NOLS hosts free Microsoft Office testing

The North Olympic Library System, in partnership with the Washington State Library, is offering multiple testing sessions for Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams at no charge on Dec. 7 and Dec. 13, and by appointment.

Market value for a Microsoft Office Specialist exam is typically between $99-$130 per exam, depending on the location, library officials said last week. Testing will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St., Port Angeles, and 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13, at the Forks Library.

In Sequim, testing is hosted by arrangement.

Limited space is available and registration is required at www.nols.org/events. Multiple one-hour sessions are available at the events, but it is only possible to take one exam per session; participants have 50 minutes to complete each exam. To take multiple exams, register for multiple sessions. Those unable to attend one of the designated testing sessions are asked to contact ehelp@nols.org to schedule an individual testing appointment with library staff.

Microsoft Office proficiency is one of the most requested job skills across all occupations and industries, and holding a Microsoft Office Specialist certification can earn an entry-level business employee as much as $16,000 more in annual salary than their uncertified peers, according to library staff.

In late 2016, the North Olympic Library System was awarded a $4,500 grant from the Washington State Library to help assemble a mobile laptop lab. Those laptops are now used to offer Microsoft Office certification testing around Clallam County in addition to other library programming such as computer coding camps.

Take time to ‘Imagine’

To help prepare for success on Microsoft Office Specialist and Microsoft Technology Associate certification exams, Washington state residents can take online courses through the Microsoft Imagine Academy Program free through the North Olympic Library System website. The academy offers hundreds of introductory classes covering everything from sending and receiving emails to navigating the web. Popular courses cover the basics of Office 2013 and 2016, Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. For more practiced users and IT professionals, the academy offers courses tackling advanced subjects such as SQL Server, ASP.NET, Visual Studio and Microsoft Dynamics.

All Imagine Academy courses are conducted in one-on-one virtual sessions and are free of charge with your library card. Free certificates of completion can be downloaded at the conclusion of each course, and official Microsoft Certification and testing is also available.

To get started, visit www.nols.org and click on “E-Resources” and then “Microsoft Imagine Academy ” Once enrolled, explore the catalog of courses and continue the self-paced coursework on any computer at the library or at home.

Access to the Imagine Academy is made possible through an ongoing public-private partnership between Microsoft, the Washington State Library, the Office of Secretary of State and the Washington State Legislature.

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