For many people, taking online courses to earn a certificate seems like a great way to learn new skills and knowledge. And for a good reason—Coursera is one of the world's most respected providers of online courses. With Coursera, you can take free classes from top universities around the globe. So if you’re looking to get a head start on your career, an online course might be just what you need. However, earning an official certificate requires completing all of Coursera’s coursework with high marks—and that takes time and effort. So how do you know if it’s worth it? Let’s find out.
What is Coursera?
Coursera is an education platform that offers free online courses, specializations, and degrees in various areas of learning. The company was founded by Stanford computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, who continue to serve as its CEO and president, respectively. Courses consist of video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and discussion forums where students can communicate with one another. Classes are offered on various topics, including business, social media marketing, data science, humanities, medicine, biology, chemistry, and computer programming.
In addition, they provide classes for individual learners interested in self-improvement or skill development. Coursera also partners with universities worldwide to offer college credit for select classes through verified certificates issued by partner institutions. To date, over 20 million people have registered for Coursera classes. Also, over 2 million have earned an online professional certificate.
Coursera Signature Track
Coursera Signature Tracks are a way to verify your identity and earn a Statement of Accomplishment for select courses on Coursera. To enroll in a Signature Track, you'll need to verify your identity using a webcam and a government-issued ID, such as a driver's license or passport. Signature Tracks are available for a small fee, and you can find them by searching for "Signature Track" in the Coursera catalog.
Once you've completed a Signature Track course, you'll receive a Statement of Accomplishment that you can share with potential employers or add to your resume.
What is Coursera Plus?
Coursera Plus is a subscription that gives you unlimited access to over 3,000 courses and Guided Projects on Coursera. With Coursera Plus, you can learn at your own pace and earn a certificate for each course or project you have successfully completed. Coursera project network helps you connect with other learners and find collaborators for your next project.
Coursera Plus is available for $399 per year, and you can cancel anytime. If you're unsure whether Coursera Plus is right for you, you can try it for free for seven days.
Why Should I Get a Coursera Certificate?
While the benefits of taking an online course are many, the value of a Coursera certificate depends on your goals. For some people, simply completing the class is enough. Others may want to add the credential to their resume or LinkedIn profile to demonstrate their new skills and knowledge. However, a Coursera certificate isn’t officially accredited by any government agency.
If you're looking to use your Coursera certificate to further your career, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Not all employers place the same value on online professional certificates. Some see it as equivalent to traditional educational credentials, while others view it as less valuable.
- You'll likely need other qualifications and your Coursera certificate to get hired for most positions. However, if you're interested in working in a rapidly changing field, such as information technology, an online course may give you the edge you need to land a job. With the right credentials, you can show potential employers that you're up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies.
How Much Does a Certificate Cost Coursera?
While many Coursera certificate programs are free to take, you'll usually need to pay a fee if you want to earn a certificate. The cost of a certificate varies depending on the course, but most range from $30-$100. In addition, if you're interested in taking a course for college academic credit, you'll also need to pay a fee to receive your transcript.
How Much Time Does It Take to Get a Coursera Certificate?
The amount of time it takes to earn a Coursera certificate varies depending on the length and difficulty of the course. Most courses are 4-6 weeks long, but some can be as short as two weeks or as long as 12 weeks.
To understand how much time you'll need to commit, check the course syllabus and look for the estimated time commitment. As a general rule of thumb, plan on spending 5-10 hours per week on coursework.
Types of Coursera Certificates
While there are many different types of Coursera certificates, the most common are:
Specializations consist of three to six courses tied together around a common theme. Specializations build systematically on knowledge and skills from preceding courses. Completing each course within a specialization earns you a Course Certificate, equivalent to individual certificates earned by completing Courseras single courses. It typically includes hands-on tutorials and projects so that you can put your new skills to use.
Stand-alone certificates are earned after completion of any three or more Coursera classes. Each stand-alone certificate is issued by a specific partner institution offering the courses. It represents mastery of one or more skills within that institution's curriculum. There is no cost to obtain stand-alone certificates, but you must pay for all courses required to earn them. Many institutions offer transfer credit for their stand-alone certificates.
However, because Coursera's goal is to provide universal access to high-quality education at an affordable price, it does not offer transfer credit toward its degrees. In some cases, employers may recognize your certificates, which could result in potential salary increases or promotions.
Professional certificates can help you gain the skills you need to advance your career. These courses are often created in partnership with top companies and cover a wide range of topics, from data science to business strategy and online entrepreneurship.
These are part of Coursera's Master's programs. It requires you to complete a series of courses and sometimes a capstone project. They often take longer to complete than regular courses, but they can be worth it if you're looking to boost your career.
Coursera offers a few fully online degrees in partnership with top universities. The program is designed for busy adults who want the flexibility to learn on their schedule. You can earn a degree in as little as 2 years, or take up to 6 years if you need more time.
If you plan to pursue transfer credit through another institution, make sure you understand what documentation is required and how long it will take to process your request. For example, some schools have strict deadlines for requesting transfers. Others may require letters of recommendation from faculty members who taught your course on Coursera. The job-ready courses are mostly in the business and computer science fields.
Q. Are Coursera certificates accredited?
A. Coursera certificates are accredited and are recognized by employers. In addition, many institutions now require such certificates before admitting students. However, a Coursera certificate isn’t officially accredited by any government agency.
Q. Is a certificate from Coursera free?
A. Yes, Coursera offers a free certificate for anyone who has taken and passed any of their courses. Each course will have its time commitment, so you should check that before signing up. However, once enrolled in a course, you will have access to lectures and other materials such as presentations and project files. It will also include an option to receive feedback on your work from professionals in your field.
Q. What does the Coursera catalog include?
The Coursera catalog includes more than 4,000 courses and 400+ specializations. You can explore the catalog by topic, institution, or language to find the right course for you. Some popular certificate includes Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Business, Computer Science, Personal Development, Health & Medicine, and information technology.
Q. Can I audit a course on Coursera?
A. Yes, you can audit most Coursera courses for free. When you audit a course, you'll have access to the same course material as paying students, but you won't earn a Course Certificate upon completion. To audit a course, select the "Audit" option when enrolling.
Coursera Certificate: How it Works and is It Worth It?
After deciding which courses you want to take, the next step is enrolling. You can do this by visiting the Coursera website and selecting the "Enroll" button for the course you're interested in.
Once you've enrolled, you'll have access to all course material, including lectures, readings, discussion forums, and quizzes. The courses are self-paced, which means you can complete them at your own pace. However, most courses have deadlines for assignments and exams.
If you want to earn a certificate, you'll need to pay the certificate fee when enrolling in the course. You can also choose to audit the course for free, but you won't have access to certain features, such as graded assignments and the option to earn a certificate.
Once you've completed all the coursework and met the requirements for passing, you'll be able to download and print your certificate. You can also share your certificate on LinkedIn or add it to your resume.