Applications experts get some respect at

You don't have to be a network specialist to have your skills certified. If you know Microsoft Office, you can get on the certification bandwagon.

Network experts everywhere are jumping on the certification bandwagon. But what if you don’t know or don’t care about how to configure a network? What if your expertise is in using software to manage the business? Well, your day in the certification sun has arrived, and the folks at can help you get the recognition you deserve.

Get your MOUS over here
I first heard of from Bruce Maples, one of TechRepublic’s most popular contributing writers, who recently wrote an article introducing MOUS—the Microsoft Office User Specialist certification. The folks at are dedicated to helping you pass the MOUS exams that qualify you as a Proficient, Expert, or Master user of some or all of the core Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access.

When you visit the OfficeCert site, first follow the How to Get Certified link. That link leads to a page where you’ll find out what tests are available, the skill sets you need to qualify for each level of certification, and the cost of a MOUS test ($50 to $100 each time you take an exam).

The folks at OfficeCert host a monthly chat with special guests who lead discussions on preparing for and taking the MOUS tests. You can download transcripts of previous chats. You can also click the Forums link and drill into product-specific threads posted by people sharing their certification experiences.

On the home page, there’s also a link to a nice question-and-answer section (Stump Betty) where you can find answers to technical questions about Office products. And the Breaktime and Amazing Links sections provide some comic relief—something you need if you’re stressed out about taking an exam.

One of the best things about is the mix of feature articles on the home page. At the time of this writing, there was a great article about how to recover a forgotten password from an Office document. There was also a very interesting article by Lauri Sowa on the art of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the right people for technical positions.

If you’ve earned expert user status with one or more Microsoft Office application, you may want to beef up your resume by having your skill set certified by examination. The best place to start down that path is .

Have you obtained your MOUS certification?
If you’ve passed a MOUS certification test, we want to hear from you. Please send me a note and let me know what you thought of the test.

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