In order to get a certification from Microsoft, you will need to pass a Microsoft proctored exam. These exams typically cost around $100 each, which can be very costly for students and beginners just starting to work on their certifications. Here are some methods on how to get free Microsoft certifications.
1. Attend a Microsoft Virtual Training Day
Microsoft offers virtual training days, which are one or two day sessions led by a Microsoft expert. Not only do you get to learn about the latest Microsoft tools and technology, typically attending one of these sessions will give you a voucher to take a Microsoft certification exam for free! Be sure to register well in advance as these sessions fill up fast, although Microsoft offers many sessions throughout the year on a variety of topics. When registering, look for text saying the exact exam that you will be able to take for free upon completing the training. Remember, if no exam is listed then you will not receive an exam voucher.
2. Participate in a Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge
Once a year (example from 2021) Microsoft hosts an event called the Microsoft Ignite Cloud Skills Challenge. All participants will receive a free certification exam, regardless of how they did during the challenge. Be sure to register to claim your free exam.
3. See if your Employer is Participating in the Enterprise Skills Initiative
You might be able to get free Microsoft certifications from your employer through the Enterprise Skills Initiative. Check with your employer if they are participating. If so, you will be able to login to the Enterprise Skills Initiative portal with your work account and access free Microsoft certification exams.