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Microsoft Office certifications are generally optional credentials that can demonstrate specialized competence in one or more Microsoft Office programs. Workers can prove their skills and proficiency with Microsoft computer programs by earning the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification. Individuals can elect to earn certification in one or more Microsoft programs, such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint. Before taking the exam, individuals have the option of self-guided training or participating in formal computer courses and workshops. Direct your questions about exam schedules and pre-registration to the Certiport location where you intend to take the exam.

Step 1: Obtain Basic Computer Skills

Before becoming a certified Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), individuals must obtain basic computer skills. MOS certification specifically requires training in Microsoft programs and operating systems. Students may enroll in a basic computer program if they have little or no computer skills, or they can enroll in a program that allows them to learn a specific skill, such as how to use the Internet.

Step 2: Enroll in Microsoft Office Courses

The next step is to enroll in Microsoft Office courses. Although individuals can teach themselves how to use Microsoft Office programs, college-level courses and workshops offer professional training that can teach a student about the proper way to use all the features of a program, which is information that is usually covered on certification tests. Colleges and universities typically offer courses under different skill levels: basic, intermediate and advanced. Each class usually covers only one Microsoft Office software program, such as Word, Excel, Access, Outlook or PowerPoint.

Here are a few online classes you can enroll in:

CCI Learning Solutions offers complete solutions for teaching and validating essential skills needed in today’s workplace. As an industry leader, its extensive services and products include pre-assessment software, approved courseware for instructor led classes, e-learning courses and blended training solutions.

Available for: Word, Word Expert, Excel, Excel Expert, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, OneNote & Office 365

Pearson provides quality Career & Technical Education curriculum solutions that prepare students for career and college success. Pearson programs are aimed at helping learners prepare for, and discover, greater education and employment opportunities. We are dedicated to creating learning materials that provide relevance, real-world application, and the highest quality content. Our materials align to state standards, incorporate career exploration and 21st Century Skills, and include strong instructional support to ensure your learners meet desired course outcomes. Many of our programs prepare learners for industry-recognized certifications.

Available for: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook & Access


Step 3: Choose a Certification Program

To achieve MOS certification, the next step is to choose a software program to become certified in. Individuals can obtain certification for all Microsoft Office programs, but certification for each software program requires passing a different exam.

Workers who create and update documents, such as newsletters, invitations, press releases or manuals, would benefit most by obtaining MOS Word certification. Those workers in charge of managing and creating databases might consider earning a MOS Access certification. For professionals who frequently give presentations, MOS PowerPoint certification would be a good choice. MOS Outlook certification may be useful for a professional who works in a company that uses Microsoft Outlook as a closed and secure e-mail system.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

Performance based assessment and test preparation tools to help individuals achieve IT certification credentials. Many will be anxious to assess their knowledge of applications prior to taking the certification exams. Certiport has partnered with GMetrix to deliver industry-leading practice tests. These tests will ensure that you are adequately prepared to their certification exam.

Practice tests are customizable, allowing you to create a highly-effective environment conducive to student-centered learning.

Practice tests have two different modes:

Testing mode:

  • You will experience what the certification exams will be like
  • Timed practice tests present scenarios to perform just like the actual certification exam

Training mode:

  • You work at your own pace and receive feedback and step-by-step instructions for each question

Practice tests available for:

  • Word 2016, 2013, 2010
  • Word Expert 2016, 2013, 2010
  • Excel 2016, 2013, 2010
  • Excel Expert 2016, 2013, 2010
  • PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2010
  • Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010
  • Access 2016, 2013, 2010
  • SharePoint 2013, 2010
  • OneNote 2013, 2010


Step 5: Take Certification Exams

The final step is to take the certification exam or exams. MOS certification exams are only administered through testing centers authorized by Microsoft. All Microsoft Office Specialist exams are administered by Each certification exam takes about 90 minutes to complete. Exam questions ask applicants to complete a task using the appropriate tools within the software program. For example, the MOS PowerPoint certification exam might ask exam takers to make a slideshow with embedded video links.

Test takers can immediately view their results after completing the exam. Those who pass the exam are recognized as officially certified and will receive an MOS certification certificate through the mail. Those who do not pass the exam have the opportunity to challenge answers marked incorrect or retake the exam.

Jobs rarely require this certification, but it can certainly boost an applicant’s employment potential. Examples of jobs for which this certification can be helpful include paralegal and secretary, or administrative assistant.