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So, you want to become a certified Microsoft Office Specialist. If this is your goal or even if you have never heard of the certification, I will try to explain the route to take in order for you to become a Certified Microsoft Specialist. But before you dive in head first only to realize you don’t know where to begin, I’m going to help. I’m going to explain the why’s and the how’s in obtaining this certification. MOS, what is it? MOS is a Microsoft Office Specialist. Why would you want to become one? It can help with a promotion or to even obtain a job. Where can you get it? Any Microsoft certified testing site.

First, let’s talk about what the Microsoft Office Specialist certification is, in detail. The Microsoft Office Specialist (hereby referred to as MOS) certificate is a group of exams you need to take, five to be exact, and are listed here in no particular order:

  • Microsoft Word 2016 Exam                               725
  • Microsoft Excel 2016 Exam                               727
  • Microsoft power point 2016 Exam                   729
  • Microsoft Access 2016 Exam                             730
  • Microsoft Office 2016 Exam                              731

These exams will all need to be taken and passed in order for you to become certified in MOS.

Let’s begin by going to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/mos-certification.aspx and looking over the particular exams and any other exam information such as recommended study guides. The website also contains an FAQ for you to use. Now that you picked an exam/s to take, let’s head over to http://shop.certiport.com/category-s/1905.htm to purchase your exam voucher/s. You can choose to buy just a test voucher ($96.00 as of 09-28-2018) or a test and retake voucher for ($115.00 as of 09-28-2018). It’s been proven that those that have a monetary stake in something are more likely to use it for fear of missing out or just losing the money. So, this is the reason I recommend buying the vouchers right away. When you purchase your voucher plan to set up an exam date, I would recommend at least three months out. Six months if you are still in school, have a family, or any other reason that slows your studying time to nil. You can go to http://portal.certiport.com/Locator to find a testing center near you.

Now that you have a monetary stake in your certification let’s look at buying a book or two to help you in your certification journey. Look on www.amazon.com for study guides. A good one is this https://www.amazon.com/2016-Study-Guide-Microsoft-Word/dp/0735699410/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1538182127&sr=8-1&keywords=mos+2016+study+guide+for+microsoft+word&dpID=51cLcOcOxtL&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch . This is the Microsoft Word 2016 study guide, but they also have other guides for the other exams. Another idea I really enjoy is learning online from either www.udemy.com or www.edx.org, both of these sites other hundreds of learning opportunities ripe for the picking.

The next step to take would be studying. Finding study time for some individuals can be nearly impossible. What I find interesting is that a lot of people tend to shy away from the wee-morning hours. These hours can be a Godsend if you find that you can’t get any peace and quiet during the day or night. What I recommend is setting a schedule once you’ve decided to take a test for your certification. Setting a schedule in the early morning hours can be difficult, but if you plan ahead and set your study materials on a table before you go to bed and set an alarm, you will at least be prepared to study once you wake up instead of hunting for things before you get that first cup of joe. It might also be a good idea to let the family know that this is important to you and your career and any help and or quiet time would be appreciated. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but it is definitely needed.

Finally, here are some final thing you need to know, some items for you to think about in order for you to pass your MOS Certification in the Milwaukee Area:

  • Step 1) Obtain basic computer skills (you already have these, or you wouldn’t be reading this)
  • Step 2) Enroll in Microsoft Office courses (not required, but a good idea)
  • Step 3) Choose a certification program (choose one you are most confident in that you feel you could easily pass to help boost confidence)
  • Step 4) Prep for the exam, three months minimum (try to set a study schedule, it helps)
  • Step 5) Night before the test, go over any notes and important details you had trouble with
  • Step 6) Morning of exam, eat a good breakfast and go over some last-minute notes
  • Step 7) Take certification exam
  • Step 8) Review exam if needed, and setup a re-take also if needed
  • Step 9) If passed test update Linkedin account, resume, career builder, and social media with your accomplishment

Requirements to take the exam = none

Training needed = Windows and office training

Experience = None required

Key skills = Basic computer – proficient in Microsoft Office

Testing details = 90 minutes per test – results are given immediately – must be an authorized Microsoft test site

The good news = Average salary as of 2015 is $35,200 – $52,000