Computer Support Technician

Program Outline

Your independent study program consists of courses designed to take you step-by-step through the knowledge and skills you’ll employ in your new career as a Computer Support Technician. You’ll begin your first course as soon as your enrollment has been accepted. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams, so that you will always have training materials to work with. (Examinations in this program must be taken online.)

Students must complete two basic skills assessments before beginning the program — one for math and one for reading. These assessments are randomized and must be taken online. Students who do not pass one or both of these assessments will be required to take online remedial courses to ensure their preparedness for the program curriculum. Upon completing your basic skills assessments, your first course will be sent immediately. Other courses will follow as you complete your exams, so that you will always have training materials to work with.

Entrance Requirements
A High School Diploma or GED is required to enroll in this program.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later, Microsoft® Office 365, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Here is an overview of what you’ll learn and the order in which you’ll receive your courses:

Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal. Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers. Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal: To prepare students for an entry-level position as a computer support technician.

Program Outcomes:
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • List the basic steps for unpacking, setting up, using, and troubleshooting a computer system
  • Identify the tools and test equipment associated with PC repair and explain their purpose
  • Examine the role of technology in business and society, including trends and their implications for the future
  • Describe the major components contained in a PC and explain the purpose of each
  • Discuss the three types of software required for a PC to operate and explain the purpose of each
  • Discuss the relationship between hardware and software
  • Identify the work-related characteristics that are important for a successful PC technician
  • Describe the methods available for you to remain current with new developments in technology
  • Create new Word documents, edit and format Word documents, add graphics and tables to Word documents
  • Create and use simple formulas and functions, incorporate useful charts and graphs, add, delete, sort, and lay out table using the Excel application
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation, work with PowerPoint tools, tables, and charts, apply Slide Master, shapes, add animation, illustration objects, and media clips
  • Create a home inventory database using MS Access application
  • Identify the various operating systems along with their characteristics, features, and capabilities
  • List and explain operating maintenance procedures used to keep a computer running at peak efficiency
  • List and explain hardware maintenance procedures used in the physical upkeep of the PC and its attached devices
  • Describe preventive measures and methods you can use to protect data and identify ways to recover lost or corrupted data
  • Identify and explain how to use tools available for troubleshooting and support of computers running Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7/8
  • Discuss the basics of troubleshooting software, hardware, and the OS on a Macintosh computer
  • Discuss why customer service is important and identify behaviors that engage customers
  • Determine how to provide customers with value and meet/exceed expectations
  • Demonstrate effective written and interpersonal communication skills
  • Recognize numerous steps that can be used to troubleshoot basic problems that impact the function of a PC
  • Describe techniques that will assist you with PC maintenance in a business setting
  • Describe each step of the troubleshooting process, its importance, and how that step is practiced in the field
  • Explain the user’s role in the troubleshooting process and how to integrate this aspect into the technician’s work
  • Cite various strategies used in the troubleshooting process, such as “divide and conquer”
  • Describe components of the system board, the role of the system board, and ways to upgrade an existing system
  • Differentiate between RAM and ROM
  • Identify the type of memory a system board requires and describe how to properly install system RAM
  • Describe how to repair, replace, and install many of the most common types of drives that support removable media
    To prepare students for an entry-level position as a computer support technician
  • Determine how to optimize a hard drive and troubleshoot common hard drive problems
  • Explain how to install various types of multimedia devices such as sound cards, video cards, CD, and DVD drives
  • Discuss how to measure and test the output of different power supplies
  • Recognize different power supply failures and describe how to replace a typical power supply
  • Describe basic maintenance and upgrades, power options, and Internet connection options for notebook computers
  • Describe basic maintenance and upgrades, power options, and network connection options for mobile devices
  • Determine how to install different types of modems, set them up for communication over the Internet, and troubleshoot problems modems have
  • Recognize how to configure PCs to enable a Remote Desktop connection
  • Describe communication systems used by computers to form networks
  • Explain the various types of networking protocols
  • Differentiate between network topologies
  • Describe the function of IP addressing schemes
  • Identify different networking implementation strategies and technologies available
  • Describe the features of Cisco’s IOS, and apply the concepts to all standard data communication networks
  • Describe the process of configuring routers and switches

PCM101: The Information Age (Delivered online only)

This course is a brief introduction to the constantly changing world of computer technology in the Information Age. The course introduces the technology student to the social and professional importance of technology, some basics of the language of technology, and career opportunities related to technology.

PCM103: Introduction to PC Repair

This course provides the student with a broad view of PC Maintenance, focusing on the essential elements of hardware and software, as well as the importance of safety. It also explains the essential characteristics of a PC support technician and the various types of employment available.

CSC112: Microsoft® Office

PC applications in word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, and database software.

PCM107: PC Operating Systems

Describes the use of software for virus protection, data protection and recovery, and gives a systematic overview of operating systems, including an array of Windows® systems, such as XP, Vista,® Windows® 7, and Apple® Computers.

BUS105: Customer Service

Customer service is presented as an integral part of any career, in terms of understanding what customer service encompasses and why it is essential, recognizing, understanding, and meeting customer needs, and communicating with customers, including verbal and nonverbal messages, active listening skills, dealing with hostility and necessary skills in various mediums such as the Internet and telephone.

ENG010: Business English

Writing difficulties; grammar review (sentences, parts of speech, punctuation marks, and paragraphs); defining unfamiliar terms; finding ideas through freewriting and brainstorming; organizing ideas; principles of revising and editing; figures of speech; writing for the senses; getting the readers’ attention; descriptive writing; first-person narratives; reflective and persuasive essays; thesis statements.

PCM108: Troubleshooting

Basic troubleshooting and support is covered first; then students will learn the process of troubleshooting; troubleshooting techniques, and troubleshooting and software issues.

PCM105: PC Hardware 1

Defines and describes the elements and function of hardware devices, which are part of a modern personal computer system.
(Lessons 26 - 31)

PCM106: PC Hardware 2

This course provides the student with more sophisticated techniques in PC Maintenance and Repair, including external I/O devices, printers, notebooks/laptops/PDAs, purchasing and building PCs, troubleshooting, support, virus protection, data protection, and recovery.

INT128: Network Protocols and Internetworking

Covers topics related to how computers communicate with each other, how computers are grouped together to form networks, networking concepts and issues that are key to the successful implementation of computer networks, and the different networking implementation strategies and technologies currently available.


Online Library and Librarian
Students in Penn Foster Career School have access to an online library for use during their studies. Students can use this library to do the required research in the courses they complete or can use it for general reference and links to valuable resources. The library contains helpful research assistance, articles, databases, books, and Web links. A librarian is available to answer questions on general research-related topics via email and to assist students in research activities during their studies with Penn Foster Career School International.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.