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Become An Office Support Specialist

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Working As An Office Support Specialist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • $48,620

    Average Salary

What Does An Office Support Specialist Do

Computer support specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Some, called computer network support specialists, support information technology (IT) employees within their organization. Others, called computer user support specialists, assist non-IT users who are having computer problems.

Duties

Computer network support specialists typically do the following:

  • Test and evaluate existing network systems
  • Perform regular maintenance to ensure that networks operate correctly
  • Troubleshoot local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Internet systems

Computer network support specialists, also called technical support specialists, usually work in their organization’s IT department. They help IT staff analyze, troubleshoot, and evaluate computer network problems. They play an important role in the routine maintenance of their organization’s networks such as performing file backups on the network. Maintenance can be performed daily, weekly, or monthly and is important to an organization’s disaster recovery efforts. Solving an IT problem promptly is important because organizations depend on their network systems. Network support specialists may assist the organization’s computer users through phone, email, or in-person visits. They often work under network and computer systems administrators, who handle more complex tasks.

Computer user support specialists typically do the following:

  • Pay attention to customers’ descriptions of their computer problems
  • Ask customers questions to properly diagnose the problem
  • Walk customers through the recommended problem-solving steps
  • Set up or repair computer equipment and related devices
  • Train users to work with new computer hardware or software, such as printers, word-processing software, and email
  • Provide other team members and managers in the organization with information about what gives customers the most trouble and about other concerns customers have

Computer user support specialists, also called help-desk technicians, usually provide technical help to non-IT computer users. They respond to phone and email requests for help. They can usually help users remotely, but they also may make site visits so that they can solve a problem in person.

Help-desk technicians may solve a range of problems that vary with the industry and the particular firm. Some technicians work for large software companies or for support service firms and must give instructions to business customers on how to use business-specific programs such as an electronic health records program used in hospitals or physicians’ offices. Sometimes they work with other technicians to resolve problems.

Other help-desk technicians work in call centers, answering simpler questions from non-business customers. They may walk customers through basic steps in re-establishing an Internet connection or troubleshooting household IT products such as a Wi-Fi router.

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How To Become An Office Support Specialist

Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.

Education

Education requirements for computer support specialists vary. Computer user support specialist jobs require some computer knowledge, but not necessarily a postsecondary degree. Applicants who have taken some computer-related classes are often qualified. For computer network support specialists, many employers accept applicants with an associate’s degree, although some prefer applicants to have a bachelor’s degree.

Large software companies that provide support to business users who buy their products or services often require a bachelor’s degree. Positions that are more technical are likely to require a degree in a field such as computer science, engineering, or information science, but for others, the applicant’s field of study is less important.

To keep up with changes in technology, many computer support specialists continue their education throughout their careers.

Certification

Certification programs are generally offered by vendors or from vendor-neutral certification providers. Certification validates the knowledge of and best practices required by computer support specialists. Companies may require their computer support specialists to hold certifications in the products the companies use.

Advancement

Many computer support specialists advance to other information technology positions, such as network and computer systems administrators and software developers. Some become managers in the computer support services department. Some organizations provide paths for support specialists to move into other parts of the organization, such as sales. For more information, see the profiles on network and computer systems administrators and software developers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Computer support specialists must be patient and sympathetic. They must often help people who are frustrated with the software or hardware they are trying to use.

Listening skills. Support workers must be able to understand the problems that their customers are describing and know when to ask questions to clarify the situation.

Problem-solving skills. Support workers must identify both simple and complex computer problems, analyze them, and solve them.

Speaking skills. Support workers must describe the solutions to computer problems in a way that a nontechnical person can understand.

Writing skills. Strong writing skills are useful for preparing instructions and email responses for employees and customers, as well as real-time web chat interactions.

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Office Support Specialist jobs

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Office Support Specialist Career Paths

Office Support Specialist
Office Administrator Human Resources Coordinator Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Accounts Payable Clerk Finance Analyst
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Clerk Technician Service Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Special Education Teacher Program Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Specialist Account Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Accounts Receivable Specialist Accountant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Ship Worker Security Officer Account Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Account Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Assistant Director Office Manager
Property Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Ship Worker Technician Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Clerk Office Manager Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Analyst Senior Consultant
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Office Manager Marketing Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Adjunct Instructor Information Technology Manager
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Staff Specialist 3.7 years
Senior Specialist 3.6 years
Office Specialist 2.8 years
Office Associate 2.7 years
Specialist 2.5 years
Office Secretary 2.5 years
Office Assistance 2.4 years
Support Specialist 2.3 years
Office Worker 2.1 years
Support Associate 2.0 years
Support 2.0 years
Office Assistant 2.0 years
Top Employers Before
Secretary 7.9%
Cashier 4.2%
Internship 3.7%
Volunteer 1.9%
Clerk 1.7%
Top Employers After
Cashier 3.7%
Internship 3.2%
Manager 2.9%
Clerk 2.4%
Secretary 2.4%

Office Support Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

81.8%

Male

16.3%

Unknown

2.0%
Ethnicity

White

81.7%

Hispanic or Latino

11.5%

Asian

4.9%

Unknown

1.5%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

French

8.7%

Mandarin

6.5%

Chinese

4.3%

Japanese

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

Swahili

2.2%

Fula

2.2%

Braille

2.2%

Romanian

2.2%

Bambara

2.2%

Amharic

2.2%

Bemba

2.2%

Tagalog

2.2%

Korean

2.2%

Lingala

2.2%
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Office Support Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.4%

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

7.2%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

7.2%

Strayer University

7.2%

Illinois State University

6.5%

Miami Dade College

6.5%

Kaplan University

5.2%

University of Illinois at Springfield

5.2%

George Mason University

4.6%

Anne Arundel Community College

4.6%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.6%

Eastern Illinois University

3.9%

Ashford University

3.3%

J Sargeant Reynolds Community College

3.3%

Northern Illinois University

3.3%

Laramie County Community College

3.3%

Liberty University

3.3%

Saint Cloud State University

3.3%

Catawba Valley Community College

2.6%

University of Maryland - University College

2.6%
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Majors

Business

30.5%

Health Care Administration

7.1%

Psychology

6.9%

Criminal Justice

6.4%

Human Resources Management

5.1%

Accounting

4.5%

General Studies

3.6%

Education

3.6%

Communication

3.4%

English

3.2%

Legal Support Services

3.2%

Information Technology

3.2%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Management

2.8%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

2.8%

Computer Information Systems

2.6%

Marketing

2.2%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Political Science

2.1%

Social Work

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

34.1%

Other

27.8%

Associate

15.6%

Masters

11.8%

Certificate

8.3%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

0.2%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Office Support Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Automation Support Specialist, West Coast Office Sidel, Inc. Rancho Cucamonga, CA May 31, 2013 $85,194
Computer and Office Support Specialist Nissi International Group Corp Miami, FL Nov 30, 2011 $30,000
Computer and Office Support Specialist Nissi International Group Corp Miami, FL Dec 15, 2011 $30,000
Computer and Office Support Specialist Nissi International Group Corp Miami, FL Oct 01, 2012 $30,000

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Top Skills for An Office Support Specialist

CustomerServiceDataEntryDatabaseSystemsOfficeSupportPayrollFinancialStatementsOfficeSuppliesPhoneCallsOfficeEquipmentPowerpointTravelArrangementsPurchaseOrdersFrontDeskResourceScheduleAppointmentsMulti-LinePhoneSystemTelephoneCallsHRSpecialProjectsSort

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Top Office Support Specialist Skills

  1. Customer Service
  2. Data Entry
  3. Database Systems
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed office duties including customer service, phone calls, coordinating meetings and classrooms also maintained calendars for 10 surveyors.
  • Filled patients request for Medical Records, faxing, phones, data entry, and filing.
  • Maintained and updated files and database systems Responded to requests for information.
  • Performed office support duties as needed including filing and copying patients' records.
  • Performed receptionist duties and supported human resources in the areas of benefits, employment and payroll in a timely fashion.

Top Office Support Specialist Employers

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