Microsoft Office is among the most widely used suite of business software on the planet. Microsoft recently reported that commercial sales of Microsoft Office 365, its cloud-based Office suite, were up 38 percent for the last quarter of 2018, and sales of the consumer edition were up 8 percent, which means 31.4 million new subscribers. In fact, Microsoft Office 365 is overtaking Google G Suite in terms of usage, and it looks like half of organizations are standardizing with Microsoft Office.
With Microsoft Office becoming the de facto standard for business software, Microsoft Office certification offers true value as you seek career advancement. While having a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credential may not be specifically required for most office jobs, the certification is proof of your expertise in the most widely used business software in the world. Microsoft Office certification tells your prospective employer that you are qualified to use their business applications, you don’t need additional training, and you are serious about advancing your career.
An MOS certificate also assures your boss (or your next boss) that you are staying current with the latest office software. Office applications are continually evolving, and new editions with new features are continually coming to market—so MOS certification puts you ahead of others who are seeking an administrative position.
Best of all, Microsoft Office certification gives you credentials that are valid anywhere. Every company wants an Office expert who can not only use the software but support and train other staff as well.
What Is Microsoft Office Certification?
To become a Microsoft Office Specialist, you have to demonstrate a professional level of knowledge and skill using the Microsoft Office suite of products, including:
- Microsoft Outlook - Email and collaborative calendaring software
- Microsoft Word - Word processing and basic electronic publishing software
- Microsoft Excel - Spreadsheet software
- Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation software to create slideshows
- Microsoft OneNote - A note-taking software that lets you enter information and gather clipped data and online articles
- Microsoft Access - Database management software
MOS certification indicates that you have the technical expertise to use the software and have mastered the full functionality of the various applications.
To verify your Microsoft Office knowledge, you are required to pass MOS certification exams. Most Microsoft Office career training programs include preparation for the various MOS certification exams.
You also have three levels of MOS certification training:
- Microsoft Office Specialist: This is the foundational level of certification for each of the Microsoft Office applications.
- Microsoft Office Specialist Expert: The second level of MOS certification includes knowledge of the most advanced features in Microsoft Word and Excel.
- Microsoft Office Specialist Master: The top level of MOS certification demonstrates that you have a deep understanding of all the Office features, including integration.
Once you have completed your Microsoft Office certification, you might consider moving on to the next level with Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification, a credential that is more technical but can help you get into the technology field.
MOS certification can help you qualify for a variety of jobs, such as office manager, executive assistant, administrative assistant, SharePoint specialist, research analyst, and database specialist, to name a few. Average salaries for Microsoft Office Specialists are as high as $75,000-$83,000 per year.
What You Will Learn About Microsoft Office
There are different certificates offered under the Microsoft Office Specialist banner. There also are specific exams for each application included with Office, as well as specific exams for different versions of Office software. For example, there are specific exams for:
- Microsoft Office Word 2016 (Exam 77-881)
- Microsoft Office Excel 2016 (Exam 77-882)
- Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2016 (Exam 77-883)
- Microsoft Office Outlook 2016 (Exam 77-884)
- Microsoft Office Access 2016 (Exam 77-885)
- Microsoft SharePoint 2016 (Exam 77-886)
- Microsoft Office OneNote 2016 (Exam 77-853)
- Microsoft Office 365 (Exam 77-891)
The certification exams are given at different locations by Certiport and are usually conducted as a live or simulated test that can take up to 90 minutes. MOS candidates are usually asked to perform a series of tasks that demonstrate their knowledge and expertise with various Office software applications, such as building a specific type of Word document or Excel spreadsheet report.
The Benefits of MOS Certification
Once you receive Microsoft Office certification, it can give you a number of career advantages.
When applying for a job, MOS certification may be the credential that helps you stand out from the other applicants. Depending on the position, you can leverage your knowledge of Access, Excel, or PowerPoint to highlight your unique qualifications to deal with database issues or analysis.
MOS certification also could mean a higher salary. Depending on your regional job market, your other skills and certifications, your experience, the job you are seeking, and other factors, MOS certification can translate to a salary of $80,000 or more.
And Microsoft Office skills follow you, making you more marketable as you move up the career ladder. If you don’t believe it, Certiport has a number of success stories from people who have passed the MOS exams.
If you are interested in Microsoft Office certification, Career Development Solutions has a number of Microsoft Office-related classes. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how MOS certification can help your career.