To demonstrate their proficiency with Microsoft Office products, IT professionals may want to consider specialist certifications. To obtain certification as a Microsoft Office Specialist, it is necessary to pass several tests on Microsoft Office products.
Certifications are available through Microsoft for several products, with students taking exams to obtain certification at a basic or “expert” level. The tests are geared toward information technology professionals and students. IT professionals might consider taking an exam to meet widely recognized performance standards for the following Microsoft Office 2010 products: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, SharePoint, and OneNote.
The company also offers exams for the 2007 Microsoft Office System and Windows Vista, operating systems the skills for which the company asserts are still in demand. Tests are available in Office 2007 products including: Windows Vista, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, and Outlook.
Additionally, Microsoft offers testing on its 2003 software suite, with product proficiency exams in the 2003 versions of the following: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. These exams are set to expire on December 31, 2012.
For all levels of Microsoft Office Specialist, or MOS, certification, students must take and pass the exams at a certified testing center. All exams are administered through Certiport; find testing centers at certiport.com. Students who go through the training program offered at microsoft.com have access to online pre-tests, program-specific certification exams, and Microsoft-produced books on the various products being tested.
Microsoft also offers master-level certification in each rendition of its product suite. To attain 2010 Microsoft Office Master Certification, students must pass certification exams in the following products: Word (expert level), Excel (expert level), and PowerPoint, as well as a choice of one exam from Access, Outlook, SharePoint, or OneNote.
While many students, IT professionals, or office workers might use Microsoft Office products in their day-to-day lives, the certification exams test the skills use to operate those products at a higher level.
Many of the skills tested are specifically useful in the workplace. For example, someone taking the Microsoft Word 2010 exam may be asked to add protection to a document, apply a document to template, format content, create footnotes, or set up and execute a mail merge. Someone taking the Microsoft Word 2010 Expert exam would also need to know how to create an index for a document, create labels and forms, and apply and manipulate macros.
Training for these tests is offered in a variety of locations, including: professional development workshops, educational training programs, and self-directed learning.
Because Microsoft Office is used widely in a variety of standard office settings, many career paths are available to someone who has learned the skills necessary to be recognized as a Microsoft Office Specialist. Word is a standard for word processing in many offices; Excel is used to manage everything from budgets to attendance records; PowerPoint is used for everything from sales pitches to class presentations; and Access databases can support many types of business functions.