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Learn, Practice, Certify!

The Washington State Library helps bridge the digital and IT skills gap by providing access to high quality online courses and self-directed learning, through our public libraries. In 2014 our State Legislature, recognizing the unique position libraries play as trusted providers of lifelong learning resources, the access offered by virtue of physical presence in our communities, and having library staff for support, began funding what’s now known as Microsoft LinkedIn Learning Program. This Program provides Washingtonians with resources to meet them where they are, and get them to where they want to be. Whether the goal is to move up in a current job or career, or explore and begin a new career, the State Library has put together a complete pathway to success, from learning and practice, to industry-recognized certification for the most in-demand software applications.

Learn using resources from the Microsoft Imagine Academy and LinkedIn Learning, accessed through Washington's public libraries or the State Library, with a valid library card and PIN. Additional resources may be available to support the IC3, MOS, MTA, MCF, Adobe, and Intuit Quickbooks certifications; contact your local public library, or email Elizabeth Iaukea, the State Library's Workforce Development Librarian for details. Note these resources are only available to those who live, work, or attend school in Washington. Through our partnership with Cisco, everyone is invited to take advantage of the WA State Library's Cisco Networking Academy, which offers self-paced online learning courses, some of which can be leveraged for college credit.

Practice with GMetrix practice tests; available through the State Library, or participating Washington public libraries - use Certiport's Authorized testing Center Locator to find testing centers; these are the libraries that can provide GMetrix access. If your local public library isn't listed, the State Library can provide access.

Certify - locate your nearest Certiport Authorized Testing Center (CATC) - a WSL-partner public or tribal library, or college - and take a certification exam ($125 value per exam; FREE for Washington residents). In response to COVID-19 closures, Certiport has developed a new solution that allows certification candidates to take exams from home.

The certification that's right for you depends on your current skill level, and the job or career you're pursuing. These certifications reflect skills most employers – regardless of industry or occupation - are looking for:

  • If you're just getting started using computers and the internet, or are working in an industry that only recently utilized these tools, the Internet Computing Core Certification (IC3) will help you stand out from the crowd. Learn and then prove your digital skills in 3 areas – Computing Fundamentals, Key Applications, and Living Online.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office software programs is the third most requested job-skill - across all occupations and industries. Prove you have the skills to be successful with Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification in one or more Office applications; Word, Word Expert, Excel, Excel Expert, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access certifications are available.

Additional software certifications you decide to pursue depends on your personal, specific career aspirations. These certifications are more specialized to particular careers:  

  • Accounting your thing? Get Quickbooks certified!
  • Interested in a career as a graphic designer, website creator, or video game designer? Validate your Adobe Creative Cloud Suite prowess with one of seven Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) certifications. Earn three designated ACA certifications to become an ACA Specialist.
  • Interested in a career in IT, software development, data science, database design - there are MTA certifications that match all these career paths and many more. Exam tracks are available in Developer, Infrastructure, and Database; a total of 14 certifications are available.
  • If you're looking to the cloud, Microsoft's newest certification, Microsoft Certified Fundamentals (MCF) paves your pathway to success for careers in AI, Data Science, and Cloud Computing; six certifications are currently available, with more to come.
  • Looking for something more cutting edge? Unity is the leading content-creation platform for VR/AR, real-time 3D, and mobile 2D. Unity Certified User (UCU) shows employers you're job ready to create everything from games to movies, 3D models to VR simulations.

Regardless of the certification(s) you choose, these internationally recognized industry credentials will enable you to confidently enter or advance in the workforce with proven technical skills, which can significantly increase your chances of finding employment, getting a raise, advancing your career, or through credit for prior learning, jump-starting your path to a degree with college credit granted by any of Washington's community/technical colleges, or universities.

Credit for Prior Learning/Prior Learning Assessment: all Washington colleges award credit through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA); certification proves prior competency. Search for the name of your college and 'prior learning assessment' or 'credit for prior learning,' or contact the college directly and speak with the registrar.

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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).