How to Earn a Microsoft Excel Certification (+ Why You Should)
In today's technology-driven world, working with data effectively has become a crucial skill for professionals in various fields. Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used data analysis and management software, making it a valuable tool for businesses and individuals.
Microsoft offers several certifications in Excel that validate your proficiency in the software and can help you stand out in a competitive job market.
This article will discuss earning a Microsoft Excel certification and why you should consider doing so.
Why Get Certified in Microsoft Excel?
Before we dive into the details of how to get certified in Microsoft Excel, let's first explore why you should consider doing so. Here are some reasons why earning a Microsoft Excel certification can benefit you:
Validate Your Skills
Earning a Microsoft Excel certification validates your proficiency in the software, giving you an edge over other candidates in a job search. Employers value certifications as they demonstrate a candidate's commitment to continuous learning and professional development. By earning a certificate, you prove to potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to work with Excel effectively.
In addition to helping you stand out in the job market, earning a Microsoft Excel certification can lead to career advancement opportunities. You can negotiate higher salaries or apply for promotions within your current organisation with a certificate. Moreover, the skills you gain while preparing for the certification exam can be used in your current job, improving your productivity and efficiency.
Learn Advanced Techniques
Preparing for a Microsoft Excel certification exam requires you to delve deeper into the software, learning advanced techniques and features. Even if you're already proficient in Excel, preparing for the exam can help you discover new ways to work with data and improve productivity. Furthermore, earning a certification is an excellent way to keep your skills up-to-date with the latest advancements in the software.
Earning a Microsoft Excel certification can boost your confidence in your abilities. Knowing that you have a recognised qualification in the software can give you the confidence to take on more challenging tasks and projects.
How to Earn a Microsoft Excel Certification
Now that we've discussed why you should consider earning a Microsoft Excel certification, let's look at the steps you need to follow to obtain one.
Step 1: Choose the Certification That Best Fits Your Needs
Microsoft offers several Excel certifications to choose from, depending on your level of expertise and career goals. Here are some of the most popular Excel certifications:
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification
The MOS certification is the most basic certification that Microsoft offers for Excel. It covers the basic features of the software, such as creating and formatting worksheets, working with formulas, and creating charts and graphs. This certification is ideal for beginners or those who need to refresh their Excel skills.
Microsoft Office Specialist Expert (MOS Expert) Certification
The MOS Expert certification is designed for individuals with more advanced proficiency in Excel. It covers advanced topics like working with macros, customising Excel, and creating pivot tables. This certification is ideal for individuals who work with Excel regularly and need to perform more complex tasks.
Microsoft Office Specialist Master (MOS Master) Certification
The MOS Master certification is Microsoft's most advanced certification for Excel. This certification is ideal for individuals who use Excel regularly and need to work with complex datasets. It covers all the topics included in the MOS and MOS Expert certifications and advanced topics such as creating interactive dashboards, working with databases, and using advanced functions.
Step 2: Prepare for the Exam
Once you've chosen the certification that best fits your needs, the next step is to prepare for the exam. Microsoft offers several resources to help you prepare, including:
Microsoft Official Practice Test
Microsoft offers official practice tests for each certification designed to simulate the exam experience. These practice tests can help you identify areas where you need improvement and get comfortable with the format and difficulty of the questions.
Microsoft Excel Training Courses
A training course can help you better understand the material and prepare more effectively for the exam. Microsoft offers a range of training courses covering each certification's topics. These courses are available in different formats, including online, in-person, and self-paced.
Microsoft Excel Study Guides
Microsoft also offers study guides for each certification, which provide an overview of the topics covered in the exam and tips and strategies for passing the exam. These study guides can be valuable for anyone preparing for the certification exam.
Other Study Materials
Many other study materials are available online, including books, videos, and tutorials. These resources can be helpful for individuals who prefer to learn at their own pace and in their way.
Step 3: Schedule and Take the Exam
Once you feel confident in your Excel skills and knowledge, the next step is to schedule and take the exam. Certiport, a subsidiary of Pearson VUE, administers the certification exams. You can schedule your exam online through the Certiport website or by contacting a testing centre in your area.
The certification exams typically last 50-60 minutes and include 40-60 multiple-choice questions. The exams are computer-based and are designed to test your proficiency in using Excel. The passing score for each exam varies, but it is usually around 70%.
Step 4: Maintain Your Certification
Once you've earned a Microsoft Excel certification, it's essential to maintain it by renewing it periodically. Microsoft certifications are valid for three years, after which you must continue them by passing a recertification exam. The recertification exams are shorter than certification exams, focusing on Excel's most recent updates and features.
Earning a Microsoft Excel certification can be a valuable asset for anyone who works with data, whether you're a beginner or an advanced user.
Certification validates your skills, helps you stand out in the job market, and can lead to career advancement opportunities. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can prepare effectively for the certification exam and earn a recognised qualification in Excel.
Whether you're looking to improve your skills for personal or professional reasons, a Microsoft Excel certification is a valuable investment in your future.
What is a Microsoft Excel certification?
A Microsoft Excel certification is a credential that validates an individual's proficiency in using Microsoft Excel for data analysis, manipulation, and visualisation.
Why should I get a Microsoft Excel certification?
A Microsoft Excel certification can help you stand out in the job market, demonstrate your skills to potential employers, and lead to career advancement opportunities.
What types of Microsoft Excel certifications are available?
Microsoft offers three levels of certification for Excel: Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Excel Associate, MOS Excel Expert, and MOS Excel Master.
What is the difference between the MOS Excel Associate, Expert, and Master certifications?
The MOS Excel Associate certification tests basic to intermediate-level Excel skills, while the MOS Excel Expert certification tests advanced-level skills. The MOS Excel Master certification is the highest level and tests a combination of basic, intermediate, and advanced-level skills.
How do I prepare for a Microsoft Excel certification exam?
You can prepare for the exam by reviewing the exam objectives, taking practice tests, enrolling in training courses, and studying study guides and other study materials.
How long does a Microsoft Excel certification exam last?
The certification exams typically last 50-60 minutes and include 40-60 multiple-choice questions.
Where can I take a Microsoft Excel certification exam?
Certiport administers the certification exams, which can be taken online or at a testing centre.
How long is a Microsoft Excel certification valid?
A Microsoft Excel certification is valid for three years, after which you must renew it by passing a recertification exam.