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15 Best Free Online Certifications, Courses And Trainings

Online education? That’s right, it’s been around for some time already, so you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunities anymore. This extensive research hopefully helps you get inspired by the opportunities out there. Enjoy the content!

There are numerous free certifications online that you can get completely free of charge. Several great courses and online websites offer online certified training in a variety of fields. 

Whether you need to improve your Microsoft Excel and Outlook skills for a job, or need to learn basic coding to apply for an internal position within your organization, there’s a course for that! 

With numerous online courses that offer certification, which ones are the best for you to consider investing your time, energy, and resources into?

There are several great sites that offer free online certifications. Among these sites are

  • Coursera.com
  • edx.com
  • Alison.com
  • Codecademy
  • Udemy.com
  • General Assembly and MIT OpenCourseWare, just to name a few.

Here I’ll highlight a few of the best courses you might want to consider enrolling in, based upon the area of study you’d like to receive your free online certified training. 

Bear in mind that many of these courses are free. Several also offer the option to obtain additional certifications online free of charge. These are 100%, no strings attached programs you might want to look into if you’re interested in bolstering your skills section on your resume!

Programming

If you work in the field of programming or would like to get into the field, there are several great free certifications online available to help you get started on your journey. 

In some cases, adding new skill sets to your resume can help you land the perfect promotion. Or, if you’re thinking about going to school full time for programming, but aren’t 100% sure. 

This list of courses can help you navigate your way through some areas of focus you’d be learning, to help you decide if you want to enroll in college full time or not.

1. CS50 Introduction to Computer Science (Harvard)

Who doesn’t want a degree from Harvard? Okay, it’s not a degree, but it’s a free course in programming. The intro course teaches students how to think algorithmically. You’ll learn languages including

  • Python
  • SQL
  • Plus CSS
  • JavaScript and more

Students learn

  • Complex algorithms, data structures, software engineering, web development, and other essential tools in programming
  • Different programming languages
  • HTML, secure sites, and how to implement various security parameters when developing sites

The course is taught by Harvard instructors, as well.

It utilizes real-world domains of biology, finance, forensics, and gaming, to teach students the importance of coding and how it’s utilized in design. 

Students must earn a satisfactory score of 9 on the problem sets to be eligible for certification. The course is 100% free and is 10 weeks in duration, allowing students to set their own learning pace. 

It is free, but a Printed HarvardX certification is available at the conclusion of the course if students wish to pay a $49 fee for the printed document. Otherwise, it is available for download online.

2. Programming for Everybody: Introduction to Python (University of Michigan)

Learn Python with simple instructions in this first out of five available courses through the University of Michigan, which are 100% online and free of charge. There are no prerequisites for the course, and only basic math is required to learn Python through online instruction. Here you’ll learn

  • The basics of Python language
  • How to install Python and write your first program
  • How to utilize core programming tools
  • How to use variables to store and retrieve information

The course focuses on Python syntax and semantics and the basic programming language utilized by Python developers. It’s available in multiple languages, including English, German, Chinese, and Korean. It’s a total of 12 hours to complete this first series in a series of five total basic python programming courses.

It features graded quizzes and instruction, and you can download your certification free of charge after completion to share on LinkedIn or other social networks.

3. This is How you Make iPhone Apps (iOS Development Course)

This tutorial includes 4.5 hours of on-demand video, 9 downloadable course materials, full-time access, and access on mobile or TV. It teaches the basics of C-language programming to create iOS apps for iPhones and Apple products. Students will receive free iOS tutorials, Apple iStore tutorials, and tools and techniques to list their new apps on the Apple Store.

You’ll learn the basics of coding, and how to write code necessary to develop more advanced apps. A software development kit helps students learn the basics of the programming language and testing the app before setting it up for download in the Apple store. You’ll learn the basics of

  • Project creation
  • Every line of coding essential to app development
  • How to test the app
  • How to set your app up for purchase or free download online. 

In 23 lectures, the course material is about 4.5 hours in duration, and students can go at their own pace. It is 100% online for self-guided learning.

Design

Graphic design can be extremely lucrative. With the right credentials, experience with coding, and a general understanding of different types of design and graphic work, you can really enhance your career. With certifications online, which are free of charge, you can get into the field with an entry-level position and grow as you gain experience on the job.

4. Adobe Certification

Adobe offers a wide variety of certification programs. Though it seems as of late that they are either updating the exams or getting rid of them. Either way, if you are interested in getting an Adobe certification, do check out the link provided.

Some of the training you can expect to get

  • Image manipulation
  • Photo retouching
  • Guides students how to use Adobe’s expansive set of online tools
  • Vector design
  • Layout design, etc.

5. Graphic Design Specialization

This is a four-course sequence that teaches you the fundamental skills which are required to create unique, sophisticated graphic designs online. You’ll learn the historical context of design, processes, communication, typography, and image-making skills. 

You will also have a capstone project at the end of the course, bringing all the skills you learned together to create a graphic design piece for a client.

The course focuses on

  • Communication through typography
  • A capstone project to add to your portfolio
  • Motions, graphics, editorial design
  • Visual and branding communication
  • Art history

This beginner-level course takes approximately six months to complete. It is available in Serbian, Spanish, and English and is free of charge. It is 100% online so students can go at their own pace.

6. Fundamentals of Graphic Design

The course teaches the fundamentals of graphic design including

  • Image creation
  • Typography
  • Composition
  • Working with color and shapes
  • And foundational skills in graphic design

Practical projects are given to students so they can utilize the skills they learn in design, and they’ll have access to Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign, to ensure they’re getting a grasp of the basic function of all these design software.

Basic teachings include

  • The fundamentals of using color, rhythm, and pattern
  • Learning techniques of image-making
  • Typeset text and how to use scale, weight, and design in composition

The course will take about 14 hours to complete, and is one in a series of five beginner graphic design courses. It’s entirely free and available in English and Spanish.

Online Marketing

Marketing has a number of viable careers for business professionals. Whether you’re already in the field of business, looking to transition into marketing, or simply want to bolster your credentials or learn new materials if you have a degree that’s 20+ years old, these are some online certified courses you might want to look into.

7. Diploma in Web Business Development and Marketing

This course guides you through the initial steps of setting up a great website to market to their audience. It helps you choose a web hosting company, design, proper themes and templates, and user-friendly mobile and desktop design. 

Students will learn how to

  • Setup CSS sheets
  • Code HTML
  • Create mobile and desktop designs
  • Create affiliate marketing and email marketing campaigns
  • Build a business and increase online traffic
  • Focus on SEO (search engine optimization) and monetization of a website

The course length is 10 to 15 hours in duration and includes assessments so students can track their progress. Certification is available at the conclusion of the course, which is printable through the Alison Dashboard.

8. Marketing in a Digital World (University of Illinois)

This is one in a series of seven free digital marketing courses offered in the series. This course focuses on how digital tools are revolutionizing the world of marketing. Smartphones, AI, 3D printing, and the internet have changed the way businesses market. The course focuses on these, and other manners in which marketing has changed course in recent years.

There’s a focus on how the internet has shifted marketing from companies to consumers, who have more power given the digital tools at their fingertips today. Some of the areas of focus in this course are

  • Marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Creating a powerful marketing mix
  • Pricing strategies
  • Utilizing the right technologies to reach audiences

The course is 100% online so students can go at their own pace, and it’s free. It will require a total dedication of about 29 hours to complete all training modules. It includes quizzes, shareable certificates, graded assignments with professor feedback, and more.

9. Getting Started with Google Analytics

This course teaches you how to learn to start tracking conversion rates, and essential data you’ll need to improve those rates. You’ll learn the basics required to turbocharge your website and improve online site ranking.

Students will receive

  • Step by step instructions to begin with Google Analytics
  • Advice on how to implement Analytics for their website’s needs
  • Learn which reports are most important and how to use the information strategically
  • Learn how to translate raw data into actionable results

The free tutorial includes

  • 1.5 hours on-demand video and 1.5 hours on-demand audio
  • 3 articles and 3 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access, access on mobile devices

You’ll also receive a certificate of completion free of charge.

Learning a New Language

Want to travel? Is there an opening in your current company that pays a higher salary if you are conversational/fluent in a second language? Consider some of these online certified programs to help you learn a new language and get that immediate raise.

10. Basic Mandarin Chinese – Level I

This course isn’t available year-round, so you’ll have to check for availability when choosing this language learning course. It’s one of six courses designed to teach you how to speak Mandarin. The language skills you’ll learn will allow you to eat, find accommodations, transportation, and communicate on a peripheral language in Mandarin-speaking nations.

You’ll learn

  • Basic spoken Mandarin phrases used in everyday conversation
  • How to properly interject “tone” when speaking
  • Learn a greater insight into Chinese culture and pop culture

The course is six weeks long, and students should dedicate about 4 hours each week. It’s free; however, there is the option to request certification for $49 once you complete the course. Video transcripts and written instruction are utilized in teaching Mandarin to beginners.

Entrepreneurship

Always dreamt of opening your own business but did not know where to begin? You’re not alone. There are several great courses you can enroll in which will help you develop your skills, communication skills, and help you develop your business motto a little bit better, so you can easily sell your idea to investors if you need funding to get the ball rolling.

11. New Venture Finance: Startup Funding for Entrepreneurs

Want to learn how to secure funding for your business venture? This course is geared to teaching you how to do just that. You’ll examine available financing options, learn the basics of valuations and finance, dilution, and non-dilutive funding. You’ll learn how to deliver winning pitches to investors and avoid common pitfalls in pitching your new business venture.

The course focuses on

  • When you should raise outside capital
  • What kind of investors to turn to
  • What your fundraising options are
  • How to pitch investors and how to secure funding

This is the third course in a series of four, which are totally free and offered 100% online. It is recommended to dedicate 3 to 5 hours weekly to complete the 14-hour course.

12. Competitive Strategy

This is a six-module course to teach students how businesses and organizations behave in situations where strategic decisions depend on other decisions/factors. You’ll learn how to act in situations where your efforts/strategies are going to affect profit margins and pricing strategies that your competitors implement. So, you’ll learn how to navigate the market when competing in your new industry/niche.

The modules utilize the basic tools of game theory, which evaluates how businesses choose strategies they engage in, to outdo their competitors. It teaches businesses how to gain a competitive advantage in a crowded, highly specialized niche. Skills you’ll learn in this program include

  • Game theory
  • Strategic management
  • Strategic thinking
  • Competition
  • Economics
  • Supply/demand

This is one of four courses available in this series and is 100% free, 100% online. It will take approximately 17 hours to complete, and there are a total of 10 quizzes that you’ll complete throughout the different areas of focus in the course. This course is offered in English, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Spanish.

Writing

Writing can help you in many career fields. Writing proposal letters, tailoring the perfect business email, marketing communications, or just writing online material for a website, are some of the many areas you’ll utilize your writing skills. If you’re in need of some guidance, online certified training can help you bolster your capabilities.

13. High Impact Business Writing

Learning how to write compelling, well-laid-out business documents is essential to a company’s success. This course will teach students to learn how to articulate their thoughts in a cohesive manner. It teaches the importance of concise writing to convey messages to readers effectively. Learning the appropriate formatting, individuals will better deliver business writing and proposals to clients after completing this course.

The course is meant to teach

  • The appropriate format and medium for your respective audience
  • How to correct and avoid common writing pitfalls
  • How to spot errors and analyze writing
  • How to identify your objective when writing for your business audience/reader

Students will also learn how to write business communications to deliver good and bad news effectively. They’ll learn how to edit and proofread business documents, and learn how to write for a global market and international audience.

The course is offered 100% online, free of charge. It is one in a series of specializations in business writing that students can complete. It’s offered in

  • English
  • Vietnamese
  • Spanish
  • Russian

It requires approximately six hours to complete and features webinars, videos, reading passages, and quizzes.

Communication

You need to communicate every day. Regardless of the industry or line of work you’re in, you’re communicating. Working with dispatchers, calling suppliers, ordering inventory, or calling customers to let them know you have their order ready for pickup, are just a few examples in which communication skills are necessary. There are many certifications online free of charge that can help you improve your skills.

14. Introduction to Public Speaking (University of Washington)

This course is an experimental course taught by the University of Washington (no certification will be awarded). It’s meant to help individuals become more confident, well-rounded speakers in a public setting. It helps students learn the basics behind clear communication and teaches unique traits and differences between oral and written communications.

Students will learn how to

  • Design and deliver arguments clearly
  • Deliver informative presentations clearly
  • Persuasively deliver complex information
  • Learn to speak confidently with proper projections, body language, movement, and vocal variety

This is a 10-week course, in which students will dedicate 3 to 5 hours weekly. It is free to audit the program, and currently is being taught as a test course, so no certification is available.

15. Communicating Strategically (Purdue University)

This course is meant to help improving communication skills and help individuals become effective at presentations to large groups. It’s specifically geared to scientists, engineers, and business professionals, and the educational training can be guided to any professional communication/presentation setting.

It’s a five-week refresher course geared to help

  • Scientists, engineers, and other tech professionals (the bright minds who have a hard time conveying thoughts to the layperson)
  • Tips for effective communication with non-scientists
  • Useful communication tactics and non-verbal cues
  • Helps experts teach materials to those who aren’t “experts” in the field

The course is official and verified by Purdue University. It is taught 100% online and is five weeks in duration. Students can go at their own pace, and it’s suggested that students dedicate 4 to 6 hours weekly on the course materials. The course itself is free, but those who want a verified (printed) certificate can request one for a fee of $49.

A final note

There are countless hours of free online courses you can enroll in. Whether you want to learn one of these skills, or the basics of creative writing, there are free courses out there you can enroll in. 

With these self-guided, online instructions, you can take your time and go at your own pace. Additionally, you can find certification from some of the top universities in the country, including Harvard, Purdue, Yale, and more.

So, whether it’s bolstering your CV, adding new skills to LinkedIn, or learning something you never had the opportunity to learn before entering the working world, these are a few of the many free certifications online that you can complete. 

Don’t limit yourself to these areas of focus, or to one course. Improve your skills, hone in on areas you need to improve upon and gain new world insights through these programs/courses taught by leading professors and specialists in the US and from institutions around the world.

While some courses might be archived or future dates to be announced, do take these as recommendations and as inspiration and look for alternatives if you got inspired.

While some courses offer you a certification in exchange for a small fee, I would say that paying a small $50 fee for a certificate is still a small price to be paid.

Coursera.com, as well as Udemy, offers you a lot of options when it comes to courses that give you a certification. While some of these are not accredited ones, I would say, do check the Coursera.com a bit more, and you can find plenty of accredited certification courses.

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