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All about Microsoft Office certifications

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Q. What kind of certification can I get for my skills in Microsoft Office?

A. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Office Specialist and Expert certifications for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, SharePoint, One Note and Office 365 for Office 2010. For Office 2007, Microsoft offers Specialist certifications for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Access. Expert certification is available for Excel and Word 2007. For Office 2013, all 2010 certifications will be offered except Office 365.

For more information, check out Microsoft's website. Passing both expert exams and three additional exams can earn you an MOS Master Specialist certification.

Q. Can I get college credit for my Microsoft Office Specialist certifications?

A. That depends upon the institution. The first step is to have your certifications validated by the American Council on Education (ACE). Visit their website and submit your credentials for course review. ACE provides course equivalency for the exam you passed. You will likely need to log into Certiport for your MOS certification numbers and exam numbers. These are entered into ACE’s website and evaluated separately. You will receive an email back after a few days for each certification; not all exams will necessarily qualify for credit.

Q. Do I have to renew my MOS certifications?

A. No. However, if you only hold certifications on older versions of the software, it’s a good idea to update them. The skills tested are largely the same. However, each new exam will test you on the newest features. Holding certifications in both older versions and new ones can put you in a position of strength when working with an organization that is transitioning from one version to the other.

Q. I hardly ever see the Microsoft and admin certifications I hold listed on job requirements. Are they still relevant?

A. Yes! While many job postings won’t indicate a requirement for these certifications, they cut short discussions on your proficiency with certain technical and administrative skills. That leaves space to discuss your other qualities. So, instead of spending half the interview “proving” that you know Microsoft Excel, your MOS Expert certification in Excel 2010 speaks to that requirement. Spend the rest of the time discussing how you would be applying those skills and showing off your business acumen.

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