to traditional classes, with regular deadlines and frequent instructor interactions, so they might be a good option for students looking to take their first steps into the virtual classroom.
The A.S. in computer science at WWCC requires 65 credits to qualify for graduation and can be earned entirely online. Aspiring appliance technicians can choose among three programs in which to learn the finer points of electrical work, including a 24-credit electrical apprenticeship certificate.
American River College took the No. 1 spot for affordability among schools that made our top ten, but that's not the only distinction it earned in that category. The average 2015 tuition and fees cost of just over $1,100 was more affordable than every other accredited computer and appliance repair school in the country.
This Sacramento, California, institution was also one of the top online schools for computer and appliance repair, ranking No. 4 among schools on our list for its percentage of students taking a portion of their courses online. Neither the certificate nor the degree in PC support management at ARC can be earned 100 percent online, but numerous individual courses are offered via distance learning.
The second-highest graduation rate among schools that made our list can be found at this medium-small school in Tacoma, Washington, where students have access to on-campus flexibility measures like weekend/evening courses and placement services for alumni. What's more, an open enrollment policy assures that all qualified applicants will be accepted, regardless of standardized test scores or past academic performance.
The curriculum for the A.A.S. in electronic equipment service at Bates Technical College focuses more on TVs, DVD players, car stereos, office machinery and medical equipment than on typical large appliances like refrigerators and washer/dryer units, but the approaches to electricity and electrical concepts are similar. The information technology specialist A.A.S. program includes options to obtain popular IT industry certifications.
The fourth Georgia school on our list rounds it out at No. 10, offering numerous programs for students hoping to go into computer support and repair. The fastest route to a computer support education at Athens Technical College is the PC repair and network technician certificate, which takes 18 credit hours of study to complete and touches on hardware maintenance, computer networking and operating system concepts.
Future computer support specialists can choose between two longer programs, as well -- a diploma plan that takes 55-56 credit hours of work to complete, and an associate degree that includes 15-16 credits of general education courses. Certification tracks from CompTIA, a respected IT trade association, are also available here.
Computer And Appliance Repair Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Careers in computer and appliance repair typically require at least a high school diploma or equivalent, and employers may provide on-the-job training for the specific equipment you'll be working on. The broad knowledge available on your way to an associate degree or certificate in the field can give you a leg up on other applicants.
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Computer And Appliance Repair Majors
Most of the financial aid opportunities for computer and appliance repair students are available at the state, regional or institutional level, although certain programs -- like the OnSite Appliance Scholarship -- are open to all eligible students nationwide. Here's a quick list of scholarships and other financial aid for computer and appliance repair students.
To be included in these rankings, all schools must meet the following initial criteria for the specific subject being ranked.
- Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor’s) in that subject.
- Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in the most recent year of IPEDS data available.
Based on those criteria, we ranked all 2-year and 4-year schools in IPEDS that reported data for all of the following points. Ratings are calculated on a 10-point scale, using the weights specified.
- In-state undergraduate tuition & fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Accessibility, based on admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Institutional spending, based on two equally weighted factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Instructional and academic support expenses per full-time enrolled student
- Instructional and academic support spending as a percentage of all expenses
- Student-to-faculty ratio, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Flexibility, based on the following factors, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Percent of students enrolled fully or partly in distance education
- Whether the school offers programs that can be completed entirely in the evenings and on weekends
- Whether the school offers academic and career counseling
- Whether the school offers job placement services for students who complete their programs
- Whether the school offers any alternative tuition plans, such as a payment plan or guaranteed rate
- Size of program, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2014-15 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015
- Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015