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The most important certification for validating desktop skills with Microsoft Office 2013 programs is the Microsoft Office Specialist credential.  (As of June 2, 2010, Microsoft Certified Application Specialist 2007 was formally renamed Microsoft Office Specialist 2007 [MOS 2007].)  Prepare to become certified at Howard Community College as a Microsoft Office Specialist in the Office 2013 Suite track. 

This certification provides a globally recognized standard for individuals seeking to advance their careers. These certifications include software applications from the Microsoft Office 2013 suite:  Word 2013, Excel 2013, Access 2013, PowerPoint 2013, and Outlook 2013.

Note:  HCC no longer offers courses to prepare students for the Microsoft Office Specialist exams that use Microsoft Office 2010 software.

Identify your goals

The Microsoft Office Specialist certification includes exams in Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook. The certification provides a reliable measure of proficiency by evaluating your comprehension of Microsoft Office programs. To receive Microsoft Office Specialist certification, you must pass one or more certification exams. Go to the Microsoft Office Specialist site to obtain the latest information on certification from Microsoft. 


At Howard Community College, courses are offered in Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word to help you prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist exams. The table below lists the courses HCC offers to help you prepare for the exams, links to the course descriptions, whom to contact for more information, and links to Microsoft sites about the exams. To see a course description, click the name of the course. If you would like additional information about a course, please send an email to the address below.

Microsoft Office ProductHCC CoursesMore Information about the HCC CourseMicrosoft Office 2013 Skills Being Measured
Access 2013CMSY-103 Beginning Databases and CMSY-118 Advanced DatabasesCindy Garnsey,
Excel 2013CMSY-101 Beginning Spreadsheets and CMSY-117 Advanced Spreadsheets Cindy Garnsey, cgarnsey@howardcc.eduMicrosoft Excel 2013 Skills Being Measured
Outlook 2013CMSY-127 Microsoft Outlook Cindy Garnsey, cgarnsey@howardcc.eduMicrosoft Outlook 2013 Skills Being Measured
PowerPoint 2013CMSY-116 PowerPointCindy Garnsey, cgarnsey@howardcc.eduMicrosoft PowerPoint 2013 Skills Being Measured
Word 2013CMSY-102 Beginning Word Processing and CMSY-104 Advanced Word ProcessingCindy Garnsey, cgarnsey@howardcc.eduMicrosoft Word 2013 Skills Being Measured

All courses are offered for credit.  Microsoft Office Specialist courses are presented in two formats.

  • Open entry:  Open-entry courses are designed to give you flexibility in starting and completing a course.  You may accelerate your pace so that you may finish the course in fewer than 14 weeks.  The advantage to you is that you don’t have to wait until the next semester to start a new course.  You may complete all of the work (except tests) for these courses outside of class, in class, or a combination of both.  You are welcome to come to the Office Technology Classroom to do classwork and/or to receive individualized help when you need it.  An instructor will work with you one-on-one, explaining a concept or showing you how to complete a task on the computer.  To find out more about open-entry classes, visit the Office Technology Open Entry Courses page.  Read more about the course objectives on the course outlines page.
  • Online:  This format is the same as the above format, except that there is no open-entry option.  Classes are offered twice a year, with classes beginning on the first day of the fall semester and on the first day of the spring semester.  Everything else is the same: you may finish the course in fewer than 14 weeks and receive individualized help. 

Office Technology Classroom

The open-entry and online courses that prepare you for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification are offered in the Office Technology Classroom.  You may attend class during the day or evening, vary your hours from week to week, and attend class as often as you wish.  The classroom is divided into three areas.  The first room, a well-equipped computer lab with the latest software, is where you will receive one-on-one instruction and work on the hands-on computer lessons required for each course.  The second room is where you will take the theory or written tests for the course.  The third room is where you will take the computer tests.   


For textbook information, please visit HCC’s Online Bookstore

Take and Pass an Exam

Microsoft Office Specialist exams evaluate your overall comprehension of Microsoft Office applications, your ability to use their advanced features, and your capability to integrate them with other software applications.  To find out about the exam registration process, go to the Microsoft Certification Exams page.

To schedule a Microsoft Office Specialist exam, go to HCC’s Test Center or call 443-518-4853.  A fee will be charged to take an exam at the test center. 

Start or Advance Your Career

Some Microsoft Office Specialist courses can also be applied toward a letter of recognition, a certificate, or an associate degree at HCC.  To find out more about these programs, go to Office Technology Programs of Study.   

Some career options are: help desk personnel, administrative assistant, software trainer, word processing specialist, and computer tutor.