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17 Best Free Online Courses & Certificates

Best Free Online Courses

17 Best Free Online Courses & Certificates

Are you seeking out the best free online courses with printable certificates? Well, you’re in the right place!

And when I say free, I really mean it. These online courses won’t cost you a single penny. Nada. Zilch. Zero!

On top of that, I have also included providers that actually include a free printable certificate upon completion. No nasty hidden paywalls the hold the certificate as ransom.

17 Best Free Online Courses & Certificates

Also in this guide, you will find online courses for almost every industry from IT, management, business, design, HR, programming, fashion design plus 100’s more!

Read This Before Choosing…
While many guides and platforms out there quote “free courses and certificates”, this isn’t always the case.

In many instances, providers will hide the certification behind a paywall, which forces users to buy the certificate once they have completed the “free course”.

These certificates generally cost between $20 – $300 depending on the provider, and whether or not you want to be emailed a digital copy for printing, or receive one in the mail.

Fortunately, there some fantastic online course providers that provide both the free courses and a free certificate! Stay tuned!

1. Lynda/ LinkedIn Learning (Largest Range Of Courses)

lynda

  • Price: 1-month free trial
  • Courses available: 13,000+
  • Certification: Free certificates included for all courses ✅

Coming in at the top of my list is Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) which is one of the most well established and trusted online course providers.

Lynda made it into the #1 position because, in my opinion, they cover all the bases. Firstly, Lynda has one of the largest catalogs of online video courses, which is well over 13,000 😱.

Secondly, their courses are taught by vetted industry professionals, so students know they are getting relevant and reliable information.

lynda certificate

When it comes to consuming course content, it is extremely engaging with videos, quizzes, interactive lessons, and more. Lynda also has Android and iOS apps for learning on the go.

As for the price, Lynda/ LinkedIn Learning offers a 1-month free trial with no commitments or upfront cost. Instant win!

During that trial period, users can take any online course and still receive a printable certificate for free. Simply cancel after you’re done! Happy learning!

  • Cloud Computing
  • Data Science
  • DevOps
  • IT
  • Web/ Software Development
  • Business Strategy
  • HR
  • Project Management
  • Marketing
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Animation & Illustration
  • Audio & Music
  • Graphic Design
  • Photography
  • Web Design
  • CAD
  • Video/ Photo Editing
  • Mobile/ App Development
  • HTML/ Java/ SQL
  • WordPress
  • Leadership & Management
  • AEC

2. Udemy (Great For Marketing/ Design)

udemy

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 823
  • Certification: Free certificates included for 823 courses ✅

Next up on my list is another well-established provider by the name of Udemy. While this provider predominantly provides courses for a fee, Udemy also has a great range of free video courses to choose from. 823 to be exact.

As an added bonus of selecting from one of their free online courses, users can also download and print a certificate of completion once done (it is sent via email).

udemy certificate

Much like Lynda, Udemy also vets their tutors to ensure that the best learning material is available for students.

Some of their most beloved course topics that have been taken by millions of students include:

  • Spanish Language
  • Blogging
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Digital Marketing
  • Linux
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Excel
  • Blockchain
  • PowerPoint
  • Python
  • HTML
  • AWS
  • Salesforce
  • Java
  • Dropshipping
  • Premiere Pro 
  • iOS
  • Graphic Design
  • NetDevOps
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Mobile Development
  • Programming 

3. Alison (Great For IT, Science, Coding)

alison

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 1,000
  • Certification: Free certificates included for some courses ✅

Do you know what free online course provider has over 13 million learners, 2 million graduates, and 1,000 courses? Ding, ding, ding! It’s Alison!

Unlike Lynda/ LinkedIn Learning and Udemy who create their own courses, Alison works more as a platform that organizes hundreds of free courses available all over the internet.

Some of their most popular course categories are IT, business, languages, health, humanities, science, marketing, lifestyle, math, design, web development, and many more!

alison diploma certificate

The major downside to Alison however, is that not all of their courses are in video format. They also don’t have a smartphone app for mobile learning either. So depending on how you absorb learning material, this might be a deal-breaker.

As a silver lining, Alison does provide a digital certification of completion (for some courses only) which you can download and print whenever you please. They also provide a paid service for receiving a hard/ digital copy of the certification as well!

4. Google Digital Garage (Best For Digital Marketing)

google digital garage

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 100+
  • Certification: Free certificates included for some courses ✅

While we all use Google on a daily basis, most users don’t realize that Google also has a full-fledged course platform for online learning.

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As for the price… There no none! Most of these Google Digital Garage courses are completely free with included modules, no time limits, unlimited access, and videos.

google digital garage certificate

Once users have completed their chosen course, they will also receive an accrediated Google certificate that can be downloaded and put on a CV or resume.

I have personally taken the “fundamentals of digital marketing course” which is 40 hours of value-packed content. Courses are also quite interactive which keeps users engaged and eager to learn more.

Categories and classes include:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Productivity 
  • Business Security
  • Business Communication
  • Social psychology
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Big Data
  • Machine Learning
  • AI

5. Oxford Home Study (Great For Management)

oxford home study

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 15
  • Certification: Free certificates included in 15 courses ✅

Up next on my list is a relatively unknown course provider by the name of Oxford Home Study. While this provider is better known for their diploma distance education courses, they also offer up a hand full of free online courses.

This small selection of free courses (15 in total) include a free certificate with no hidden fees or nasty surprises. Simply sign up, start learning, then receive a certificate of completion once done.

oxford home school certificate

While the included course lineup is quite limiting, there are hundreds of other courses to choose from. Just note that the courses outside of the below list do come at a price.

Here are the 15 courses that Oxford Home Study provide for free:

  • Business Management
  • Customer Service
  • Construction Management
  • Fashion Design
  • Hotel Management
  • HRM
  • Internet Marketing
  • Management
  • PR
  • Project Management
  • Risk Management
  • Starting a Business
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Tourism and Travel

6. Openlearning (University Quality Learning)

openlearning

  • Price: Free + Paid
  • Courses available: 1,300+
  • Certification: Free certificates included in some courses ✅

Moving onto my next pick on this list of the best free online courses is Open learning. While this provider is relatively new (when compared to Lynda and Udemy), their popularity has surged in the past 3 years.

As of writing this, they now have over 1 million people that have used their platform for learning online.

One way to think of Openlearning is much like Alison. Instead of producing the classes and courses themselves, they instead offer a collection of courses from universities, colleges, and learning platforms from all over the internet.

open learning certificate

While Openlearning offers mainly paid courses, they also do have a great lineup of free courses to choose from. As for the free certification, it entirely depends on the third-party provider who is running the course. But in most cases, they do supply a printable certificate, but users will have to dig through their library of classes to see which ones do.

Here are some of the free online course categories and topics OpenLearning covers:

  • Design
  • Blockchain
  • Understanding Coffee
  • Growing a Global Business
  • Physics
  • Cybersecurity
  • English
  • Japanese
  • Ecotourism
  • AR & VR

7. Microsoft Learn (Great For Microsoft Related Jobs)

microsoft learn

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 30+
  • Certification: Free certificates included in some courses ✅

If you are seeking out a career in working with Microsoft products, then Microsoft Learn is right up your alley!

Just like Google Digital Garage, Microsoft also offers up their own online learning platform for those wanting to excel their skills and job prospects.

While the Google classes are broader, Microsoft Learn focuses only on Microsoft products, systems, and software. Most of the modules and classes revolve around Azure and Dynamics 365 with multiple variations depending on whether you are a beginner or advanced user.

microsoft learn certificate

Following the grain of this guide, all courses are free and also include an industry-recognized Microsoft certification/ accreditation. Once you acquire your accreditation, you may want to seek out digital nomad jobs where you can work while traveling.

There are also complimentary classes for such jobs as:

  • Administrator 
  • AI Engineer
  • Business Analyst
  • Business USer
  • Data Engineer
  • Data Scientist 
  • Developer
  • Functional Consultant
  • Solution Architect

8. Pluralsight (Great For Developers)

pluralsight

  • Price: 10-day free trial
  • Courses available: 1,400+
  • Certification: Free certificates included in all courses ✅

If you are looking to excel your online technical skills from some of the best mentors and teachers in the world, Pluralsight is the place to start.

And when I say the best, I really mean it. Pluralsight has partnered up with some of the largest companies in the world such as Google, Oracle, Adobe, Unity, and Microsoft to help deliver the classes.

Pluralsight certificate

While Pluralsight is a paid service, users can sign up for a free 10-day trial to complete their chosen course. Once completed, users will receive a certificate via email.

So while this platform is not technically free, if you complete the course within 10 days, it won’t cost you a dime!

Courses that can be undertaken with Pluralsight range from:

  • Python
  • Java
  • C#
  • JavaScript
  • Angular
  • Microsoft Azure
  • IT Operations
  • IT Networking
  • SQL
  • Oracle
  • Tableau
  • Android
  • Cyber Security
  • Malware Analysis
  • Software Development
  • Cloud Computing
  • Architecture
  • Manufacturing & Design
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence

9. Facebook Blueprint (Digital Marketing With FB)

facebook bluprint

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 400+
  • Certification: Free certificate included after taking an exam ✅

One common thread I started noticing upon researching for this guide was that almost every large internet company has their very own free online learning platform.

So it came as no surprise when I found out that Facebook too has an extensive library of free courses, training, and classes for those using their online properties.

What makes this platform different from the rest is that students can take any of the 400+ micro online classes. However, instead of instantly receiving an accreditation or certificate, students will have to undertake an extensive exam to show what they’ve learned.

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facebook certificate

As for the exams, there are 5 in total, each specializing in a particular area from Facebook pixel ads, marketing, campaign management, API integrations, and technical implementations.

Once a student has studied some of the free online classes and takes the exam, they will then be presented with a Facebook Blueprint certificate! For digital agencies, freelancers or new job seekers, this is hugely valuable!

10. Saylor.org

saylor.org

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 323
  • Certification: Free certificates included for all courses ✅

Next up on my list of the best free online courses with certificates is the lesser-known Saylor.org. Founded in 1999, Saylor has helped 100,000’s of students to gain employment, advance their careers, bolster their qualifications and upskill for free.

Being a non-profit organization, Saylor is an incredible platform with over 323 fee courses to choose form. They even supply free printable certificates upon completion of all of their courses.

saylor.org certificate

While almost every other course provider on this list has video class content, Saylor is laid out in a more textbook manner. Students go through each chapter and then answer a quiz to progress in the course.

As for the types of courses that Saylor provides, here is just a small taste:

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Communication
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Philosophy

 

11. Free Code Camp (Great For Learning To Code)

free code camp

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 100+
  • Certification: Free certificate included after passing milestone hours ✅

Last but not least on my list of best free online courses with certificates is an ingenious platform called Free Code Camp.

As the name suggests, new users get to learn coding and platforms such as HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Databases, GitHub, Node.js, React.js, and D3.js.

On top of an extensive lineup of specialties, Code Camp also have thousands of free videos, articles and interactive coding lessons! Ok, so what’s the catch!

freecodecamp certificate

Well, while you are learning these new skills, you will also be required to code websites and software for non-profit organizations. It’s a win-win! Once users have put in the hours, students can then undertake the below exams to gain their certificates and qualifications.

This is easily one of the best free online courses with certificates out there. You also get work experience in the process!

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Algorithms and Data Structures
  • Front End Libraries
  • Data Visualization
  • APIs and Microservices
  • Information Security and Quality Assurance

Below you will find some honorable mentions that are still great online course providers. However, I ranked them towards the bottom as they either don’t provide any certificates. Or charge a fee for a certificate once you have completed the course.

12. Skillshare (Great For Design + Passions)

skillshare

  • Price: 2-month free trial
  • Courses available: 10,000+
  • Certification: No certificates included ❌

When it comes to online course platforms, Skillshare is one of the largest and most used. This is mainly due to the fact that they have one of the biggest libraries of classes and courses online.

I myself have taken multiple courses on this platform from video editing, wine tasting, meditation and heaps more.

Unlike other course providers on this list, anyone with expertise/ experience in a certain area can make a course with Skillshare. Which has given it the name of being the “Netflix of learning”.

Unfortunately, Skillshare doesn’t provide any certificates whatsoever which is a bit of a shame. But they do offer a 2-month free no obligations trail. This means users can learn to their hearts content for 2 months without paying a cent! Unfortunatlty, there are no free printable certificates avaliable.

Here are some notable courses that Skillshare offers:

  • Mastering Illustration
  • Creative Writing
  • DSLR Photography
  • Becoming a Freelancer
  • Drawing
  • Presentation Essentials
  • Logo Design
  • Book Cover Design
  • Instagram Marketing
  • Personal Branding
  • Mastering Excell
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Buffer Tips
  • HTML
  • 3D Printing
  • UX
  • JavaScript
  • Documentary Photography
  • Cinematography
  • Bookkeeping
  • Building an Etsy Shop

13. edX.org (Top University Grade Courses)

edx.org

  • Price: Free + Paid
  • Courses available: 1,000+
  • Certification: Certificate at a price ($50-$300) ❌

If you are looking to learn from some of the most iconic institutions in the world such as MIT, Harvard University, Berkeley University, University of Texas and Boston University, then edX is your place for you!

You can see the full list of edX partner colleges and universities here.

All up, there are over 1,000+ free courses to choose from which range from computer science, languages, history, data science, business/ management and more.

If you are looking to go a step further, edX also have MicroMasters, Master’s Degree and Diplomas to choose from. Which do come at a price.

For their entry-level courses, they are completely free! The only downside is that students will have to pay for a certificate upon completion, which comes at a hefty price of around $50-$300 depending on the course.

As for the scope of courses that can be enrolled in, there really is no limit. Here are some courses that edX providers for free:

  • Architecture
  • Biology
  • Business Management
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Finance
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Nutrition
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Law
  • Match
  • Music
  • Physics

14. Khan Academy (For Primary, High School Students)

Khan Academy

  • Price: Free
  • Courses available: 2,000+
  • Certification: No certificates included ❌

Up next on my guide is a fantastic non-profit online free course provider by the name of Khan Academy. This platform was started out of the passion of delivering high-quality education for those who don’t have the means to pay for it themselves.

What initially started as a passion project, has now turned into one of the largest free online training platforms in the globe.

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In particular, Khan Academy has a strong focus on maths and science as these curriculums can be taught across multiple languages. There’s even an Android and iOS app for learning on the go!

So if you are looking to brush up on your calculus, algebra, arithmetic, trigonometry or statistics, then Khan Academy is a great place to start. There are even resources for teachers and parents for extra learning and tutoring material.

Unfortunately, Khan Academy doesn’t provide any certifications or accreditations, but there are whispers of this coming soon. But for the breadth of what’s included, it’s incredible that all this comes at no price whatsoever.

P.S. there are also modules on college admission advice, making the most of high school, how to get into college and how to navigate your career! A truly amazing resource!

15. CreativeLive (Great For Creative Skills)

creativelive

  • Price: Free + Paid
  • Courses available: 3,000+
  • Certification: No certificates included ❌

As the name suggests, CreativeLive is all about learning new creative skills to enhance your job prospects, curiosity, and career.

Areas CreativeLive focus on in particular are photography, videography, art, design, personal finance, craft, podcasting, writing, music, and audio.

While CreativeLive is a paid service, they also have a unique system in which they stream certain classes for free 24/7. Users can also see classes that will be streaming on upcoming dates and RSVP for the stream.

The only downside to this is that students won’t be able to pause/ play or go at their own pace. Nonetheless, still a great resource for learning new skills.

As for certifications, unfortunately, there are none included in either the free on paid online classes.

16. Shaw Academy (Great For Online Diplomas)

Shaw Academy

  • Price: 1-month free trial
  • Courses available: 50+
  • Certification: Certificates included at a price ❌

Up next on my guide of free online course providers with certificates is Shaw Academy.

What sets this particular provider apart from the rest is that their professional diplomas are internationally recognized and credit rated by the European Qualification Framework.

This means that for whatever Shaw Acadamey diploma course users enroll in, they’ll receive an industry-recognized certificate which is valid in the US, UK, Australia, Canda and many other countries. Users also get to choose from a hard copy certificate or a digital copy.

As for the courses offered by Shaw Academy, the offering is small, but the courses are extremely valued packed with quizzes, videos, assignments, interactive lessons and more!

While Shaw Academy does offer a 1-month free trial, each course takes 4 months todo as they are broken into 4 x 1-month modules. So while the first month is free, students will have to pay ($49.99/mo) thereafter to gain the certification.

Below are the categories in which Shaw Academy runs online diploma courses:

  • Photography
  • Finance
  • Health & Wellness
  • Marketing
  • Technology
  • Design
  • Beauty
  • Music
  • Business
  • Language

17. Udacity (Great For Latest Tech Skills)

udacity

  • Price: Free + Paid
  • Courses available: 233 courses
  • Certification: Certificates available for NanoDegrees only ❌

Next in my lineup of free online course providers is Udacity which focusses on the latest tech skills including artificial intelligence, programming, data science, digital marketing and more.

Being focused in these areas, Udacity is able to give in-depth curriculum on each of their courses. As an added bonus, Udacity also has 233 free courses that users can undertake.

Unfourtantly, these free online classes don’t have any certificates included. Users will instead have to upgrade to the NanoDegrees in which a certificate is provided.


Are Free Certificates Good To Include On a Resume?

Upon doing research for this guide, one question I saw a lot of was “should I include certificates from online course providers on my resume?”.

While there is no definite right or wrong answer to this, it all depends on your skill level and the job you are applying for.

As an example, lets say you are applying for an entry level data entry job. In this instance, it would be great to include any courses, whether free or paid as you are showing the eagerness and initiavte to learn more about the topic.

From my opinion, this can only be seen as positive as you are showing to the employer that you are going above and beyond.

For another example, if you are applying for a job where a specific degree is required, it would not be worth including a free certificate.

Are Free Online Course Certificates Accredited?

Yes and no. In short, it all depends on who is issuing the certificate and whether or not they pass on any accreditation.

I find that more niche specific course providers such as Microsoft Learn, Google Digital Garage etc do provide accredidation for specfic roles realting to these platforms.

Types Of Online Courses That Users Can Enroll In

When it comes to learning new skills online, there really are no limitations as to what one can learn. Below is a massive srop down menu of courses that can be found online.

3D + Animation
Topics
  • Modeling
  • Rendering
  • Textures
  • Materials
  • Particles
  • Product Design
  • Character Animation
  • Game Design
  • Visual Effects
Software
  • 3ds Max
  • After Effects
  • Blender
  • CINEMA 4D
  • Maya
  • Photoshop
  • ZBrush
  • Unity
  • Mudbox
  • Animate
Learning Paths
  • 2D Digital Animator
  • 3D Character Animator
  • Asset Artist
  • 3D Design Specialist

Conclusion

Hopfeully my guide on the best free online courses with certificates has been helpful for you. If you have found another provider that you think I have missed, please let me know as I plan on updating this article in the future. Thanks for reading!

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