How Does Microsoft Word Certification Work?

Microsoft Word certification is available in three levels and demonstrates proficiency in using this software. Read on to find out what certification is available and how to become certified.

Overview of Certification

In 1983, the Microsoft Corporation officially released the first version of its word-processing software Word. Microsoft Word is typically packaged with other Microsoft Office products, and thus is called Microsoft Office Word. Microsoft often updates the program, and each update results in a new year-titled version, such as Microsoft Office Word 2013.

Microsoft Word processing software allows you to create printable materials, such as letters, reports and cards. The program is used for business, education and recreation activities. It allows you to format, edit and compose text. It has many additional features, like spell checking and a thesaurus.

Microsoft offers the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credential for every version of Microsoft Office Word. This certification can be earned by passing a proctored exam given by the Microsoft Corporation's testing administrator, Certiport, or through an affiliated school. Certification in Word can demonstrate your word-processing abilities to future employers, colleagues and clients.

Important Facts About Certification

Programs Matriculated (college credit) and non-matriculated (business professional)
Online Availability Online proctored exams are available
Possible Careers Helpful for careers in computer engineering and computer architecture, as well as related fields
Continuing Education Recertification every two to three years
Median Salary (2018) $53,470 (for all computer support specialists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth (for all computer support specialists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Get Certified

To become certified, you'll first prepare for the certification exam by taking a class, reading Microsoft's online materials and practicing with your version of Word. Then, you'll register with Certiport and find the nearest exam site. You'll have to pay an exam fee and provide identification when you take the exam. The exam will likely take you about 90 minutes to complete, and you'll find out immediately if you've passed. Once you are certified, your certification is valid as long as Microsoft is still supporting the version of Word your test was based on.

Certification Levels

The first certification available is the core MOS Word credential. You have to earn this credential before you can take the exams for the more advanced MOS Expert and MOS Master credentials.

MOS Specialist

The skills tested in the MOS Word 2013 certification, which consists of a single exam, include document creation, navigation, formatting and customization. You'll need to know how to print and save documents, protect documents with passwords, format text and paragraphs, make lists and tables, utilize references, add images and use SmartArt.

MOS Expert

Earning the MOS Expert certification for Word 2013 requires passing two exams. The first exam covers document management and sharing, including using password protection, using tracking and preventing others from making edits. You will also be tested on advanced document formatting and design, mail merging, custom templates and building block creation. The second exam covers document change management, ordering and grouping, indexes and references. You'll also need to know how to make documents accessible to disabled or international users.

MOS Master

The MOS Master certification for Word 2013 also requires two exams. The first exam addresses document change management, multiple document management, advanced grouping and ordering, indexes, reference tables and custom Word elements. The second exam addresses document review, advanced formatting and styles, mail merges and forms, custom templates and document building blocks.

Exam Prep

Some schools, particularly community colleges, offer Microsoft Office training designed to prepare you for certification exams. These programs may include instruction in Microsoft Office Word along with other Microsoft Office programs, such as Excel and PowerPoint. You can also find exam prep on the Microsoft website.

Certification Perks

There are many benefits to earning Microsoft Word certification. Becoming certified gives you access to a Microsoft member website where you can create your own certification logo. Also, some colleges offer academic credit for certification.