MOS Certification and Classes

Learn what the requirements are for earning MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) certification. Find out what types of certifications are offered, learn about the exams, and get information on the online preparation classes that are available. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

MOS stands for Microsoft Office Specialist. Microsoft offers this certification for the 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 versions of Office. Earning MOS certification basically documents that you've become proficient in at least one Microsoft Office product. Microsoft also offers an MOS master certification, which documents expert-level proficiency in multiple Microsoft Office products.

Classes MOS certification prep classes, versions of Office, Microsoft Office programs
Online Options Some certification prep classes are available online; real-time and self-paced classes
Certification MOS certification requires you to pass a specified product exam; expert versions of the exam will test your abilities with Word and Excel.

What Is the Exam Like?

For MOS certification, you'll need to pass one exam for a specific product (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access and Sharepoint). The exams will test your abilities to perform such tasks as formatting documents and creating layouts in Word and using formulas and filtering data in Excel.

Expert versions of the certification are available for all Word and Excel versions. For MOS master certification, you'll need to pass the expert-level exams for Word and Excel. You might also have to pass exams in PowerPoint and Outlook, depending on the version of Office you're seeking master certification in. You'll take your exams in a simulated environment and be expected to perform a series of tasks demonstrating your level of knowledge in each subject area.

Can I Take Classes to Prepare for the Exams?

Many community colleges, as well as some other post-secondary institutions, offer MOS certification prep classes and practice tests. Certification prep courses for MOS master certification are available as well. These courses can cover all Microsoft Office programs, including the following areas of interest:

  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

What Can I Learn in These Courses?

In a course that focuses specifically on Word, you'll learn about creating and customizing documents and working with visual elements. In an Excel course, you'll learn about functions, formulas and cell formatting. PowerPoint courses will teach you how to create presentations. These topics might also be covered:

  • Formatting text
  • Workbook editing
  • Creation of slideshows
  • Slideshow graphics and audio

Can I Take the Exams Online?

The exams must be taken at a testing location near you. Some certification prep classes, however, are available online. Some classes are open-enrollment, allowing you to enroll at any time, while others have specific start dates. Some classes are conducted in real time, and others are self-paced. To participate in real-time classes, you might need a headset and microphone.

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