Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Online with Course Info

Find out about online Microsoft Office Specialist courses and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification, the first of three levels, is a credential granted by the Microsoft Company after students complete Microsoft Office skills exams. Courses that prepare students for these exams are widely available online through community and 4-year colleges, vocational schools and universities. Some schools allow students to enroll in an online MOS preparation course at any time, while others operate on a semester system. It is important to note that, while some schools award credits and/or certificates of completion, the MOS Certification is only available from Microsoft.

As a result of software upgrades and changes, many versions of this software are available, and depending on which programs students are using, the company offers different certification courses and exams accordingly. For example, Microsoft Office 2003, Microsoft Office XP, and Microsoft Office 2000 each have their own preparation courses and exams. Expert-level certification requires passing either the Word Expert or the Excel Expert exam, while the highest level, master certification, requires passing four exams: Word Expert, Excel Expert, PowerPoint Expert and either the Access or Outlook exam.

Online Availability Fully available
Achievement Levels Available Possible certificate of completion and/or degree credits; MOS Certification only available through Microsoft
In-Person Requirements Microsoft certification exam at approved testing location.
Online Requirements Access to Microsoft Office applications on a PC

Microsoft Office Specialist Certification

In order to learn the basics of the Microsoft Office applications, students must have access to the Microsoft Office programs on a PC. Online MOS courses are typically completed in modules. Each module covers a basic program function, such as creating, organizing and formatting content, in one of Microsoft Office's five basic programs. Students are taught to use the tools to create finished products. After completing the course, students can take the MOS certification exam at a proctored testing center near their home. Upon successful completion, students will receive an award from Microsoft in the mail.

Common Program Courses

The five Microsoft Office software programs are:

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Access
  • Outlook

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