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MOUS Test and Exam Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to take and pass the MOUS Test, now known as the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) credential. Continue reading for a certification test overview and examination information.

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Microsoft Office Specialist is the distinction granted by Microsoft to persons who are certified as being proficient in Microsoft Office Suite products. Applicants go through stages of certification via examinations in each category.

Essential Information

Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) is now called Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This designation is an official Microsoft Corporation certification demonstrating proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite of products. There are various stages of certification which are acquired by sitting for one or more of a series of examinations. Preparatory training for these exams is recommended.

Required Training Optional training opportunities in online, classroom-based and self-study formats
Required Skills Excellent understand of Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Exam Requirements Specialist: 7 exams (Office 2013),
Expert: 4 exams (Office 2013),
Master: Expert exams plus 2 additional exams (Office 2013)
Projected Job Growth 2% decline from 2014-2024 (for all secretaries and administrative assistants)*
Median Annual Salary (September 2016) $37,615 (administrative assistant with Microsoft Office skills)**

Sources: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

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MOS Certification Test Overview

MOS certification can be obtained by testing at one of three levels - Specialist, Expert and Master - and certifications are available for Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 and 2013. Individuals can pursue certification in the entire Microsoft Office Suite by taking multiple exams on different Office programs. Or, they can gain certification by taking single exams on individual products, like OneNote, Outlook, Access and more.

Individuals can prepare for certification exams by taking online or campus-based courses approved by Microsoft; self-study materials are widely available as well. Certification examinations are administered for Microsoft through Certiport at various locations throughout the world. Most MOS exams have a maximum time limit of 45-50 minutes.

Exam Information

In order to obtain an MOS Specialist certification in a specific category, an individual must pass an examination in that category. The categories available include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. MOS Specialist certification candidates can test in more than one of these categories if they wish to have multiple certifications.

MOS Expert certification is obtained by passing two expert-level exams in either Word Expert or Excel Expert. Master MOS certification can be acquired by passing required examinations in Word Expert, Excel Expert and PowerPoint. Master MOS certification candidates also choose an elective exam in Access, Outlook, Sharepoint or OneNote.

All exams are program-specific and skill-based. For instance, the PowerPoint certification exam tests an individual's skill in creating presentations, inserting and modifying text and visual elements in a presentation, modifying formats, working with data from other sources and managing presentations. The Word Expert exam tests an individual's skill in working with paragraphs and documents, pictures and charts, tables and mail merge, as well as a number of advanced features, including macros, tool bars, field insertion and text alignment with graphics.

Microsoft Office Specialist is a title Microsoft grants after an individual passes exams to demonstrate their proficiency in the Microsoft Office Suite of products. MOS Expert and Master MOS exams are offered as well. The exams test skills in working with different programs, including PowerPoint, Excel and Word.

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