Is MOS Certification Worth It

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Simon Mclellan

Writer, developer.

Apart from the main degree that you got from college, you might need other minor certifications to be more marketable in the highly competitive market. These certifications may be the starting point to your new career or just to advance your started career. While there are many helpful certifications you can consider to get, one of them is Microsoft Office Specialist certification (MOS), and if your question was if getting MOS certification is worth it, then the honest answer is yes.


However, it will also depend on your career path and what you are planning to do in the future. Whether you are planning to run your own business or get employed, having Microsoft Office Specialist certification will be very important. The skills gained will make it easier for you to handle almost all the office activities, if not all. This certification will also make you suitable for many jobs in the market hence reducing the hassle of getting a job. Like many other certifications, MOS certification will also have different levels, and you can pursue them differently one at a time. It’s not a must for you to undergo all the levels at once if you don’t have enough resources to support the studies. Every level will have its exam, and the skills tested at each level will be different. The three levels include Microsoft Office Specialist, Microsoft Office Expert, and Microsoft Office Master.

What Knowledge Will be tested on the Three Levels of MOS Certifications

Microsoft Office Specialist – This is the starting point for becoming a certified MOS. The exam at this level will be a bit easier as you will be tested on the general knowledge of the Microsoft Office. The main aim of the exam at this level is to ensure you have a basic understanding of all the Microsoft Office features. You will be tested on Microsoft Office Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Office Expert – This is the second level, and more concentration will be put on Microsoft Excel and Word. The exams here will test you on the advanced features of Microsoft Office Word and Excel. You will have to sit for only two exams. That is Word 2016 Expert: Creating Documents for Effective Communication, and Excel 2016 Expert: Interpreting Data for Insights. If a good amount of time and concentration are put at this level, everything will be simple, and you will have less struggle.

Microsoft Office Master – This is the highest level of MOS certification. There is nothing special at this level as you will be tested on what you did on the other two levels. However, unlike other levels where you can pass by mastering only one application, here you must prove your expertise on four Microsoft Office apps. Three of these applications will be compulsory, and the other one you can pick any of your choices. The three compulsory Microsoft Office applications that you must pass include Microsoft Office Word 2016, Microsoft Office Excel 2016, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2016. The other application you can choose between Microsoft Office Access 2016 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2016. If you have done the first two levels, then passing at this level will be much easier as you will be confirming what you have already done.

Is the MOS Certification Hard?

Being certified as MOS, it’s not hard provided you have the right attitude and commit yourself towards the certification. Here you will not be doing much, and you don’t have to commit your whole day to the course. You can pursue the course while working or doing another degree, as it will need a few hours every day. But don’t forget to do the necessary revision before sitting for the exam as this will make the whole process easier. Everybody can pass this certification, provided everything is done as required. Take time, decide on the level start, and do it.

Why is MOS certification important?

Potentially increased income and job security – although an employer may hire you without MOS certification, it’s always good to go a step ahead and get the certification before your employer asks for it. With the current changes in technology, this knowledge in Microsoft Office is becoming a necessity as days go, and if you don’t get the skills early, you might end up becoming irrelevant to your employer. Apart from retaining your job, you will also increase the chances of earning more as the employer may find it necessary to increase your salary as they see you as the right fit for their business.

High chances of getting a job – if you don’t have a job already and you are struggling to get one, then adding this certification to your profile will be important. Through MOS certification, employers will be able to see your qualifications even before interviewing you, and this will increase the chances of you getting hired. Many people have got the same degree as yours, but only a few of them will add other certifications, and this why being certified as MOS expert will make you competitive. It’s all about being unique, and this is what Microsoft Office Specialist certification will do for you.

To further your career – furthering your career should be among the main goals that you set. When you further your career you will be more attractive to more companies which will pay you better. This will also land you to higher positions, which will have special benefits. MOS certification will advance your career and even open doors for you to pursue other professions that may need it as a starting requirement.

Increased productivity – the main goal of MOS certification is to equip individuals with the necessary skills that are required to make work a lot easier. When employees and the management have these skills, they will be more productive without taking many resources of the organization. With Microsoft Office skills, one can handle more work compared to someone who has got no knowledge of the same. This will increase the company’s productivity and reduce costs at the same time.

Growth – it’s clear that for a company to grow in this technological era, it must adopt the necessary technology that is used by competitors. However, employees cannot handle many operations in the organization that needs special skills if they are not trained well. Many systems, such as accounting systems, will need Microsoft office knowledge to operate, and if the employees have MOS certification will be an advantage to the organization.

What can I do with MOS certification?

As a Microsoft Office Expert, you will be able to work as an office manager, workbook developer, database specialist, administrative assistant, project coordinator, executive assistant, and many other jobs that may need Microsoft office skills.

How long does it take to get MOS certification?

There is no specific answer to this question as the time taken to complete MOS certification vary from one person to the other. But in most cases, it will take you 80-120 hours to prepare for the exam then the actual exam will take 90 minutes per paper. How you spread your hours will determine the number of days you will take, meaning if your schedule is not so tight, you will need very few days to complete.

Working with Microsoft Office applications before sitting for the exam is recommended, as it will make it easier for you to pass the exam. This is because the exam is more practical than theory, and you can gain the required knowledge well only through actual contact with the applications.

How to earn a Microsoft Office Specialist certification?

You should remember that for you to be credited as a Microsoft Office Specialist, you must follow certain steps just like any other certification. Although it may sound easier, it’s good for you to know that commitment will not be optional if you want to be credited early enough. The following are simple steps that you should follow if you want to get certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist.

Step 1: Get a training course – The first step is getting a short training course which shouldn’t be expensive. Here you will be trained on everything that you need and will be tested. Many of the trainers already know what the exam will contain and the training they will give you will be very relevant. Although you need to select a good trainer as not all of them are worth investing in. You should check reviews from the previous students before settling to any trainer or school.

The good thing with this course is that you can get it face-to-face or online whichever is convenient for you. The online option will give you the convenience of getting trained while at home or in your office. Many people will opt for online training as it doesn’t interfere with their daily schedule.

Self-study is another solution for you in case you think you can do it on your own without a trainer. This way, you will save the fee charged by training schools, but you should be ready to put more effort. It’s always good to get a trainer if you can afford the fee as they will save you the hassle of struggling on your own with no one to help.

Step 2: Practice exams – Practice exams will help you to know what to expect from the real exam. A practice exam should be a past paper that was done in previous years, and it will expose you to the wording of the exam and the expected answers. You can get these practice exams from several vendors who sell Microsoft materials. Online might also be a solution for you if you find it hard to move from one store to the other, asking for past papers.

Apart from introducing you to the real world of the exam, practice exams will be a good way to measure your skills before the actual exam. You will know where you need more practice so that when the real exam comes, you will not have to struggle much.

Step 3: Real exam – After training and practicing, the next step is to take the real exam, which is the final step. Certiport administers all Microsoft office exams through their testing centers. Although you can prepare for the exam online when it comes to the real exams, you must present yourself physically to your convenient exam center. Check with Certiport to know the nearest exam center.

How can I get a good Microsoft Office trainer?

If you think that you need a trainer, then locating the right one can be a bit overwhelming. With many trainers, you might be confused on which one to go for. However, when equipped with a few tips selecting a trainer will be easier for you. The following are some tips on how to get a good trainer.

Search online – With your smartphone or laptop and an internet connection, nothing should be hard for you. You can get the best trainer in your area with just one click on the search engines. When you search, you will get a list of many trainers but take your time to check real customer reviews before settling for any trainer.

Ask for referrals – Another method that you can use to get a god trainer is through referrals. Here you will just need to ask your friends, coworkers, and relatives if they have worked with any trainer to recommend you. You can also ask for recommendations on social media platforms such as Facebook and the rest.

Go for licensed trainers – Licensed professionals are the best as they have undergone the necessary training and verification by the authorities. No matter how good someone may sound, don’t settle for them if they are not licensed. Get someone who you can go back to in case anything happens. A license will be a sign that someone is genuine, and you will not be risking your money.

MOS Certification Preparation Online – Learning Paths and Courses

If you think that finding a professional trainer is not quite for you, you can always rely on online courses, especially the LinkedIn Learning platform. Luckily, there are plenty of online courses on the platform so you can take advantage of them today. Below, I will list available learning paths that will get you prepared for the certification. Please analyze the table of contents of each course so you know what you will learn.

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Important: LinkedIn Learning currently offers a 30-days free trial (which can be canceled anytime, no questions asked) that gives new users access to all the course library, certificates, LinkedIn Premium, and CPE credits! So don’t miss out!

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If you search for “mos certification” on the platform, you will see over 30 results that will help in this preparation journey.

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Microsoft Office Specialist certification is a worthy investment that will be helpful at an individual and organizational level. However, going for this certification is your personal decision as it will depend on what you are currently doing and what you plan to do in the future. The process of getting certified is quite simple when you have the right support. Go for a good trainer or school to make your process easy.