Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Information

Sep 17, 2019

The Microsoft Office Specialist certification is an optional credential for office and computer professionals. Get some quick facts about the types of certifications available and the skills necessary to qualify for a Microsoft Office Specialist certification.

By passing several exams you can become a Microsoft Office Specialist, an accreditation that proves your software skills. These exams encompass different aspects and versions of Microsoft Office.

Essential Information

Achieving Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification allows office professionals to prove their software skills to potential employers. To earn MOS certification, candidates must pass exams designed to measure their technical proficiency and evaluate their overall comprehension of Microsoft Office applications. Both information technology professionals and office workers, such as executive assistants, often choose to pursue these certifications.

Exam Requirements Computerized practical exams
Types of Certifications Office 2000, 2003, XP, 2007 and 2010
Required Skills Technical proficiency and knowledge of Microsoft Office applications
Classification Levels Specialist, Expert and Master
Median Salary (2019)* $57,000 for Microsoft Office Specialist/Expert/Master certifications
Job Outlook (2018-2028)** 10% growth for computer support specialists

Source: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Certification Information for Microsoft Office Specialists

Office professionals may demonstrate skills in using Microsoft's various Office programs by passing one or more MOS certification exams administered by an authorized testing center. MOS credentials are useful for students interested in working in Microsoft-based information technology departments, as well as office professionals looking to advance to supervisory or management positions. The certifications are available at multiple skill levels and for several different versions of the program. The three different types of Office certifications include:

  • Office 2000, 2003 and XP
  • Office 2007/Vista
  • Office 2010

Classification Levels

Specialist and Expert Level

Students and office professionals interested in MOS certification can test to become specialists in one or more Microsoft applications, including Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint and Windows Vista. Microsoft also offers Expert credentials for the widely used Word and Excel programs.

Master Level

Professionals can achieve the Microsoft Office Specialist Master designation at the 2010, 2007 and 2000/2003/XP levels by passing exams in four Microsoft Office applications. These include the Excel Expert, Master Expert and PowerPoint tests, in addition to either the Access or Outlook exam. The Master certification benefits professionals who train other employees in the use of various Microsoft Office applications.

Certification Exams

Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams are taken using specially designed live or simulated versions of Microsoft Office applications. Candidates complete a specific set of tasks in their application of choice within a certain time frame. These time frames vary by application, but most exams take approximately 90 minutes. During the exam, candidates are allowed to use toolbar menus and shortcut keys; however, the help menu is disabled.

All MOS exams are administered by a company called Certiport. They're available at many locations around the country, including businesses and junior colleges. Specific availability depends on one's location and the type of examination he or she wishes to take.

The primary function of MOS certification is to prove that you're proficient in Microsoft Office programs. Potential employers often seek out individuals with these skills.

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