Microsoft 365 Certifications (Formerly Office 365) – The Ultimate Guide

Microsoft offers several certifications for its flagship SaaS product Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365), and in this article we will walk you through all the new Microsoft 365 certifications, with exam details and learning options as well.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the most obvious question:

What are Microsoft 365 Certifications?

Microsoft 365 Certifications are official attestations to a candidate’s level of skill and proficiency in implementing, developing / extending, maintaining and architecting Microsoft 365 solutions (previously known as Office 365), the certificate is issued by Microsoft after a paid assessment process that requires the passing of one or several official exams, the number of which depends on the certification itself.

Starting in June 2021, any Microsoft 365 certification earned will be valid for one year from the date you earned it. Any certifications earned before June 2021 will remain valid for two years from the date you earned it.

After that your certification expires, so you’ll need to renew the certification (you can renew for free) during the last 6 months to the expiry date, by passing the associated exam(s) on Microsoft Learn – before they expire -, to show that your skills are still up to date.

Microsoft 365 Certifications Paths

  • Microsoft 365 Fundamentals certification path: MS-900 exams for beginners.
  • Microsoft 365 Developer Associate certification path: MS-600 exam for junior & senior M365 Developers.
  • Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate certification path: MS-203 Exam for junior & senior M365 Admins.
  • Microsoft 365 Security Administrator Associate certification path: MS-500 exam for junior & senior M365 Admins.
  • Teams Administrator Associate certification path: MS-700 exam for junior & senior M365 / MS Teams Admins.
  • Modern Desktop Administrator Associate certification path: MD-100 + MD-101 exams for junior & senior desktop admins.
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert certification path: MS-100 + MS-101 for senior M365 administrators, experts and tech-leads.

Microsoft 365 Certifications Cost / Price

Microsoft 365 certifications cost $165USD per each required exam in that certification, so for example: the cost of a certification with 2 exams (like the M365 Enterprise admin expert) would be 330$.

However, the renewal of your certification before its expiry date is free.

Anyways, let’s now dive into the crux of our subject, which is the actual list of Microsoft 365 certification categorized by level, with all the exams & prep details:

Microsoft 365 Certifications List (Detailed by Level)

Microsoft 365 Fundamentals Certification (MS-900)

This credential verifies an individual’s basic understanding of the options Microsoft 365 offers, as well as the benefits of using cloud services. It is the only fundamental level M365 certification at the moment.

Those who are interested in pursuing this credential should have knowledge of all the available options and benefits of Microsoft 365 in order to be able to recommend solutions to particular challenges in a business. Still, there are no official prerequisites.

To gain this certification, candidates must pass the MS-900 exam, which tests them on their ability to describe cloud concepts and core Microsoft services, explain security, compliance, privacy, and trust in Microsoft 365, as well as describe its pricing and support services. Candidates can find a full and detailed list on all the exam objectives here.

Those who wish to gain the necessary skills to be successful on this exam may enroll in Microsoft’s free or paid Learning Paths. They may also choose to practice and tune up their test-taking abilities by purchasing the official practice test, which covers all the exam topics and provides in-depth answers for practical guidance.     

Microsoft 365 Associate Level Certifications

Microsoft 365 Developer Associate (MS-600)

Those who hold this certification prove their ability to design, build, test, and maintain applications in order to maximize an enterprise’s productivity using Microsoft 365.

Those who are interested in pursuing this credential should have experience in Microsoft identity and Microsoft Graph, having knowledge of UI elements is a plus, as well as integration points, and workload platform targets.

Having experience with Microsoft Teams, Office Add-ins, REST APIs, OData, SharePoint Framework, and OpenID Connect is also recommended, but none of the aforementioned are necessary as this certification has no must-have prerequisites.

To earn this credential, candidates must pay the exam fee of US$165 and pass the MS-600 exam. Here, they will be tested on their ability to implement Microsoft Identity, build Apps with Microsoft Graph, and extend and customize SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and Office.

A full and detailed list of all the exam’s objectives can be found in the downloadable exam skills outline.

To prepare for the exam, candidates may enroll in Microsoft’s free or paid Learning Path courses, which will help them gain all the relevant skills. They may also choose to purchase the official practice exam to have access to similar questions on the exam and their detailed answers.    

Microsoft 365 Messaging Administrator Associate (MS-203)

This credential was created to demonstrate an individual’s skills in effectively deploying, configuring, managing, troubleshooting, messaging infrastructure, collaborating with other administrators, and monitoring recipients, permissions, mail flow, and public folders in hybrid and cloud enterprises.

Messaging Administrators should also have sufficient knowledge of authentication types, licensing, and integration with Microsoft 365 applications.

Obtaining this certification requires the successful completion of the MS-203 exam.

The exam covers and tests the ability to complete a variety of technical tasks, including managing organizational settings and resources, planning and managing mail architecture, planning and implementing hybrid configuration and migration, and securing the messaging environment.

The exam is offered in English and is available to take for US$165.

Interested candidates are encouraging to download the skills outline for the exam and prepare with Microsoft’s available resources.

This includes enrolling in either a free or paid Learning Paths to gain the necessary skills and knowledge, as well as purchasing the official practice test which provides detailed answers and references to similar questions which will be on the final exam.

Microsoft 365 Security Administrator Associate (MS-500)

This credential proves a candidate’s ability to implement, manage, and monitor security and compliance solutions for Microsoft 365 enterprises. Candidates for this certification should feel comfortable with Microsoft 365 workloads and have a good set of foundational skills in identity protection, information protection, threat protection, security management, and data governance.

The successful completion of the MS-500 exam, which measures a candidate’s ability to effectively implement and manage identity and access, implement and manage threat and information protection, and manage governance and compliance features within Microsoft 365.

The exam is available to take in English and Japanese and costs US$165.

Microsoft encourages potential test-takers to download the skills outline for a full and detailed explanation of everything that will be covered on the exam and their respective percentage.

Candidates are also able to enroll in the free or paid Learning Paths, or purchase the official practice test to prepare for the final exam.    

Teams Administrator Associate (MS-700)

This credential demonstrates an individual’s ability to effectively plan, deploy, and manage Teams chat, apps, channels, meetings, calling, and more.

They should be able to configure and deploy Office 365 workloads within an organization to enhance productivity and collaboration.

Interested candidates for this certification should also feel comfortable and have significant experience with SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, Azure, and Office 365 Groups. Still, there are no formal prerequisites.

Candidates must pass the MS-700 exam, which tests how well they are able to plan and configure a Teams environment, as well as manage chat, calling, Teams, app policies, and meetings.

Interested candidates can find a full, detailed list of all the exam’s objectives in the exam skills outline. The exam is available to take for US$165.

Preparation includes enrolling in the free or paid courses through Microsoft’s Learning Paths. They also have the option to purchase the official practice test to be ready for any question on the final exam.     

Modern Desktop Administrator Associate (MD-100 + MD-101)

This certification’s holder is able to effectively deploy, configure, secure, manage, and monitor devices and applications in an organization.

They should have experience with Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 to design and implement device strategies.

To earn this credential, candidates must pass two exams:

  • MD-100, which costs US$165. Candidates will have to prove that they are able to deploy Windows, manage devices and data, configure connectivity, and maintain Windows. They can find and download the full exam skills outline here.
  • MD-101, where candidates will be tested on their ability to deploy and update operating systems, manage policies, profiles, devices, apps, and data, and protect devices. This exam can be taken for US$165, and candidates can download its full skills outline.

To prepare for this exam, interested candidates can enroll in Microsoft’s free or paid Learning Path courses, which will help them gain all the relevant skills.

They also have the option to purchase the official practice tests for both MD-100 and MD-101.     

Microsoft 365 Expert Level Certifications

Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert (MS-100 + MS-101)

This certification was created for those who take part in the evaluation, planning, migration, deployment, and management of Microsoft 365 services.

Candidates who are looking to gain this credential should feel comfortable performing management tasks, and have a strong working knowledge of networking, server administration, and IT fundamentals including DNS, Active Directory, and PowerShell.

This is one of the few certifications that officially requires that candidates have a prior credential.

Interested candidates must have at least one of any of the Microsoft 365 associate-level certifications: Modern Desktop, Security, Messaging, Teams, and Identity and Access Administrator Associates.

In addition, they must successfully complete two exams:

  • MS-100 tests how well candidates are able to design and implement Microsoft 365 services, manage user identity roles, manage access and authentication, and plan workloads/applications. The exam is available for US$165 and may be taken in either English or Japanese.
  • MS-101 measures how effectively individuals are able to implement modern device services and Microsoft 365 security and threat management, as well as manage Microsoft 365 governance and compliance. Candidates can take the test in English or Japanese for US$165.

Outside of gaining the relevant experience and prerequisite, individuals may prepare for the exam by downloading and reviewing the skills outline to determine exactly which skills will be covered on the exams and their respective weights.

Microsoft also offers beneficial Learning Paths, where interested candidates may choose to take either the free modules or the paid courses to improve and tune important skills.

The option to purchase the practice tests for both the MS-100 and MS-101 is also available, and many find this to be beneficial as they are able to delve into similar questions that will appear on the final exams while receiving detailed feedback and correct answers for them.

That’s it for Microsoft 365 certifications, I hope this article has been useful to you. You can check out my other articles that are related to this topic…

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I'm a senior CS Engineer from Morocco, working as an Independent Consultant and a part-time blogger.

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