Almost all application specialist positions require that you have a good deal of knowledge of technology and its day-to-day changes. The jobs require application specialists to be expert in several computer programs and data interfaces. It can be a rewarding job if you enjoy being around technology and working closely with colleagues and customers.
Types of Application Specialist Jobs
There are several types of application specialist positions, ranging from data application specialists to application systems specialists to administrative application specialists. Because every company that deals with money needs at least one, the most common position is a cash application specialist. Many application specialists are found in the medical field because hospitals and clinics deal with software programs and billing issues.
Most companies require that candidates for application specialist positions hold at least a bachelor’s degree; sometimes the company is specific and requires that you have a bachelor‘s in math, computer science or business. The U.S. Air Force requires that you train for 60 days and that you have advanced math skills and knowledge of statistics. Applicants should have good interpersonal and communication skills and should be able to manage several projects at the same time. Because of the nature of the job, it is beneficial for you to know how to use Microsoft Office programs and Excel.
Duties and Responsibilities
Oftentimes, application specialists are responsible for handling cash and credit card processing as well as billing systems. Cash application specialists follow up with disputed credit card transactions and unresolved payment issues, and often deal with collections and collection agencies. Application specialists in the medical field often become experts with all of the software used in their offices and develop training procedures for other employees who use the programs.
Pay and Benefits
For entry-level application specialist positions, as of August 2010, employees make from $30,000 to $40,000 per year; many jobs come with medical and dental benefits as well. For more specialized application specialist positions, new hires start at $80,000 to $90,000 per year. As of August 2010, the U.S. Air Force started application specialists at $1,447 per month plus benefits, but depending on experience and years of service, specialists make up to $7,000 per month.
What You Can Do to Be Competitive
Microsoft has a certification program that offers training for people interested in becoming an application specialist. Because most application specialists are required to know how to use Microsoft programs, Microsoft's certification process helps you stand out. According to Microsoft’s website, earning your Microsoft Office Specialist certification helps you “broaden your employment opportunities by displaying your advanced skills, and results in higher earning potential.” The program features training and an exam. If you certify, you will have access to a member site and you will be able to place Microsoft’s official certification logo on your resume.