An Important Update on Microsoft Training and Certification

Posted 26 Mar 2020 by Alex Payne, GM, Global Technical Learning at Microsoft Worldwide Learning


As the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve rapidly around the world, the health, safety and well-being of our employees, customers and partners remain our top priorities. Authorities around the globe are responding to the situation with stricter measures that are disrupting normal routines, which changes the landscape in which we operate. With this in mind, we have several updates to share with you today on how Microsoft, together with our partner ecosystem, is adapting to the current environment to ensure that all of you can continue to learn and get certified on Microsoft technologies, while staying safe.

Testing centers closing and online proctoring capacity increasing

Pearson VUE, our exam delivery partner, has temporarily closed many of its testing centers worldwide in response to global government regulations to battle the spread of COVID-19. As an alternative to taking your exam at a testing center, online proctoring is available, which allows you to take your certification exam in the comfort of your own home or office. We're working as fast as we can with Pearson VUE to expand online testing capacity. Stay up to date with current testing availability information from Pearson Vue.

Reschedule and cancellation fees waived

In partnership with Pearson VUE, we are also temporarily waiving exam reschedule and cancellation fees. There will be no charge if you reschedule or cancel at least 24 hours prior to your appointment, rather than the six-day window required under our current policy. More information on this adjusted policy is available here.

We know many of you are working toward completing your Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD), or Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) certification(s). We realize that the current environment could potentially hamper your ability to finish your certification before the original retirement date of June 30, 2020. To address this issue, we are extending the retirement date for these specific certifications to January 31, 2021 to give you more time to complete the exams and earn your certification.

Expiring role-based certifications extended

If you have a role-based certification that is expiring between now and December 31, 2020, we are extending your certification by six months. So, for example, if your certification is set to expire September 30, 2020, it will now expire on March 30, 2021. Your certification expiration date will be automatically updated, and no action is required on your part. You will be able to view your updated expiration date in your certification dashboard within the next 30 days.

Exam voucher and discount offer expiration dates extended

If you have a Pearson VUE delivered certification exam voucher or discount offer that is expiring between March 26 and August 31, 2020, it will be extended until January 31, 2021.

Academic customers

For our academic customers, we are working closely with Pearson VUE and Certiport to support schools around the world that are experiencing disruption to classes due to school closures and shifts to distance learning. Academic customers with questions can reach out to their local Microsoft Education team or Certiport support.

Moving to virtual training

Both Microsoft and Microsoft Learning Partners are moving in-person, instructor-led training to virtual instructor-led training. Microsoft Learning Partners provide in-depth, technical training solutions tailored to meet companies' and individuals' learning objectives with content created by Microsoft and delivered ​by Microsoft Certified Trainers. Check with your local learning partner to find out more and visit Microsoft Events to find a virtual instructor-led training event in your area.

Use Microsoft Learn!

As we work with our partners and customers through this challenging time, we want to remind you to use Microsoft Learn as a key component for your skilling efforts. It offers a comprehensive catalog of free, online training at your fingertips, including interactive-coding environments and role-based learning paths that can help you learn about a specific topic area or prepare to earn a Microsoft Certification.

Questions? Concerns? Contact us.

If you have a question or concern about any of these changes or need certification and training support, contact us! Please be aware that the customer support systems for both Microsoft and Pearson Vue are experiencing longer than expected response times, so we appreciate your patience as we work to handle all inquiries as quickly as possible!

This is an unprecedented time for all of us and we are committed to supporting your learning journey as the global situation around the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. We will provide regular updates on any program adjustments or changes through our Microsoft Learning blog and Twitter (@MicrosoftLearn). Please stay safe and we appreciate your partnership during this time.

FAQs

Testing center and online proctoring

I need to get certified and exam appointments are being cancelled. What is going on? Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Pearson VUE has been closing many testing centers, following local government recommendations and/or requirements. If a test center closes, all associated exam appointments are automatically cancelled. If you want to reschedule or cancel an exam, you can do so via the certification dashboard or by contacting Pearson VUE support. Stay up to date with current testing availability information from Pearson Vue.

If my exam is cancelled by Pearson VUE, can I get a refund? What happens if I used an exam voucher to schedule my exam? If your exam appointment was cancelled by Pearson VUE you should be issued a refund. If you used an exam voucher, your voucher should be reinstated automatically, and you can use it again to schedule another exam. If you do not receive a refund or are unable to redeem your voucher, please contact Pearson VUE support.

Where can I learn more about Pearson VUE online-proctored exams? For more information about Pearson VUE online proctored exams, visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/learn/certifications/online-exams.

Where do I go to get the latest updates on testing center availability? Stay up to date with current testing availability information from Pearson Vue.

Reschedule and cancellation policy

What is the new reschedule and cancellation policy We have implemented a temporary policy to waive any reschedule and cancellation fees if you reschedule or cancel at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled exam appointment.

If an exam appointment is not rescheduled or cancelled at least 24 hours prior, what happens If an exam is cancelled or rescheduled with less than 24 hours' notice, you forfeit the entire exam fee. We strongly encourage candidates to reschedule or cancel as soon possible so their appointment spot can be given to someone else. More information on the revised reschedule and cancellation policy can be found on the Exam Policies page.

How do I reschedule or cancel an existing exam appointment? You can reschedule or cancel existing exams appointments through the certification dashboard or by contacting Pearson VUE Support. Please note that currently customer service wait-times are longer than usual.

Certification and exam extensions

My role-based certification is set to expire between now and December 31, 2020. What do I need to do? There is no action required on your part. If your role-based certification is expiring between now and December 31, 2020, it will automatically be extended for six months. You can view the update in their certification dashboard within 30 days of the public announcement.

Do these updates impact the MCSA, MCSD, MCSE retirement announcement made on February 27, 2020? Yes, we are extending the retirement date for these certifications and exams to January 31, 2021.