Network Support Systems at PTC

BY SKYLA LUCKEY, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Looking for a new career? Well, Pinellas Technical College (PTC) has the job training you need to do just that. With a host of programs to explore, they have something for everyone. From working on cars, to working with children, to working in the medical field, a new career is waiting for you.

The St. Petersburg campus, located at 901 34th St. S, has a new program for those who would like to work in the highly sought after Information Technology (IT) field. Careers in this field in Florida, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, averages at $38.45 an hour.

Network and computer administrators organize, install and support an organization’s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs); wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets and other data communications systems. Some of the work duties include installing network hardware and software, adding users to a network and maintaining network and computer system security.

The program at PTC started last August and currently has three students enrolled. Ron McLemore has taught Networking Support Systems for three years, but began a career in the IT field in the 1970s. He’s worked for large corporations such as Eckerd Pharmacy.

When Eckerd was bought out by CVS, McLemore took a job with IBM, which involved a lot of travelling.

“Basically you leave every Monday morning and you come home every Friday night,” McLemore said. “You don’t have much of a life so I got tired of that and decided that something else such as teaching might be order.”

The Network Support Systems classroom at PTC has dozens of computers available. The one-year course schedule is Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 12: 15 p.m.

McLemore guides the students and answers any of their questions in regards to network support systems training. Students get hands on experience by disassembling parts of a computer and putting them back together.

Throughout the year of training, students will have a chance to take official certification tests such as CompTIA A+ and Security+. They have the ability to earn six certifications by the time they graduate. Many organizations require potential IT employees to have these certifications pre-employment.

Daniel Krouse, 23, has always been involved with computers through gaming, but he never understood how a computer operated.

“I’ve always been interested in computers, and I saw this program at PTC so I thought why not?” Krouse said. “We talk a lot about whatever topic we’re on. We do a lot of practice exams. As Ron had mentioned earlier we take computers apart and put them back together—two months ago I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that.”

U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics reports that by 2017, Florida will have annual openings of network support systems jobs of 450, and 14,720 as a total employment number. The national average annual openings projected for 2017 is 10,050. The average hourly mean wage for this career in Tampa/St. Petersburg is $39.56.

 There is growth potential within this career. For those who apply themselves at entry level job for about three years have the potential to move to a more advanced position making a six figure annual income.

“I worked on computers from different parts but I thought having like a structured thing where you learn specific parts about it all the way through would be valuable,” said 24-year-old students Calvin Hill.

After graduating from the program he’d like to get an entry-level job working as a network support systems technician and gain enough experience to become a network engineer.

McLemore’s goal is to have more than 20 students; however, he knows it will take a while since the program is so new. “I believe we will eventually get there.”

The next training session begins March 15, and tuition assistance will be available within the next 60 days. New training sessions begin once every two to three months. For anyone who wants to enroll in this program with tuition assistance, contact PTC towards the end of April.

Daniel Gonzalez, 24, is the first student enrolled in the program and will graduate in September. “I knew this was something I always wanted to do so I came to PTC to get the training,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed the training very much.”

If you’re interested in exploring this career path, please visit www.pcsb.org/myptc or call (727) 893-2500.

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