IT Support Specialist Career Diploma Course Details

Penn Foster College’s online IT Support Specialist Career Diploma program consists of courses to help you gain the knowledge and skills employers are seeking. Our program will help you understand technology careers, hardware basics, operating system installation, networking protocols, and more.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The IT Support Specialist career diploma program prepares students for a career as an entry-level IT support technician, covering such skills as hardware repair and replacement, WindowsⓇ and AppleⓇ operating systems, troubleshooting, and networking.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • List technology careers and recognize the interpersonal and business skills necessary to succeed as an IT support specialist
  • Identify the tools and test equipment associated with IT support activities, know how hardware and software work together in the operation of a PC, and outline the process for assembling a personal computer
  • Identify different types of removable media devices, name the physical components of a hard drive and know the function of each, as well as know how to maintain disks and systems
  • Identify electrical terms and symbols, and describe how to recognize a failed power supply and how to replace it, as well as describe a multimeter and its functions
  • Identify various operating systems along with their characteristics, features, discuss the processes required to install hardware and software using WindowsⓇ and MacⓇ operating systems
  • Identify different types of system boards, list the physical components of memory, and describe how memory is accessed
  • Describe how to solve basic computer problems, define the differences between a virus, worm, and a Trojan horse, and identify the types of threats against a computer system
  • Describe how PCs communicate, identify the typical input/output devices encountered in a computer system, and describe the process of configuring routers, switches, as well as static and dynamic routing schemes

In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. You’ll work to improve your study skills, so you’re able to use a number of tools that will help you to be successful.


  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner

This course will cover the interpersonal skills all IT support professionals need to be successful. Whether dealing with coworkers or dealing with external customers, it’s important that IT support specialists maintain professionalism in any scenario.


  • Describe the skills needed for effective communication
  • Explain the professional characteristics exhibited by successful employees
  • Identify the hallmarks of excellent customer service

The materials in this course and the textbook chapters you’ll read align with the 220-1001 Core 1 objectives for the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam.

In this course, you’ll study hardware components, and identify the functions of motherboards, memory, hard drives, and other parts of a computer system. Networking, troubleshooting, and securing portable and mobile devices will also be covered.


  • Identify CompTIA exam components and IT support specialist career functions
  • Explain the parts of a computer system
  • Classify the internal functions of motherboards, firmware, computing storage, and power
  • Analyze the external components of a computer system and how they work for customers
  • Distinguish elements of networking, including local area networks and wide area networks
  • Categorize portable and mobile computer systems
  • Discuss basic electricity
  • Explain voltage, current, resistance, and power
  • Calculate wattage
  • Identify key electrical terms and symbols

Textbook: Mike Meyers’ CompTIA A+ Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting PCs

This course focuses on operating systems, software, and security, which are key domains in the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam. The materials in this course and the textbook chapters you’ll read align to the 220-1002 Core 2 objectives for the CompTIA A+ Certification Exam.

Information on common standards used with the Command Line Interface (CLI) and scripting is also provided. You’ll also study troubleshooting software, configuring networks, and handling common security threats while identifying the best practices that successful IT support specialists employ regularly.


  • Identify three common operating systems
  • Summarize the processes of operating system installation, maintenance, and upgrade
  • Describe the troubleshooting process for operating systems
  • Relate software to networking
  • Categorize computer security in the IT field
  • Define operational procedures for a career as an IT support specialist

Textbook: Mike Meyers’ CompTIA A+ Guide to Managing and Troubleshooting PCs

In this course, you’ll study routing and switching, the underlying mechanism of all data communication networks. The focus will be on the principles of networking as implemented in the products and practices of Cisco Systems, Inc.

This course is designed for individuals who may not have all the technical prerequisites to become network engineers, but who are motivated to learn what makes networks function. It’s not preparation for the Cisco certification exam.


  • Categorize the application of network, OSI model, TCP/IP, and protocols
  • Analyze the functions of topologies, numbering systems, and IP addresses
  • Point out the function of cabling, device functions, and LAN operations
  • Show the configuration procedures for routers and switches

Textbook: Cisco Networking Essentials

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Surround Sound Support

A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.
Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools
Penn Foster Student Community

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

Sample IT Support Specialist Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a IT Support Specialist course would look like.
IT Support Specialist Sample Lesson
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Enroll Now Request Info