Microsoft offering free online courses, certification exams

Posted January 14, 2010 6:18 a.m. EST

Microsoft logo

— More than 40 North Carolina community colleges are distributing thousands of vouchers for free Microsoft certification exams and advanced online courses over the next six weeks, thanks to a nationwide Microsoft initiative called “Elevate America."

A voucher, worth up to $85, allows people who are skilled in software – such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Access – to take an exam at no charge to earn the certification. A $10 proctoring fee applies.

The deadline to apply for the vouchers and take the exams is Feb. 24. North Carolina is one of only eight states in which vouchers have been made available.

Vouchers are also available for Advanced IT Professional Training in topics like Microsoft SQL Server, .NET Framework and Visual Basic. These vouchers must be redeemed online by Feb. 24, although participants have up to one year to complete the online training.

Elevate America is part of an overall effort by Microsoft to train 2 million people over the next three years.

Certification exam vouchers:

Microsoft Office Specialist

  • Windows XP (not available at our testing center)
  • Word 2003 Core
  • Word 2003 Expert
  • Excel 2003 Core
  • Excel 2003 Expert
  • PowerPoint 2003
  • Access 2003
  • Outlook 2003

Microsoft Certified Application Specialist

  • Using Microsoft® Office Word 2007
  • Using Microsoft® Office Excel® 2007
  • Using Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® 2007
  • Using Microsoft® Office Access™ 2007
  • Using Microsoft® Office Outlook® 2007
  • Windows Vista® for the Business Worker

Advanced Level Training includes:

  • Windows Vista
  • Windows Server
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft .NET Framework
  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Computer Hardware Fundamentals
  • Networking Fundamentals
  • XML Fundamentals
  • Visual Basic or C# Programming
  • Programming Fundamentals
  • Database Fundamentals
  • Computer Desktop Fundamentals
  • Fundamentals of Windows Sever 2008 Active Directory
  • Fundamental of Windows Server 2008 Network Infrastructure and Application Platform
  • Server+
  • Security+