Microsoft Office certification offers many benefits for developers, project managers, programmers, and workers from various fields. To see if getting Microsoft Office certified is right for you, we will reveal the benefits of certification, plus how to make it happen.
What is Microsoft Office Certification?
Microsoft Office certification is a credential that shows skills and knowledge in the various Microsoft Office apps, such as Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word. When you become a Microsoft Office Specialist, you will assume one of these three levels of expertise: Associate, Expert, or Master.
What are the Benefits of Microsoft Office Certification?
Getting Microsoft Office certified as a developer, programmer, or project manager can get quite pricey, as each exam costs $100, and you will need to pass several to get certified. That significant financial investment is not the only thing to consider when deciding if you should get your Microsoft Office certification, though, as you will also need to invest plenty of time to study for those exams. As such, you want to ensure getting certified is worth your while, which is why we came up with this list of Microsoft Office certification benefits.
Many Employers Look For Microsoft Credentials
Microsoft is a name that is recognized worldwide. If you have a Microsoft Office certification next to your name, the chances of you getting hired can be higher than someone who is not certified. And, if you were looking to get a promotion to enjoy more prestige and a higher income, getting Office certified could also help with that.
If you are still not convinced that being Microsoft Office certified is worth it, know this: In October of last year, a whopping 63,000-plus job listings on Glassdoor displayed experience with Microsoft Office as a prerequisite for getting hired. Add a Microsoft Office certification to your resume, and you will have more than just experience with the software, as you will be an expert in its use, making yourself more valuable to a prospective employer.
You Could Make More Money With A Microsoft Office Certification
Does getting a Microsoft Office certification take a bit of financial investment? Sure, because, as mentioned, each exam costs $100, and you may need several to get certified. Although that initial investment can put a dent in your wallet at the outset, you can recoup that money and then some since Office certifications can often lead to higher salaries.
The Microsoft Business Applications Guide found that 68 percent of professionals saw higher salaries when they switched jobs, citing Office certification as a significant factor for that income bump. How much does the average Microsoft Office Specialist make? $57,000, if you look at Payscale’s numbers. But you can make much more than that with an Office certification on your resume, as Specialist jobs with much higher incomes include SharePoint Administrators (nearly $79,000 per year) and Senior Marketing Data Analysts (over $100,000 per year).
A Microsoft Office Certification Can Make You Better At Your Job
It is no secret that getting certified with Microsoft Office can help you land a job or a promotion as a project manager, developer, or programmer. But a highly underrated benefit of certification is that studies show it can also make you better at your job. According to the 2022 Careers and Hiring Guide from Nigel Frank, 38 percent of Microsoft Business Applications professionals enjoyed increased efficiency at work, while 30 percent saw a noticeable boost in their industry knowledge. Those are not the only job-related benefits of Office certification reported by professionals, though, as 21 percent said they gained the power to tackle complex tasks with more confidence.
Microsoft Office Certification Can Keep Your Skills Sharp
The needs of businesses are constantly changing, which is why your skill set has to evolve so you can remain a valuable project manager, developer, or programmer and avoid being replaced by someone else. Since many Microsoft Office certifications are updated from time to time, you will be required to adapt by learning and absorbing the latest tech skills. As you sharpen your skills, you become more proficient at your job, increasing your chances of retaining your position or getting promoted.
But you can also make yourself more valuable in the eyes of your employer by simply making the moves to learn those new Office skills, as it shows dedication towards mastering your craft. The ability to create presentations that look professional and manipulate data in Microsoft Access and Excel are also appreciated by management. Possessing those skills are pivotal to growing within an organization.
According to the Microsoft Business Applications Guide, 26 percent of Office professionals felt increased trust from their employers, and 20 percent said they gained transferable industry skills by having to maintain their certifications.
How to Get Microsoft Office Certified
Now that you see the benefits of Microsoft Office certification and how it can improve your skills, job and career prospects, income, and more, it is time to see how you can become Microsoft Office certified.
Pick the Right Office Certification Level
Microsoft Office certifications come in three levels, each with differing expertise. The base level certification is that of Microsoft Office Associate. To reach the Associate level, you will need to pass three of the following four exams: Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.
Next is the Microsoft Office Expert. You will need to pass three associate exams, plus two of these three Expert exams, to reach this level of Office certification: Access Expert, Excel Expert, Word Expert.
Lastly is the Microsoft Office Master certification. To become a Microsoft Office Master, you must pass three required exams, which are:
- Excel 2016 Expert: Interpreting Data for Insights
- PowerPoint 2016: Core Presentation Design and Delivery Skills
- Word 2016 Expert: Creating Documents for Effective Communication
In addition, you must pass one of these two elective exams to gain Microsoft Office Master certification:
- Access 2016: Core Database Management, Manipulation, and Query Skills
- Outlook 2016: Core Communication, Collaboration, and Email Skills
The Microsoft Office certification level you choose will depend on your career goals, your roles as a developer, programmer, project manager, etc., and the credentials and skills employers in your field are looking for.
Schedule your Microsoft Office Exam
You can schedule Microsoft Office certification exams through the Certiport Authorized Testing Center Locator. When scheduling an exam, factor in the time you will need to study for it so you can ensure you pass.
Study for Your Microsoft Office Exam
There are multiple tools to help you prep for your Microsoft Office exam so you can pass it with flying colors. Begin by downloading the exam skills outline to know what to expect. Then, use the sandbox to get a firsthand demonstration of what the exam will be like. Other ways to prep for Microsoft Office exams include third-party organizations that offer courses on varying subjects or the Microsoft training hub with its numerous learning paths and modules.
Complete and Pass the Exam
Your last step to getting closer to Microsoft Office certification is to take the exam and pass it. You can view your exam scores and other relevant information via the Certification Dashboard.
How to Stay Microsoft Office Certified
Since Microsoft Office certifications expire after a year, you will need to renew and maintain them to reap their various rewards. Renewing certifications is free and involves taking short assessments that sharpen your skills. You can begin renewing certifications six months before their expiration date.
Overview of Each Microsoft Office Exam
Programmers, developers, and project managers will need to pass multiple exams in the quest to become a Microsoft Office Associate, Expert, or Master. Here are some of the Office exams you will come across as you continue to sharpen your skills:
- MO-100 Microsoft Word: Tests you on inserting and formatting text, document, table, and list management, document collaboration, etc.
- MO-101 Microsoft Word Expert: Focuses on creating custom document elements, managing document settings and options, and other advanced Word features.
- MO-200 Microsoft Excel: Has you use functions and formulas to perform operations, manage worksheets, workbooks, data cells, charts, ranges, tables, etc.
- MO-201 Microsoft Excel Expert: Involves advanced formula and macro creation, tables, charts, data formatting, and more.
- MO-300 Microsoft PowerPoint: Tests users on the application of animations and transitions, managing slides and presentations, inserting tables, 3D models, charts, and more.
- MO-400 Microsoft Outlook: Determines proficiency with managing messages, contacts, schedules, tasks, and settings.
- MO-500 Microsoft Access Expert: Involves creating and modifying tables, queries, forms, and reports, plus database management.
- 77-726 Word 2016 Expert: Has users created advanced documents and references, plus custom Word elements.
- 77-728 Excel 2016 Expert: Involves the application of custom data formats and layouts, advanced formula, chart, and table creation, etc.
- 77-729 PowerPoint 2016: Tests skills such as managing multiple presentations, inserting tables, media, and SmartArt, inserting and formatting text, images, and shapes, and more.
- 77-730 Access 2016: Has users build tables, create queries, forms, databases, reports, etc.
- 77-731 Outlook 2016: Determines proficiency in managing messages, schedules, contacts, and groups.