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The Advantages of Microsoft Office Training and Certification

written by: KateG•edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 5/27/2010

If you are thinking about getting trained in Microsoft Office as a way to boost your career, or just to expand your skills, then check out this guide to getting trained.

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    Microsoft Office Training and Certification

    Getting trained in Microsoft Office is an advantage in any job market. While most people have a basic proficiency in Microsoft Office, advanced training, especially certifications, can be a big help. Here are some interesting certification related statistics to think about:

    • Seventy-five percent of polled IT managers believe that members of their staff with certifications are important to team performance.
    • Sixty-six percent of managers believe that certifications improve the level of the customer service and support that is offered to customers.
    • Sixty-three percent of the hiring managers who were asked stated that they believed certified individuals were more productive than their non-certified counterparts.

    You may wonder why all of these statistics are focused on managers? What do you care what a manager thinks? Well, you should care. They do the hiring and decide when, and if, you get a raise!

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    Training Types: Online vs. In Person

    There are a few different types of Microsoft Office training available. Before we look at specific courses available, let's take some time to do a basic review of the types of courses you may encounter.

    Self Study

    A self study course is one with no instructor to guide it. You may have just reading materials or video content, or you may have a community with other students to interact with. Either way, there is no teacher.

    Instructor Lead

    This is a more traditional classroom or seminar style of learning. While you may complete some (or most) of the work on your own, a teacher is present to answer your questions.

    Online vs. In Person vs. Hybrid

    This is pretty simple one. Online courses can be done from your computer while in person training requires you to go to a classroom. Although some in person training is available in your home, it is cost prohibitive for many learners. A hybrid course will have both an in person and an online component. The percentage will vary from course to course.

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    General Knowledge vs. Certification Prep

    In addition to different formats of classes, there are also two types of course that will give you different types of training or education.

    General Knowledge

    A general knowledge course will help you to gain on or expand one specific set of skills (e.g. cross program mail merge) or help to increase your understanding of one specific program (e.g. MS Access).

    Certification Prep

    These classes are usually a bit more intense. They are designed to get you past the certification exam. The information will usually be very in-depth but always geared towards the exam. These courses are usually much longer and generally more expensive. They can be for one specific program of the whole of the Microsoft Office Suite.

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    Choosing the Right Type of Course For You

    You may be wondering which type of course is right for your needs. If you want to know, just answer these simple yes/no questions. Consider them a guide in making your choice.

    1. Have you done well trying to learn on your own in the past?

    • If yes, consider self study an option.
    • If no, you will want to learn towards an instructor lead course.

    2. Are you computer literate and able to navigate most websites with ease, online communities specifically?

    • If your answer is no, then consider an in person course instead of online or hybrid.

    3. Are you looking to take a certification exam?

    • If yes, then a certification course is what you need.
    • If no, take a course that is designed to meet your needs.
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    Where do I find brick and mortar classes?

    This link can help you find Microsoft approved training. If you can’t find one you ned, then check with your local community college or vocational school. They usually offer some training. If you don't want to pay for a full college course, consider calling the continuing education department. Most community colleges offer some non-credit courses at a reduced rate.

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    In the end, finding the right kind of training is not that hard. A little bit of research and effort will get you what you need. Soon you will have all the skills you desire.

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