If you’re looking for a way to demonstrate your Excel skills, you may be overwhelmed by the different certificate programs and certifications available. You might also have a lot of questions, such as what certifications are available in Excel and if they will help you stand out to employers. This article aims to answer these questions so you can choose the best path toward Excel certification. Keep reading to find out more.
What is Excel?
Excel is an interactive spreadsheet application that was originally developed in 1985 by Microsoft. Excel can perform a variety of calculations and computations on data. The Excel interface includes a series of cells arranged into rows and columns. After data is entered into the cells, it can be organized and analyzed based on the user’s needs and specifications. The data can also be displayed visually in charts, histograms, and line graphs, among other visualization forms. Excel also provides users with graphing tools as well as a programming language, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). With the help of VBA, Excel users can create macros and advanced numerical methods. Excel is included with subscriptions to the Microsoft 365 suite of professional applications.
What Can You Do with Excel?
Excel has hundreds of features and tools that help users organize, manage, analyze, and visualize data. The following are just a few of the tools and features that make Excel the go-to for professionals around the globe:
- In Excel, users can add or average numbers in cells, locate high, median, or low values, count cells containing numbers, and find a product by multiplying cells. It’s also possible to delete extra white space and truncate numbers by removing fractions.
- Excel can learn your patterns the more you use it so that it can organize your data and ultimately save time.
- Users can share workbooks with others in real-time to ensure that all collaborators have the most up-to-date version.
- It’s possible to work on Excel files from the web and mobile and desktop devices.
- Users can now add data right into Excel from a photo. The Excel app enables users to take a picture of printed data with their iPhone or Android, then convert this image into an editable Excel table. This helpful trick helps users avoid manually entering hard copy data and is made possible through Excel’s image recognition capabilities.
- Financial transactions can be imported into Excel so that users can organize and review their financial information and receive helpful insights toward making more informed financial decisions.
- Excel’s PivotTables help users perform analysis and summaries of datasets, regrouping spreadsheet data for more effective comparisons. By seeing data from different perspectives, it’s possible to get a more comprehensive picture of revenue sources and other vital information.
Certifications vs. Certificates: What’s the Difference?
If you are deciding whether to pursue a certification or certificate in Excel, there are a few important differences to consider. Certification study typically involves registering for an exam in Excel, which a third party administers. If you pass the exam, you achieve Excel certification. Different tiers of Excel certification are offered, each demonstrating a different level of expertise in working with spreadsheets.
On the other hand, Excel certificates are often completion-based programs. If you pursue an Excel certificate, you will likely study this topic in-depth in the in-person or live online learning environment over the course of several weeks or months. By the time you complete the course, you will have gained a solid foundation in Excel, the skills needed to perform advanced calculations, and the know-how to perform various real-world spreadsheet tasks.
What Certifications are Available in Excel?
There are currently three levels of Excel certification: Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate Certification, Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert Certification, and Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Master Certification.
Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate Certification
If you are interested in earning Excel Associate Certification, you will need to demonstrate that you know core Excel capabilities and functions, like how to create worksheets and workbooks, manage spreadsheet data, and perform basic formatting tasks. This exam also requires students to demonstrate that they can create tables, ranges, objects, and charts and work with basic functions and formulas.
NYIM Training currently offers Excel Specialist Certification. This three-day bootcamp includes three separate Excel courses (Fundamentals, Intermediate, and Advanced), two hours of private training, as well as the Excel Specialist Exam fee (including the option of a free retake). Those enrolled in this certification program will also receive free exam proctoring and will have unlimited access to Excel video courses.
Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert Certification
To achieve Excel Expert Certification, you must demonstrate spreadsheet skills beyond those needed to pass the Associate Certification exam. Test-takers must indicate that they can create, manipulate, and share professional-level spreadsheets, which can have a variety of purposes or situations. Excel Expert Certification shows that you can manage various workbook options and settings, format datasets, create advanced formulas and macros, as well as create and work with advanced charts and tables.
NYIM Training’s Excel Expert Certification is a 21-hour certificate program that prepares participants to take the Microsoft Excel Expert exam. Students enrolled in this rigorous course will receive valuable training on commonly tested concepts, such as functions, formulas, charts, and PivotTables. This certification program also provides flexible scheduling options in which students can schedule three group classes and four hours of private training around their own schedules leading up to their exam date. Classes and private training are available on weekdays, weeknights, and weekends for maximum flexibility.
Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Master Certification
Excel Master Certification is the highest tier of certification available in Microsoft Office. If you achieve this level of certification, you have demonstrated that you’ve mastered not only one Office application but that you have a mastery of four apps. This means that test-takers have to pass Expert-level exams in Excel and Word, in addition to an exam in PowerPoint and one more Office app, such as Access or Outlook.
Should I Get Certified in Excel?
More data is being created each day than ever before. While several applications, tools, and platforms are designed to help with data management and analysis, Excel remains a popular and widely used tool across industries. However, it’s likely that if you haven’t studied Excel since high school, you may not be aware of this software’s current features and capabilities.
Certification in Microsoft Excel is a great way to show employers that you have the training to use Excel’s various functions and tools, such as PivotTables, VBA, and macros. While many jobs list Excel training as a prerequisite, recruiters sometimes want to see more than just a mention of proficiency; they want proof of it. Having an industry-standard certification is one definite way to convey this proficiency. In addition, achieving Excel certification also indicates to employers that you’re willing to invest the necessary time into learning Excel in order to pass at least one exam based on this application.
The decision whether to seek Excel certification depends on a variety of factors, one of which is your profession. Although knowledge of Excel is a useful skill for most professions, not all require employees to have specific certification with this application. For example, professions such as the following consider Excel training to be essential:
- Market research
- Data analytics
- Project management
- Business intelligence
- Digital marketing
- Financial analytics
Professions such as these may value Excel certification in applicants because it demonstrates a solid understanding of how to use a spreadsheet to tackle real-world data tasks.
How to Get Certified in Excel
Microsoft Office (MOS) Certification is available in Excel and core Microsoft applications like Access, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Certification is achieved by passing an exam in which test-takers are asked to complete a set of tasks in the application in which they are being tested and to do so within a time limit. The exams also require that students use only a certain number of clicks on the keyboard to complete tasks. These testing parameters are in place so that the student taking the exam demonstrates a solid understanding of Excel and doesn’t waste time scrolling through menus or searching on toolbars to execute tasks.
Unlike other certifications, there isn’t a standard professional or academic requirement that must be met in order to pursue MOS Excel certification. However, there are a few software requirements all test-takers must have on their computers in order to complete this test:
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Windows Vista SP2 or higher
- .Net Framework 4.0 or higher
- Adobe Flash Player 10.0 or higher
- High-speed internet connection
- Internet Explorer
Once you apply to take the exam, you’ll be given a test date and practice materials from the Microsoft IT Academy. To prepare for the test, it’s a good idea to review the materials in the study guide and complete practice exams, which are available online. The more practice exams you can complete, the better feel you’ll have for the test’s structure. In addition, it’s prudent to brush up on Excel’s latest features because certification with this app requires that test-takers know how to work with the most current version of Excel.
The MOS Excel exam takes place in a live or simulated environment. It’s a performance-based test in which students must accomplish a series of Excel tasks. This typically involves completing a short project. Those sitting for this exam have one hour to finish. A minimum score of 700 is necessary to pass. Those who successfully pass the MOS Excel exam are sent recognition from Microsoft in the mail as proof of their expertise.
- Microsoft Excel was released initially in 1985 and, in the time since, has become the leading spreadsheet application around the globe.
- Excel has a wide range of professional applications. It helps users more easily spot data patterns, share workbooks in real-time, and keep track of financial transactions.
- Pursuing a certificate or certification is a great way to demonstrate your skills if you want to learn more about Excel to advance your career or professional options. Whereas Excel certificates are generally completion-based programs spanning weeks or months, certification requires passing an exam proctored by a third party.
- Three levels of Excel certification are currently offered: Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Associate Certification, Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Expert Certification, and Microsoft Office Specialist: Excel Master Certification.
Learn Excel with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop
Are you looking to learn how to use Microsoft Excel, the industry-standard spreadsheet application? If so, Noble Desktop currently offers a variety of Excel courses in NYC and live online. Classes are available for those new to Excel and for learners who regularly work with this spreadsheet application and wish to improve their skills. In addition, in-person and live online Excel courses are available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to two days and costing between $229 and $1,099.
Noble Desktop’s Excel Bootcamp provides an excellent option for those who want to master core Excel concepts, such as working with PivotTables and What-If Analysis. Students who enroll in this rigorous, 21-hour course can elect to study in person in Manhattan or learn in the live online environment. This small class comes with the option of a free retake and covers a variety of Excel concepts applicable to the business world.