How to Earn a Microsoft Excel Certification (+ Why You Should)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover what the Microsoft Excel Expert certification includes, how it can boost your career, and how to earn a certification.

[Featured Image] A person using a laptop and phone studies for an upcoming Microsoft Excel certification exam.

The Microsoft Excel certification is a credential that the software company Microsoft offers to verify professionals’ competency in using its Excel spreadsheet tool for various situations. Excel is one of several tools in the Microsoft 365 stack, along with Word and PowerPoint, and is used to store, organize, and track data sets with formulas and functions. Getting certified demonstrates that you have expert-level capabilities with this tool and are ready for jobs that require Excel expertise.

The full name for the certification is Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Excel Expert (Office 2019). You might also see it referred to as MO-201. To get the certification, you must take the Microsoft Excel Expert (Office 2019) exam. This exam is 50 minutes long, consists of 25 questions, and covers several areas of Excel usage, including:

  • Managing workbook options and settings (15 to 20 per cent of the exam)

  • Managing and formatting data (20 to 25 per cent of the exam)

  • Creating advanced formulas and macros (30 to 35 per cent of the exam)

  • Managing advanced charts and tables (25 to 30 per cent of the exam) 

How much does a Microsoft Excel certification cost? 

The Microsoft Excel certification exam costs $100 in the United States.

Is Microsoft Excel certification worth it?

Getting an Excel certification can benefit your career in several ways. It’s a globally recognized credential that can be advantageous in many fields, including accounting, finance, project management, marketing, technology, and education. As of June 2022, Canada has the third-largest number of companies using Microsoft 365 globally, with nearly 100,000 companies in Canada using Excel and other tools in the Microsoft 365 stack [1]. Having this certification can make you a more attractive job candidate, increase your value with your current employer, and even set you up for a salary increase.

How long does it take to get Excel certified?

The time it takes to get Excel certified depends, in large part, on how much experience you already have with Excel and the frequency with which you prepare for the exam. According to Microsoft’s description of the Microsoft Office Specialist: Microsoft Excel Expert (Office 2019) certification, it’s meant to demonstrate that you have approximately 150 hours of instruction and hands-on experience with Excel.

How to get Excel certified

If you’re ready to get an Excel certification, follow these steps to streamline your process.

1. Schedule your exam.

Certiport is Microsoft’s official testing centre. Visit Certiport’s webpage to schedule your exam and select your preferred exam location. Be sure to schedule the exam with enough time to prepare. Create an account with Microsoft to access your Certification Dashboard.

2. Prepare for the exam.

While Microsoft does not offer an official practice test for the Excel certification, there are several sources of preparation materials you can access, including:

3. Take the exam.

The final step in getting your Microsoft Excel certification is to take the exam. You’ll receive pass or fail results within minutes of completing the exam, along with a breakdown of how you performed in the different skill areas. The Excel exam is scored on a scale of 1 to 1,000. According to Microsoft’s exam documentation, passing scores vary from one exam to the next and are available on your score report.  

You’ll need to access your certification dashboard to see exam score reports and other information related to your certifications.

Learn Excel from Coursera

Taking online courses can be a great way to prepare for the Excel certification exam and build job-ready skills. Explore the Microsoft 365 Fundamentals Specialization on Coursera, which covers how to use Excel to work with basic formulas and functions, analyse and visualize data, and more.

Article sources

  1. Statista. “Number of Office 365 company users worldwide as of June 2022, by leading country,” Accessed November 6, 2023.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.