Microsoft Office Professional Certification and Certificate Programs
Microsoft offers certification to professionals who prove they have mastered the company's Office software suite, featuring Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and Access. While Microsoft itself is the only organization that can offer certification to Office specialists, there are some vocational and technical schools that offer certificate and training programs in the subject.
Microsoft Office Certificate Program
Administrative and business professionals interested in earning Microsoft Office Specialist Certification must pass a series of examinations. To gain the training and education necessary to pass such examinations, students can read manuals on the Microsoft Office suite, or can complete a certificate program from a vocational school or community college.
Certificate programs in Microsoft Office technology teach students how to use the basic software programs included in Microsoft Office suite, including the spreadsheet program Excel, the word processing program Word, and the presentation program PowerPoint. The certificate programs may be offered as part of larger degree programs in business and office administration, or can be offered independently through continuing education and extension programs. Students who complete these programs have the knowledge necessary to use Microsoft Office programs in the professional world, or to apply for Microsoft's Office Suite Specialist Certification.
Students who seek to enroll in a certificate program in Microsoft Office technology should have a basic understanding of computers and keyboarding.
Courses found within a certificate program related to Microsoft Office Suite are designed to be very practical, hands-on courses that walk students through the computer programs step by step. Some examples include:
- Microsoft Word basics
- Advanced Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel basics
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft expert skills
- Microsoft Excel formulas
Popular Career Options
Many businesses require that employees have a basic understanding of the Microsoft Office suite, as it is commonly used for the creation of documents, presentations and spreadsheets. Some positions that might place particular emphasis on Microsoft professional skills might include:
- Administrative assistant
- Account manager
- Business manager
- Executive assistant
- Medical assistant
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated in 2012 that administrative assistants earned an average of $33,560 annually. During the same time, the average annual salary for executive administrative assistants was $50,220. The BLS projects that job opportunities for secretaries and administrative assistants will increase 12% from 2010 to 2020.
Continuing Education Information
The Microsoft Office Specialist certification is ideal for those who are eager to prove their command over Microsoft programs to potential or current employers. The company offers certification at several levels, including Basic and Expert. The company also comes out with new versions of its Microsoft Office Suite every few years, and offers certification in the 2000, 2003 and the latest 2007 versions of the program.
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