Learn IT. Prove IT.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office software programs is the third most requested job-skill—across all occupations and employers. Being certified in one or more Office programs is the best way to prove to employers that you have the skills needed to be successful. And for students, knowing Office technologies allows them to focus on the subject, not the tools they use to complete assignments.

Washington residents have free access to the Microsoft Imagine Academy to help you gain the skills and experience needed to succeed in school and at work. Now you can take that a step further and really stand out from the crowd by earning Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technical Associate (MTA) certifications. Many public and tribal libraries, and community and technical colleges in Washington state offer certification exam testing, free of charge.

What are the benefits of Microsoft certification?

For Students

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification can be used to support almost every field of study. Being able to use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other tools increases student productivity - in middle, high school, and college - and allows them to concentrate on the subject matter they are studying. For example, many college and higher education courses require data analysis; a student with certification in Excel will have a head-start in advanced manipulation and presentation of complex mathematical and statistical information.

Earn College Credits

Many Colleges and Universities give credit for prior learning—that means they award college credit even if you don’t take a class, if you can prove you know the material. Certifications like MOS and MTA do just that. Schools differ in how many credits they award for particular certifications, but the American Council on Education (ACE) has recommended one to six semester hours of college credit for the selected certifications. It provides credit in bachelor’s or associate’s degree classes on computer applications, information technology, and computer information systems. Contact the Registrar’s Office, or the Department under which the credits/associated courses would fall at the school you’re planning to attend. Learn IT. Prove IT!

Achieve—and Prove—Career Readiness

Achieving a Microsoft Certification will enable you to confidently enter the workforce with proven technical skills and an internationally recognized certification, both of which can significantly increase your chances of finding employment and your eligibility for career advancement.

Ninety-one percent of hiring managers consider certification as part of their hiring criteria (Microsoft, Microsoft Certification Program Satisfaction Study, April 2012). Most jobs today require some degree of technology skills, and this will continue to increases over time.

How does Certification work?

You can be certified in any of the Office programs, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access or Outlook, in versions 2010, 2013, or 2016. There are separate exams for each program and version; the Office 2013 Expert level (only available for Word and Excel) requires two exams for each software program.

Learn more about MOS certification pathways and specific exam objectives.

Certification is also available for Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification. Exams include:

  • 98-349: MTA: Windows Operating System Fundamentals
  • 98-361: MTA: Software Development Fundamentals (VB)
  • 98-361: MTA: Software Development Fundamentals (C#)
  • 98-364: MTA: Database Fundamentals
  • 98-365: MTA: Windows Server Administration Fundamentals
  • 98-366: MTA: Networking Fundamentals
  • 98-367: MTA: Security Fundamentals
  • 98-368: MTA: Mobility and Device Fundamentals
  • 98-369: MTA: Cloud Fundamentals
  • 98-375: MTA: HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals
  • 98-380: MTA: Block-Based Programming with Microsoft TouchDevelop

Learn more about MTA certification pathways and specific exam objectives.

How to get MOS certified

Learn the software

Take free online Microsoft Imagine Academy classes through your local library, or through the State Library. Contact your local library to learn about additional study materials and classes (in-person group instruction and one-on-one tutoring), and library computers for practice with Office software. When you’re ready to focus on the exam itself, contact your library and ask how to get free access to the MOS Study Guides in eBook (digital) format and GMetrix practice exams. The King County Library System has an excellent collection of MOS exam prep information and materials, as does the Seattle Public Library.

Register as a Test Candidate and locate a Certiport Testing Center.

Create a Test Candidate profile at Certiport.com and use their Locator to find a testing center near you that offers the certification exam(s) you wish to take.  Some sites can test on multiple versions of Office (2010, 2013, and 2016).  An increasing number also offer MTA exams; and a limited number can also offer testing for IC3, MCE, and Quickbooks certification, although Test Candidates for these certifications must provide their own exam vouchers (purchased from Certiport).

Schedule and test - Washington residents and non-residents

Contact information for each certification testing site is listed on the Certiport Locator—in most cases you will schedule directly with the testing facility. Most Washington State Library (WSL) partner sites—those supported by this program to offer free or deeply discounted testing—will have the designation “WSL” before their name. WSL partners cannot charge Washington residents for exam inventory but may charge a proctoring fee of $30 or less to cover local costs.  In addition, some Washington State Library partner sites may require proof of preparation before you test, may limit the number or frequency of free re-testing, or have policies for frequent no-shows (scheduling but not showing up to test without prior cancellation). Inquire about site-specific policies and fees when you schedule your exam.

Test Candidates from outside Washington state must purchase exam vouchers from Certiport, but depending on the test site's local policies, may or may not be required to pay exam proctoring fees of up to $30.

Washington State Library Microsoft Certification partners include:

  • Anacortes Public Library
  • Asotin County Library
  • Bates Technical College
  • Bellevue College, North Campus
  • Bellingham Technical College
  • Big Bend Community College
  • Centralia College
  • Clark College
  • Clover Park Technical College
  • Columbia Basin College
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Ellensburg Public Library
  • Highline Community College
  • King County Library System (multiple locations)
  • Kitsap Regional Library - Sylvan Way Branch
  • La Conner Public Library
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • Libraries of Stevens County - Chewelah Branch
  • Lower Columbia College
  • North Olympic Library System (all locations)
  • North Seattle College
  • Olympic College
  • Pierce College - Puyallup & Steilacoom campuses
  • Pierce County Library System (multiple locations)
  • Renton Technical College
  • Ritzville Public Library
  • Seattle Public Library - Central Library
  • Spokane College
  • Spokane County Library District (multiple locations)
  • Spokane Public Library
  • Tacoma Public Library - Main Library
  • Timberland Regional Library System (multiple locations)
  • Walla Walla Rural Library System
  • Wenatchee Valley College - Omak and Wenatchee campuses - coming soon!
  • Washington State Library - Central Library
  • Whitman County Library
  • Yakama Nation Library
  • Yakima Valley Libraries - Yakima Library
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