Free Microsoft certification exams offered this month

Free Microsoft certification exams will be offered this month at the Port Angeles, Forks and Sequim public libraries.

The Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.; from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Forks Library, 171 S. Forks Ave.; and by arrangement at the Sequim Library, 630 N. Sequim Ave.

The free exams are offered by the North Olympic Library System in partnership with the Washington State Library.

Limited space is available and registration is required at www.nols.org/events.

Multiple one-hour sessions are available at each event, but only one exam can be taken per session. Participants have 50 minutes to complete each exam. Those who wish to take multiple exams must register for multiple sessions.

Those unable to attend one of the designated testing sessions can email ehelp@nols.org to schedule an individual testing appointment with library staff.

Free certificates of completion can be downloaded at the conclusion of each course, and official Microsoft certification and testing is also available.

Depending on location, market value for a MOS exam is typically between $99 and $130 per exam, according to a news release.

Microsoft Office proficiency is one of the most requested job skills across all occupations and industries, and holding a MOS certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as an additional $16,000 in annual salary than their uncertified peers, organizers said.

To help prepare for the exams, library cardholders can take free online courses through the Microsoft Imagine Academy Program available through the North Olympic Library System website.

The Imagine Academy offers virtual one-on-one introductory classes such as sending and receiving emails to navigating the web, as well as the basics of Office 2013 and 2016, Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint programs.

Courses for SQL Server, ASP.NET and Visual Studio also are available for more practiced users and information technology professionals.

Access to the Imagine Academy is made possible through an ongoing public-private partnership between Microsoft, the state library, the Secretary of State’s Office and the state Legislature.

To get started, visit the library’s website and select “E-Resources” and then “Microsoft Imagine Academy.”

Once enrolled, participants can explore the catalog of courses and continue the self-paced coursework on library computers or from a personal computer at home.

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