Getting started with Microsoft Office Specialist certification

Starting a certification program from scratch can be daunting. We’ve put together a few key steps for you to take to make sure your first year teaching the Microsoft Office Specialist program is successful.

Decide which MOS certifications to offer

The Microsoft Office Specialist certification program encompasses a full portfolio of exams, covering the Microsoft Office suite : Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft Outlook. Before you can build your curriculum, you need to decide if you’ll aim for one certification or multiple.

Determine which resources you need

Certiport offers a full-pathway solution for our Microsoft educators. We have partnerships with multiple curriculum vendors to help you find a solution that fits your budget and classroom. Find out what learning products will work best for you, plus which practice test resources you’ll use. You can learn more about your curriculum options here

Plan and prepare

Now that you’ve decided which certifications you’ll teach and which resources you’ll leverage, it’s time to build your annual plan. Create a pacing guide for your class so you know which benchmarks need to be accomplished when. Are you offering three certification per semester? Plan for a testing date about nine weeks into the school year for your first exam. By setting an aggressive pace for your class, you’re encouraging students to be engaged each day in their learning. The more your pace drags, the more likely you are to lose their enthusiasm for the certification process.

Market your program

To make your program truly successful, you’ll need learners in the classroom. Get the word out by hanging posters around your school, in the media center, or counseling office. You can request program specific posters through Certiport here. You can also give flyers to your school counselors, further allowing them to spread the word with students and their parents. Don’t see a resource or poster you need? Reach out to your Certiport Territory Manager for assistance.

Establish local business partners

The goal of your certification program is to get students workforce ready. By partnering with local businesses, you can promote the amazing work happening in the classroom and keep a pulse on the skills business leaders need from current and future employers. Bringing these business partners into the classroom not only demonstrates the value of the Microsoft certifications to your students but also opens the doors for mentoring and internship opportunities. Your connection with these business partners can also reap financial rewards, through sponsorships for hardware and other needed classroom supplies. Business leaders love to pay it forward and are always looking to connect with their next generation of talent. 

Set up your lab and students early

You’ve laid a strong program foundation, and you’re ready to hit the ground running. Make sure that your IT team and computer lab are prepared for certification testing. Communicate early and often with your school’s IT staff, so they know what you’re planning and what needs to be installed in your lab. Don’t forget to log in at to make sure you and your IT staff have access to your Certiport account. All educators should have Organization Administrator and Proctor rights. It’s also a great idea to get all students into their Certiport accounts early. If students have taken a Certiport exam in the past, make sure they use their existing account so all their certifications can be accessed in one place.

You’re ready to launch! Now it’s time to do what you do best: Teach! 

If you're looking for additional support, or want to discuss resources for your classroom, connect with a Certiport Territory Manager for assistance.