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Microsoft certification program sets students apart

Posted: Feb 27, 2014

“I knew that the Microsoft® certification would help me in the future, but I didn’t expect it to help me so soon!” Bethanie Sills (sophomore, Spring Hill, Kan.) says.

Bethanie is one of more than 100 students who are now certified Microsoft Office Specialists in Excel 2010 since Olivet became a Certiport Authorized Testing Center in August 2012. Her expertise has already made her a sought-after job applicant.

Expertise in demand

After taking the exam at Olivet in the fall of 2012, Bethanie applied for a position in business development for Shine.FM this past summer. Included on her résumé was her achievement as a certified professional in Excel. When interviewing for the position, her now-boss told her that her skills — specifically her expertise in Excel — made her stand out from other candidates.

“He and another supervisor both wanted to hire me, because they both wanted someone with that level of skill,” Bethanie says. “Knowing how to use Excel is something employers are looking for.”

Expanding the output

To help Olivet students remain competitive in today’s job market, Professor Brad Thomas of Olivet’s business department led the charge for the school to become authorized for these certification exams.

Bethanie — who since receiving certification has switched majors from actuarial science and math to ministry — is glad that she took the class and the exam. “The payoff has been great. It’s a good set of skills to have,” she says.

The MOS Excel 2010 exam is now required for students in the “Computer Applications and Communications” course. Testing, however, is not restricted to business majors or those in the course. Testing requirements have also been expanded to students taking the “Computation and Management Support” course. This spring, 60 students in this course will attempt to demonstrate proficiency in database creation and design through the MOS Access 2010 exam.

Professor Thomas hopes to continue expanding certification offerings as more students become interested “This is just a jumping off point,” he says. “Staying current in the world of technology is a lifelong process.”

He also takes the exams in an effort to stay current and provide first-hand assistance to students. In addition to expanding the program, his goal is to see the pass rate improve each semester.

“A lot of people can say they are proficient, but having these certifications is universally recognized and lends professional credibility,” he adds.