Learn About the Microsoft Certification Program


NOTICE: Microsoft has a cancellation policy that requires a learner pay a deposit before taking any exams if the learner has failed to attend three scheduled exams during the previous 180 days. Learn more...


Microsoft offers exams and certifications through its Enterprise Skills Initiative (ESI) that allow participants to advance, promote, and validate their knowledge of Microsoft and Azure technologies with accredited certifications.

Normally, these credits can cost $99 or more. For a limited time, Microsoft is offering courses and exams for earning Microsoft Certifications at no cost to Pitt students and half off for Pitt IT Staff. Available certifications include many Microsoft technologies and tools, such as Azure, Office, Teams, and Windows.

The number of free Microsoft Certifications is limited and they are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

How to Register for Free Certifications as a Pitt Student

Pitt students can use Microsoft certifications to learn digital basics, as well as skills in data, AI, and cloud technologies. Register for certifications or learn more on the Microsoft website.

How to Register for 50% Discounted Certifications as Pitt IT Staff

Please have the following items ready to ensure a smooth and successfull sign-up process:

  1. Your @pitt.edu email information
  2. Microsoft Edge or Explorer (one of these browsers is required to access some courses and exams).
  3. One of the options below:
    • An email address that can be used for creating a new Microsoft account (it can be a personal email address or your @pitt.edu email address)
    • An existing Microsoft account that uses your personal email address (if you already have one)

How to Schedule an Exam

Once you have your required items ready, you will be ready to schedule an exam. First, access the ESI website.

  1. Visit the ESI website
  2. Click Sign in now
  3. Enter your @pitt.edu email and click Next

Next, find the Scheduling block and move through the steps of selecting an exam, creating a dedicated certification account, and scheduling your exam.

1. Click Schedule under Microsoft Certifications.

Microsoft Certification Block

2. Find your desired topic and click Get Started.

3. On the next screen, view certification requirements, Learning paths, and options for scheduling your certification exam.

4. Scroll down the page until you see Schedule or Schedule with Pearson VUE (One of the two options will be available). Note, ignore the fee associated with your exam. You will not be charged as a member of Pitt IT.

ESI Certification Exams

You will be asked to sign in or create a new Microsoft account. If you have an existing Microsoft account, use it to sign in. If you do not currently have a personal Microsoft account, create a new account with your personal information and your personal email address or your @pitt.edu email address. Follow the screen prompts and complete the required fields until you are told that you successfully created your account.

Once you have a Microsoft account, you should see your Certification Profile account.

Certification Profile

You should now have two accounts:

  • The Microsoft ESI account that grants you access to the portal via your @pitt.edu email address
  • Your personal Microsoft account (this account existed before this process or you just created it with the steps above)

Next, you will use your personal Microsoft account to schedule your exam.

5. Scroll to the bottom of your Certification Profile.

6. Agree to the Terms & Conditions and select your email marketing preferences.

7. Click Continue.

If you have already linked your two accounts, you will see the option to claim a 50% Pitt employee discount.

If you have not linked your two accounts, you will not see the discount option. You will see that you have no available discounts and that you can check for discounts with an email address.

ESI Dashboard with no available discounts

8. Enter your @pitt.edu email address (the same one used to initially access the ESI portal) in the lower white box that asks for your email.

9. Click Check Eligibility.

10. A popup will appear asking to link your accounts. Ensure the correct two accounts are listed (they should be the same two accounts we have used up to this point).

11. Click Agree.

ESI Dashboard to link accounts

12. A new popup will appear telling you that your accounts were successfully linked.

13. Click OK.

14. You should now see the option to claim the discount. Click Claim. The button will then appear as gray and read as "Claimed."

15. Click Schedule exam.

At this point, you should have both Microsoft accounts created and linked. You will now have the option of selecting how and where you take the exam. The following steps outline how to schedule a remote certification exam.

16. Click OnVue: Online at my home or office.

17. Review the important preparations listed on your screen.

18. Click Next.

ESI VUE selection options

19. Select language. Click Next.

20. Agree to exam and Microsoft policies by checking the appropriate boxes. Click Agree.

21. Select proctor language. Click Next.

22. Select Date and Time for the exam

23. On the next screen, review your cart and verify all of the information is correct and that your discount is applied at the bottom of the page. Your Estimated Total Due should be half of the exam price.

ESI checkout cart screen

24. Click Proceed to Checkout.

25. Your next page will be titled, "Enter payment and billing." Again, your total due amount should be half of the exam price. Click Next.

26. Verify all of your details once more.

27. Click Submit Order.

Once you have successfully scheduled your exam, you will receive two emails:

  1. A payment invoice from Pearson VUE (with zero cost to you as a Pitt member)
  2. A Microsoft Certification Exam Scheduled confirmation email

Exam Cancellation Policy

Effective May 30, 2022, if a learner fails to attend three scheduled exams within 180 days, they will be asked to pay a deposit for any subsequent exams. Upon completion of subsequent exams (at the scheduled times), the deposit will be refunded (within five to seven business days).The exam deposit will be up to $99 (a credit card will be required and the price may vary per country).

Learners can reschedule or cancel exams in cases of unexpected scheduling conflicts at aka.ms/examreschedule. Learners can avoid forfeiting their deposits by canceling 24 hours or more before scheduled exam appointments.



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Article ID: 411
Tue 8/22/23 11:52 AM
Wed 4/3/24 9:55 AM

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