MOS certificate programs, or educational programs that prepare students to sit for the MOS certification examination, train students to become proficient in essential Microsoft business software. Programs are relatively short and can be found online or as part of college curricula. Most courses are available in three skill levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Programs are typically performance-based and have specific models in place to measure students' proficiency in each application.
There are no prerequisites for MOS certificate programs, with the exception of ones that are part of a computer science degree program. Often these degree programs require students to provide a GED or high school diploma, test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay.
Microsoft Office User Specialist Certification (MOUS)/ Microsoft Office Specialist Certification (MOS)
Certificate programs teach skills in PowerPoint and Outlook in addition to the applications mentioned above. Students learn various specific skills in each of these applications. In Excel, for example, a student may learn to create a spreadsheet, create formulas with both the function wizard and manually, analyze data, filter data and format spreadsheets. Or, in a course on Word, students may learn to create documents, format a document, use tables, or share documents with a group.
Courses in MOS certificate programs usually take place in a computer lab, where instructors walk students through processes in the various Microsoft Office applications, answer questions and facilitate problem solving. Here are some classes you might see in the curriculum:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Outlook
Popular Career Options
Since Microsoft Office is the dominant suite of business applications, candidates proficient in these tools are sought by employers. While these skills are useful for many different work environments and roles, individuals who specialize in the products are particularly well-suited for administrative positions, including the following:
- Administrative assistant
- Office manager
- File clerk
- Editorial researcher
- Database administrator
Certification and Continuing Education
Individuals who wish to become a MOS must sit for the MOS certification exam, which is not administered by Microsoft, but rather a third party company called Certiport. This is because it is not officially an MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) exam. Microsoft notes that there may be other exam providers in the future.
MOS certificate programs, once known as MOUS certificate programs, train students on how to use Microsoft software commonly used in business settings. Student who complete these programs may then take the MOS certification exam and become more competitive when seeking jobs like administrative assistant, file clerk or database administrator, to name only a few.