NC Students, Teachers Top 300,000 Microsoft Certifications

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NCDPI News Release

For immediate release

Oct. 5, 2017

NC Students, Teachers Earn 300,000-Plus Microsoft Certifications

North Carolina students and teachers have earned more than 300,000 professional certifications through the state’s Microsoft Imagine Academy, launched seven years ago as the Microsoft IT Academy. State education leaders today joined teachers, students, legislators and others in celebrating this milestone at the State Board of Education meeting in Raleigh.

Nine of thirty-six North Carolina high school students who earned top honors in the 2016 and 2017 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition also were recognized.

The Microsoft Imagine Academy offers digital access to instructional curriculum and certifications that enable students to learn productivity applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access, as well as the fundamental skills necessary in the studies of computer science and information technology infrastructure. North Carolina’s statewide Microsoft IT Academy was the first the nation and remainl one of the largest in the world. The Department of Public Instruction created the framework for the academy and provided the funding for the implementation so that all public high schools in the state could have access to the content. The first programs were available to select schools in the fall of 2010 as a pilot program. 


DPI’s involvement has also ensured that the curriculum materials and supporting resources are aligned with the credential standards, appropriate for high school students, and engaging instructional activities.

Because the academy includes computer-based instruction in addition to traditional instruction, students can take advantage of a variety of options to complete the programs at their own pace, both in the classroom and at home. Students have the opportunity to earn various Microsoft certifications by completing the Microsoft Imagine Academy coursework and passing the aligned certification exams. Faculty and staff have access to professional development learning plans and also have the opportunity to earn industry credentials through the program.

“The state of North Carolina has demonstrated, once again, their unrivaled leadership in delivering real world career and technical education options for their students,” said Aaron Osmond, vice president of the global Certiport offering for Pearson VUE, a certification exam provider. “Microsoft certification is more than a piece of paper – it gives students tangible proof they have real-world Microsoft skills that employers are seeking.”

In addition to celebrating the 300,000-certification milestone, 36 North Carolina high school students were recognized for placing as the top three finishers in six different categories of the 2017 NC Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) competition.

Three North Carolina students from Green Hope High School in Wake County were recognized at the Certiport 2017 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship held in Orlando, Fla., this past June.  Dheya Madhani placed first in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016, Forrest Liu placed first in Microsoft Word 2013 and Ryan Catalfu placed third in Microsoft Excel 2016. Dheya and Forrest went on to compete at the worldwide championships in Anaheim, Calif., later in the summer and placed in their respective divisions as follows: Dheya Madhani placed second in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 and Forrest Liu placed fourth in Microsoft Word 2013.  In addition, Ryan Catalfu was recognized as the first-ever student ambassador for the Certiport worldwide competition.

These 36 high school students earned top honors in the statewide 2017 NC MOS competition:

fall qualifiersspring qualifiers

North Carolina students have an impressive track record in these competitions over the past few years with 16 students placing among the winners in the national competition with several placing in the top 10 and one finishing in first place worldwide.

North Carolina first piloted the Microsoft IT Academy in high schools in 29 counties during the fall semester of 2010­-11. Students and teachers earned 8,227 certifications in the first year.  Since then, the number of certifications has increased every year and is on track to do the same this year.


The Career and Technical Education courses in which students may obtain certifications include: