Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I get Microsoft Certified?

Microsoft Office Specialists are a part of a global community of distinguished achievers. This Microsoft Certification tells the world you have demonstrated proficiency in the newest standard of the world's foremost business desktop computing applications. Microsoft certifications (based on globally recognized standards) demonstrate your computing skills and help advance your career prospects in a competitive job market.

Research has shown that 71% of supervisors use Microsoft Certification in hiring, promotion, and advancement decisions.

For more information on the benefits of getting Microsoft Certified, including success stories and research reports, go to: Certiport, Why Certify?

Should I get certified in Office 2013 or Office 2016?

The MiraCosta College Microsoft Business Certification Testing Center offers Certification Exams in either.  The choice is up to you, though typically depends on the needs of your employer or potential employer.  Office 2010 was the standard office productivity software used in business until recently. Office 2013 is now becoming more prevalent.

What is the best way to prepare for the Certification Exams?

The best preparation is to take the corresponding MiraCosta College Computer Applications Program course first.  Click on the Computer Applications Program Course Grid link on the left for more information. Exam candidates may also choose to self-study for the Certification Exams. Click here for a copy of the MiraCosta Computer Applications Program brochure (PDF).

What's a typical Certification Exam like?

Good news: not a No. 2 pencil in sight. Exams are based on real-world assignments, not written tests. Exams are not multiple-choice tests, nor do they require you to rely on strict memorization. Instead, each exam is conducted within the Office product itself. Using an actual document, you will be asked to perform a series of tasks that clearly demonstrate your skills.

How long does a Certification Exam take?

Certification Exams take 50 minutes. In addition to measuring your skills, the tests also measure productivity and efficiency.

How much does a Certification Exam cost?

Click on the Contact, Hours, and Pricing link at the left for more information.

Can I get a refund if I fail the Certification Exam?

Refunds are not available for failing test scores. You may, however, choose to purchase both the Certification Exam and one retake if you would like to have the peace of mind that if you fail you will be able to take the same Certification Exam a second time. Click on the Contact, Hours, Pricing link at the left for more information.  If a exam candidate fails the retake, they would need to purchase a new Exam Voucher.

Where can I see what is covered on each Certification Exam?

Click here to learn more

Where can I buy a copy of Office 2016?

MiraCosta College students can use Office 2013 for free in the Open Computer Labs at either campus.  They can purchase a copy of Office 2013 for home use through the Foundation for Community Colleges for $39.99 at:

Click here to learn more

What happened to the Microsoft Certified Applications Specialist (MCAS) designation?

As of June 1st, 2010, this designation is no longer in use and has been changed to the Microsoft Office Specialist designation. MCAS certification holders will be contacted by Microsoft and will be given a website where they can go to have their certification reissued as a Microsoft Office Specialist certification.