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Don't settle for 'proficient,' become a Word or Excel expert

How well do you know Microsoft Office? How about Word and Excel?

If the answer is "I'm proficient" or "familiar" with the products,  RU’s College of Business and Economics (COBE) is offering students, faculty and staff an opportunity to go a step beyond "proficient" and become certified in Microsoft Office products. And for Word and Excel, interested individuals can test to become experts.

Through COBE's Certipoint Certification Center, individuals can complete the Certiport certification test on campus in the trading room of the COBE Building. The cost for each test is $75 for each Microsoft Office product, such as Word, Excel, Outlook, Access and PowerPoint. Expert level tests are available for Excel and Word only.

Before diving into the Certiport tests, individuals should take advantage of GMetrix study software, which can be used for free in the trading room. One advantage to the GMetrix software is "it looks just like the Certiport exam," said COBE Accounting Associate Professor Mike Chatham, who, along with fellow COBE faculty members Angela Stanton and Rodrigo Hernandez, led the way for RU to administer the test.

Chatham said individuals who have some experience working with the Microsoft Office products need to spend approximately four to five hours studying for the exam on GMetrix. "And slightly longer for the expert levels," he noted.

Becoming Microsoft Office certified is a great advantage to students when looking for employment after graduation, Chatham and Stanton noted.

"Showing that you have received a certification from a third party source like Microsoft shows that you have mastered a specific skill set and have demonstrated this by passing a standardized test," Stanton said. "Students should know, however, that more employers are asking job applicants to prove their skills during their interviews by taking a test or completing a task using the software."

Stanton also said many of her former students have told her that their certification has been beneficial.

"A recent graduate who took my marketing analytics course, earned his Microsoft Office 2010 Excel Specialist Certification, was given a test during his interview to measure his skills in both Excel and SPSS. He passed and was immediately hired," she explained. "There is no doubt that the certification helped him in his successful job search."

To learn more about certification tests and study sessions, contact Chatham at (540) 831-5604 or mdchatham@radford.edu, Hernandez at (540) 831-6454 or rjhernand@radford.edu, or Stanton at (540) 831-5011 or astanton@radford.edu.

Feb 5, 2014