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Working as a Help Desk Specialist

Help desk assistants are responsible for providing technical assistance and support for customer issues related to computer systems, hardware, and software. They also write training manuals, train computer users, and perform daily maintenance of computer systems.

Help desk assistants support customers by responding to email messages of customers seeking help, asking questions to determine the nature of the problem, walking customers through problem-solving processes in diagnostic programs, and following up to ensure the issue has been resolved.

Some of the skills needed for a role as a help desk assistant include an advanced knowledge of help desk software and remote access systems, the ability to troubleshoot complex hardware and software systems including databases, office applications, and operating systems, and excellent analytical, diagnostic, communication, and customer service skills, as well as patience and understanding.

Help desk assistants need a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology, or a related field. They typically earn about $49,218 per year, which breaks down to $23.66 per hour. The career is expected to grow by 10% between 2018 and 2028, creating 83,100 new jobs.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a help desk specialist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $23.66 an hour? That's $49,218 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 10% and produce 83,100 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Help Desk Specialist Do

There are certain skills that many help desk specialists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed customer-service skills, listening skills and speaking skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a help desk specialist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 10.7% of help desk specialists included customer service, while 8.2% of resumes included technical support, and 7.1% of resumes included email. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the help desk specialist job title. But what industry to start with? Most help desk specialists actually find jobs in the technology and finance industries.

How To Become a Help Desk Specialist

If you're interested in becoming a help desk specialist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 41.3% of help desk specialists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 8.8% of help desk specialists have master's degrees. Even though most help desk specialists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a help desk specialist. When we researched the most common majors for a help desk specialist, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on help desk specialist resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a help desk specialist. In fact, many help desk specialist jobs require experience in a role such as technical support specialist. Meanwhile, many help desk specialists also have previous career experience in roles such as computer technician or help desk analyst.

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Average Salary$49,218
Job Growth Rate10%

Help Desk Specialist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Help Desk Specialist

Top Careers After Help Desk Specialist

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Average Salary for a Help Desk Specialist

Help Desk Specialists in America make an average salary of $49,218 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $60,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$49,218

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Washington, DC
Salary Range56k - 90k$71k$71,171
New York, NY
Salary Range50k - 79k$63k$63,105
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range43k - 67k$54k$54,234
Boston, MA
Salary Range44k - 64k$54k$53,686
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range41k - 67k$53k$52,866
Arlington, VA
Salary Range39k - 63k$50k$50,218
$24k
$90k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Help Desk/Desk Side Specialist
Help Desk/Desk Side Specialist
Horizontal
Horizontal
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$41,13501/31/2021
$41,135
Help Desk Specialist-Its Customer Technical Support
Help Desk Specialist-Its Customer Technical Support
University of Tennessee
University of Tennessee
01/29/2021
01/29/2021
$35,12401/29/2021
$35,124
Elections Specialist I/II-Extra-Help Elections Specialist I/II
Elections Specialist I/II-Extra-Help Elections Specialist I/II
County of Merced
County of Merced
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$33,45501/28/2021
$33,455
Help Desk Specialist
Help Desk Specialist
State of Virginia
State of Virginia
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$50,00001/28/2021
$50,000
Desktop Support Engineer
Desktop Support Engineer
Randstad
Randstad
01/28/2021
01/28/2021
$52,17501/28/2021
$52,175
See More Recent Salaries

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Help Desk Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Help Desk Specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Help Desk Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Help Desk Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Help Desk Specialist Demographics

Gender

male

73.9 %

female

21.7 %

unknown

4.4 %

Ethnicity

White

61.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

13.2 %

Black or African American

11.7 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

55.8 %

French

8.6 %

Arabic

4.7 %
See More Demographics

Help Desk Specialist Education

Majors

Business
13.1 %

Degrees

Bachelors

41.3 %

Associate

28.9 %

Certificate

8.9 %

Top Colleges for Help Desk Specialists

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

6. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Public

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

7. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Troy, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,880
Enrollment
6,590

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

9. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

10. Saint Ambrose University

Davenport, IA • Private

In-State Tuition
$30,894
Enrollment
2,289
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Help Desk Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.7% of help desk specialists listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as customer-service skills and listening skills are important as well.

Best States For a Help Desk Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a help desk specialist. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Alaska. Help desk specialists make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $67,050. Whereas in New York and Delaware, they would average $62,831 and $58,634, respectively. While help desk specialists would only make an average of $58,012 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Help Desk Specialist Jobs:
533
Highest 10% Earn:
$111,000
Location Quotient:
2.26
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Help Desk Specialist Jobs:
93
Highest 10% Earn:
$66,000
Location Quotient:
1.69
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Rhode Island

Total Help Desk Specialist Jobs:
118
Highest 10% Earn:
$76,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Help Desk Specialist Employers

1. TEKsystems
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$53,081
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
83+
2. Robert Half International
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$50,913
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
77+
3. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$60,770
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
63+
4. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$65,228
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
61+
5. United States Navy
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$49,960
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
59+
6. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$50,643
Help Desk Specialists Hired: 
53+

Help Desk Specialist Videos

Updated October 2, 2020