Microsoft Office Certification

Microsoft Certification Logo

This page links to PDF files. Use this link to download Adobe Reader new window if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is MOS certification?

    Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) Certification is the world-recognized standards-based certification credential chosen by individuals seeking to validate their skills in using the Microsoft Office suite.  Earning MOS certification proves the ability to use Microsoft Office applications for on-the-job needs and provides a valuable distinction in entering higher education or the workforce. MOS offers three levels of certification depending on your skill level and interest.

    Master Series: More than a single certification, the Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification demonstrates an individual’s overall comprehension and deep expertise of Microsoft Office programs. Earning this distinguished credential for 2013 requires passing four exams in a designated track and for 2010 requires passing Word Expert, Excel Expert, PowerPoint, and an elective exam (Access or Outlook).


    Expert Series: Microsoft Office Specialist Expert certification validates advanced skills in a specific Microsoft Office application. Gaining the Expert credential requires passing one or both of these exams: Word Expert or Excel Expert.


    Specialist Series: The Microsoft Office Specialist core certification validates skills with the Microsoft Office suite. Exams are available on these Microsoft Office products: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, SharePoint, OneNote, and Office 365



  2. Why should you become MOS certified? IT PAYS!

    • Achieve industry-recognized certification for demonstrating your skills on the latest technologies
    • Boost your resume and achieve a greater degree of success in your pursuit of higher education or a career
    • Gain recognition among peers and employers giving you a distinct edge in the competitive job market.


  3. What does it cost?

    There is no fee to take the exam.  Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC), in partnership with Microsoft, Certiport and the State of Iowa, is offering no-cost vouchers to individuals seeking Microsoft Office Specialist Certification. There is no requirement to pass any exam, and there is opportunity to retake exams.  Individuals may use more than one voucher to pursue certification in more than one Microsoft Office application. Free vouchers are available for 2010, 2013 and 2016 versions of MS Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. Free vouchers may also be used to retake exams. Voucher quantities are limited.


  4. Does MOS certification mean anything to my boss or prospective employer?

    International Data Corporation (IDC) examined 14.6 million job postings between April and September 2013 from 25,000 job boards and staffing companies' corporate Web sites. The most required skills across all occupations include oral and written communication skills, attention to detail, customer service focus, organizational skills, and problem-solving skills. It is notable that the only software package called out within the top 20 skills across all occupations is Microsoft Office:  Microsoft Office is number 2 on the list of most required skills. In addition MOS certification validates job posting requirements such as “Must be PC proficient and able to thrive in a fast-paced setting” or “Must have strong experience with Microsoft Excel, Access & Word.”

    Certification = Employability

    91% of hiring managers consider employee certification as a criterion for hiring
    89% of supervisors say that Microsoft Office certified employees are more proficient users of Microsoft Office programs
    81% of hiring managers feel that certified individuals perform better
    79% of hiring managers feel that certified individuals are more efficient
    50% of individuals believe obtaining a certification makes them more marketable

    Sources: MCP Program Satisfaction Study 2010, Intrepid Survey, Certiport Research 2009


  5. Who authorizes the certification?

    MOS certification is authorized by Microsoft; Certiport is a separate company that delivers the online exam. Transcripts, certificates and test results are available through your account on and may be accessed or shared with others.  Earning Microsoft Office Specialist Certification also allows you access to a variety of benefits and resources to assist in your career. You may participate in national competitions or make your information available to departments or organizations looking to hire additional personnel.  Make sure to activate your membership when you are invited via email after you have successfully passed a MOS exam.


  6. How does the test work and how long does it take?

    The Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification exam is conducted online in a performance-based and timed format (50 minutes/test) that requires test takers to apply skills in the selected MS Office application (Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Access).  Both 2010 and 2013 versions are available for the MOS and MOS Expert levels.  Instruction samples/tutorials are available for both 2010, 2013 and 2016 versions.

    Test candidates should allow 90 minutes to have adequate time for check-in, ID validation, exam setup and exam instructions (which do not count toward the 50-minute exam).


  7. How do I prepare or know if I’m ready to take an exam?

    Take our Get Certified Seminar, see the Schedule under #9 below.

    Use Objective Domains as a checklist (2010 version2013 version or 2016 version) to evaluate what you need to review for an exam. The Certiport website offers additional details online; see note below for information on how to access and use the resources*.
    If you need more practice or additional help with certain features or concepts, 1) take a Continuing Education class through Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, OR 2) visit and click on the Microsoft Office button, then the desired topic.

    1.    Click on the desired title to reveal a set of interactive lessons, OR
    2.    Click on the menu icon in the lower right corner of any lesson title to preview the lesson list, OR
    3.    Click on the TV icon to see a list of videos

    Each lesson is well illustrated and includes a Challenge exercise at the end to practice the skill.

  8. I'm ready to schedule an exam, what do I do next?

    *IMPORTANT!  You must register as a test candidate to gain access to the following resources

    Test Candidates must register with Certiport at to set up a username and password to be used for access to preparation resources and online exams at the Certiport Test Center.  When registering for an account, candidates will not be registering for a specific exam as that choice will be made at the test site when the no-cost voucher is applied.

    1. Go to and Register (upper right of page) to create a login username and password.

    2. Explore for additional resources and to answer any additional questions you have about the exam.

  9. May I retake the exam if I am not successful?

    If your first test attempt is unsuccessful, you must wait at least 48 hours before taking the same test again. For other exam policies, visit and login with username and password. Mouse over the “Take an Exam” category and click “Exam Policies.” Policies include test candidate, retake policies and non-disclosure statements.


  10. Where and when are the exams given?

    The Certiport testing site at the Scott Community College Urban Campus, 101 West Third Street, Davenport, Iowa. Make plans to take a MOS Certification exam now! Start with at least one exam, but you are encouraged to take as many as you wish (Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Access) in 2010, 2013 and 2016 versions. Seats are limited for each testing session. Contact Tyne Rieck at 563-336-3483 or to request a current schedule OR to reserve a seat in the Certiport test center at least 48 hours in advance. 

    All sessions will be held at the Scott Community College Urban Campus, 101 West Third Street, Davenport, Iowa. Contact Tyne Rieck at 563-336-3483 or to register for any of the following sessions:

    Get Certified Seminar
    Register, review resources, prep techniques, Q&A - 90 minutes. A great way to prepare for the exam! Cost $15.

    For upcoming class dates, please call 563-336-3483

    MOS Testing

    90 minutes, no cost.

    Testing by appointment only. Call 563-336-3445 to schedule. 

    Check in at the appointed time for the MOS Certification exam at the Certiport Test Center, Scott Community College Urban Campus, 101 West Third Street, Davenport, Iowa  52801.  Bring a valid picture ID, Certiport login name and password and your MS Office Skills. Good Luck!


  11. What should I do next?

    Just 3 easy steps:

    1. Visit to register as a test candidate (instructions) and review the objectives for the desired exam.
    2. Practice and prepare with materials from a EICC Continuing Education class or the website.
    3. Contact Tyne Rieck at 563-336-3483 or to register for a “Get Certified Seminar” or to schedule an exam.