Are you looking for the best free online courses websites with certificates? Look no further because you are at the right place. Some online certificates are completely free, some come with hidden charges, while some have their price tags clearly stated on them in order to guide your decisions. In some cases, the course providers do not make their free courses completely free; they attach the prices to the certificates. In this case, you would be forced to purchase the certificates after taking the courses. Interestingly, the certificates cost between $20 – $300, depending on the course of its provider, as well as whether you want the digital copy emailed to you or a hard copy sent to your doorstep via post.
If you are looking for the best online courses that will cost you nothing, except your time and commitment, we have compiled them here for you. They are not just free, they also offer free, printable certificates. You would not need to pay any hidden charges anywhere. All that is required of you is to come and learn!
Below are the top 10 best websites for free online courses with free certificates:
- Linkedin formerly Lynda (Lynda.com)
This is the largest online course with a variety of courses. Linkedin offers a one-month free trial with more than 13 000 available courses and free certificates attached to them. They are also one of the topmost reliable and well-grounded online learning platforms. They cover all the basics with a catalogue of video courses to deliver their lectures. They also deliver their courses with quizzes and interactive sessions.
Furthermore, their courses are taught by top industry professionals with their courses thoroughly vetted before releasing them for teaching. Therefore, students learn with the confidence that they are getting reliable and relevant information from the platform. There are also apps available on Android and iOS for learning on the go.
At the commencement of the course, Linkedin offers a month-free trial which means you can learn for one month without any charges. You are also entitled to free, printable certificates for the online course.
Available courses at Linkedin include:
- Cloud Computing
- Data Science
- Finance and Accounting
- De vOps
- Animation and Illustration
- Audio and Music
- Web Software Development
- Graphic Design
- Business Strategy
- Project Management
- Video / Photo Editing
- Mobile App Development
- HTM / JAVA / SQL
- Leadership Management
Alison is great at IT, Science and Coding. Not just that, they offer free courses that are not below 1000. However, some certificates are made free for some courses, while others go for a fee. This online learning platform has over 13 million students committed to learning, with over 2 million graduates. Alison does not actually create their own course, rather they operate as a platform that organises free courses and made available to their learners.
The only problem with Alison is that some of their courses are in written contents only, with no video or downloadable apps for smartphone users. So, if you are someone who does not mind the format the courses are provided, you can give it a try, as long as you can absorb their lectures.
Alison certificates are downloadable and printable, though not all are free. In case you wish to receive a hard copy version of the certificates, there is a price for that. The good news is that you will always be mailed your copy whenever you request it.
The categories of some of the courses provided by Alison include:
- Web Development, and so on.
- Microsoft Learning
Microsoft learning is great for Microsoft related jobs. The courses offered at the platform are above 30 and the certificates are free for some courses, while others are not free. Those who want to acquire more upgraded skills, with more job prospects are encouraged to give this online learning platform a try. Though Microsoft Learn focuses more on Microsoft products, systems and software, with most of the courses revolving around Azure and Dynamics 365. They offer varied courses for both beginners and advanced users.
The Microsoft certificates are accredited and recognized by employers. With the accreditation, you can seek digital nomad jobs if you wish to work while on transit. Other courses available by Microsoft Learning include:
- AI Engineering
- Business Analysis
- Business US
- Data Engineering
- Functional Consulting
- Solution Architect
- Web Developing
Udemy is great for Marketing and Design. There are about 823 available courses at Udemy with free certificates for all the courses. It does not just provide free courses, there are free videos available for individual courses. The certificates are also downloadable and printable and are offered upon the completion of your course.
The tutors of Udemy are also vetted so as to ensure the learning materials are accurate and reliable. Some of the available courses at Udemy include:
- Digital marketing
- Spanish Language
- Social Media Marketing
- Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Premiere Pro
- Graphic Design
- Mobile Developing
- Final Cut Pro, and so on
- Oxford Home Study
Oxford Home Study is great for Management with 15 available courses. The courses are free with free certificates for all the courses. The platform is known for diploma distance educational courses, as well as free online courses. There are other hundreds of courses available, but they come at a fee.
All you need to do is to sign up and learn any of their available 15 courses, after which you will receive a certificate upon completion. The courses include:
- Business Management
- Customer Service
- Construction Management
- Fashion Design
- Hotel Management
- Internet Marketing
- Project Management
- Risk Management
- Starting a Business
- Supply Chain Management
- Tourism and Travel
- Open Learning
Open Learning provides both free and paid courses. The available courses are above 1 300 with certificates included for some courses. It is noteworthy that the platform is relatively new, though one of the most popular for the past three years. More than one million people have used the Open Learning platform since its inception. They operate almost the same way as Alison. They offer a catalogue of courses from universities, colleges and some online learning platforms.
The free certificates offered by Open Learning is dependent on the course provider. Some course providers made their certificates free, while others attach a certain sum to them. Another point is that it is left for the learner to search through the collection of courses to know which ones have free or paid certificates.
Some of the free online courses offered by Open Learning include:
- Understanding Coffee
- Growing Global Business
- AR & VR
Pluralsight is great for developers. They offer a 10-day free trial for their courses worth over 1 400. All courses come with free certificates as well. Certificates are offered to users via email once they complete their course. If you are able to complete the course within the 10-day trial period, you won’t have to pay a dime for it.
Pluralsight employs the services of the best mentors and teachers to handle their courses. In addition, it has partnered with some largest companies in the world like Google, Oracle, Unity, Adobe, as well as Microsoft in delivering their courses.
Available courses at Pluralsight include:
- Microsoft Azure
- IT Networking
- Malware Analysis
- Cloud Computing
- Cyber Security
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Machine Learning
- Software Development, and so on
- Free Code Camp
There are also thousands of free videos, articles and interactive sessions at this online learning platform. As your assignment, you will be required to code websites and software for non-profit organisations. Examinations are also undertaken by students before they are qualified to obtain their certificates. You can see that you will gain experience while you are taking the course. This is a great reason to rush to Free Code Camp.
Some of the courses you can get at the platform include:
- Responsive Web Design
- Algorithms and Data Structure
- Information Security and Quality Assurance
- Data Visualisation
- Front End Libraries
- APIs and Microservices, and so on.
- Google Digital Garage
The platform is great for Digital Marketing students. There are 100 available free courses, with free certificates for some and paid certificates for others. Google is not just a platform for searching just anything, it also has a platform for online learning.
The beautiful aspect of it is that most of the courses come at no price including free certificates. That is not all, there are free videos on the learning platform with unlimited access and no time limit. This means that you can learn at any time you choose.
The courses come with interactive sessions and learners are engaged throughout the learning period. Upon completion, you will be offered an accredited Google certificate that is downloadable. This is great for your resume or CV. The categories of available courses include:
- Digital Marketing
- Business Security
- Social Psychology
- Big Data
- Machine Learning
- Business Communication
- Artificial Intelligence, and so on.
- Facebook Blueprint
This is a Digital Marketing course with Facebook. It has about 400 free courses with free certificates offered at the end of the examination. Those using Facebook have a lot to benefit from this platform. You do not just take this course, you are required to take an examination as a proof of participation, as well as showcasing that you understood the course properly.
The examinations are 5 in total and have areas of specialization like API integration, technical implementations, pixel ads, campaign management, and others. Once the courses are completed and examinations passed, the students are offered the Facebook Blueprint certification. Those that can participate in this great offer include freelancers, social media marketers, digital agencies, as well as those who seek new jobs.
Reasons Why You Need Online Courses and the Certification
There are so many reasons everyone is encouraged to take an online certification. The job market is already saturated and competitive, the reason you need to have an edge over your competitor. You can also use those skills to make money from your phone. Enrolling in an online certificate course will help you achieve that dream, especially for the fact that you may not have the chance to enrol in an offline class due to tight schedule, and the surging pandemic in an extreme case.
Still wondering why you should acquire an online certificate? The following reasons will be more convincing factors.
- It will give you an edge over your counterparts
Landing a job can be a difficult prospect, especially in countries where ‘knowing someone’ is a top criterion. Acquiring a certificate can help to boost your resume as well as place you on a higher pedestal than those vying for the same position. With the skills and the certificate, your chances of getting a job are more enhanced and appealing.
Furthermore, online certificates are quite cheaper and affordable, the reason you should not hesitate to grab the opportunity to boost your resume. You could acquire the skills as a part of your degree course or just to upgrade your knowledge. They are not actually to replace your degree certificate but to learn new skills in order to improve your knowledge and chances of landing a dream job. More so, you will have an edge over those who lack the skills.
- You will be in charge of your schedule
In a traditional setting, learning is based on a scheduled time and everyone is expected to be present at that time; if not, you will miss the class. Another painful part? No professor will repeat the class for your sake!
However, this disadvantage is dealt with if you enrol in an online class. You will have the flexibility of choosing the time you want to learn and how to schedule it to favour every other factor. Those who were traditionally disadvantaged due to distance and other factors can now gain access to study the same course at their own time and pace. Assuming you are a parent, you can now schedule your time when your children are asleep or have gone out. You can also learn on transit; while commuting to an important place, you can sign in to your class and learn. You can see that all barriers are shattered with the emergence of online learning platforms.
- You will acquire a lifelong knowledge
There is no age limit to learning and the day you stop learning; you will start deteriorating. Knowledge and acquisition of new skills will keep you relevant all the days of your life, as long as you keep putting them into action. There are changes that pop up each day in the work environment. People are losing their jobs, while others are landing better jobs. Yet, many are changing their jobs. This is due to the nature of jobs cropping up in this recent time.
The only way you cannot be kicked out of the job market is by learning a relevant skill that will help you to manoeuvre the emanating changes. The problem with some jobs is that the employees do not have the time to enrol in a class. With an online class, you do not have any issues with that because you can learn while working. So, you don’t have any excuses again.
- You will enhance your professional development
It will not be a bad idea to check with your employer to find out the skills that will be needed to stay relevant in your workplace. Getting a certificate prior to the time it is needed will help you to get prepared ahead. It will also help you to easily switch jobs, assuming your current one is gradually becoming obsolete.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind Before You Apply for an Online Course
It is not just about acquiring a certificate; there are some certificates that are not relevant to you. It will be great if you can understand the reason for acquiring that certificate before embarking on the project so as not to waste your time, money and effort doing the wrong thing. So, before you apply for the course, you will need to do some self-assessment and the following will be very helpful to you.
- You will need to know your educational and career goals
Understand the trends in your industry and the expectations of your employer, as well as the probable acceptance of the certificate before you embark on the journey. Unless you want to learn the course for learning sake, otherwise, you don’t need a course that does not align with your educational and career goals.
- You will need to find out if the school or course is accredited
Find out additional information about the school or online platform you are registering for their course. There are some certificates that are not relevant in the marketplace or widely accepted by employers. There is a need to be sure the certificate you want to acquire is very much valuable in the marketplace so as not to end up regretting committing your money to it.
- Know the available options
There are so many choices available to you with so many students enrolling for the online courses. Don’t just go for any one of your interest, ensure you identify multiple schools and programs that are offering the courses. This will give you a list of available options. Compare them in terms of affordability, accreditation, academic preparations, marketability, support services, program requirements, and so on. Don’t forget to focus on your future goals to be certain they align with the relevance of the course you are opting for.
- You will need to know the difference between a certificate and certification
You could use the two terms synonymously without committing any blunder. But from the academic and employment points of view, you may be wrong. So, do well to understand their meanings and know what you are going for. Certifications always require additional assessment, whereas, a certificate programme could be helpful in obtaining certification. Though it is not always so. The main thing is to know what you are committing your time and money to.
Do Certificates from Online Courses Have Values?
There has been a controversy surrounding this question. Some people prefer offering certification through an offline institute than through an online institute. Others believe that online courses have the same value as traditional learning.
However, both schools of thought are correct depending on their perceptions. The value of your online program is dependent on the institute offering the course and the courses offered. If the course is not legally recognised, your certificate may not count in the job market, though the skills obtained are relevant. The courses you are registering for should be internationally accredited in order to have weight in the job market.
Furthermore, if what you are just looking for is value, the quality of the certificate may not count. Online courses, as we earlier pointed out, improve one’s chances of getting a job due to the skills obtained. They would mostly qualify as skill enhancement courses. Changes in the job market, technology and regulatory compliance are seriously requiring that one should acquire new skills as often as possible in order to stay relevant in the job market.
Getting a certificate should not be your goal of taking an online course. Your major goal should be the impact of the course on your life and career. Certificates are not a mark of excellence, skills supersede them. However, you should bear in mind that you are not going to an interviewer on simply goodwill. An evidence that you took part in the course is very important and you can also use those skills to earn money online.
There are some people who cannot afford the expenses of studying in big institutions. Online courses have bridged the gap and you can achieve whatever you wish to through them. acquiring a certificate is also very important, just to back up your claims.