It’s no secret that higher education costs a lot of money. Unfortunately, not all of us can afford those high fees and other expenses of superb colleges and universities.
And sometimes, we’re located too far away from cities and educational centers to pursue higher education or learn a skill that would help at career.
Thankfully, this needn’t be a reason be despair. There’re countless free online courses with printable certificates that you can do from anywhere and anytime.
Understandably, these aren’t complete courses and hence, the certifications won’t really form any part of your academic qualifications.
However, the skills you learn online and free certificates can serve as force multiplier when applying for jobs or doing business.
Why Free Online Courses?
Obviously, you’ll wonder who’s giving away free online certification courses with printable certificates. And are they sham or scam or genuine, legit certificates?
The answer to both your questions is simple: these 10 free online courses with printable certificates I’m writing about are 100 percent legit and available from some of the highly respected seats of learning and online academies.
There’s a reason they’re giving it free too. Firstly, these academies, colleges, vocational training institutes and universities wish to popularize one or more courses.
Hence, the free course they offer is actually a sample of what you can expect during the full, paid course.
By offering the free ‘sample course,’ these academies try to promote the full course that costs money. You’ll generally get calls and emails to join the longer and full paid course while you’re studying for the free one.
The educational institute considers you as a lead or potential customer for the full course.
In simplest words, the sample course is a sort of bait or teaser that educational institutes uses as marketing gimmick.
10 Best Free Online Courses with Printable Certificate
Having said that, it may not be an entirely bad idea to study a free online certification course and get their printable certificate. Once you have some clue about what the course entails, you are free to continue or leave it.
Since there’re no fees, you don’t lose anything except the time and effort you invested for three to four hours. There’s no force or compulsion to complete the course merely because you’ve paid for it.
And if you like the course, there’s always the option of paying and taking the full package. So, let’s see which are the best free online courses with printable certificates.
1. Harvard University
One of the most reputed universities of the world, Harvard University, is offering more than 50 assorted courses absolutely free of cost. And they’re offering downloadable and printable certificates too.
These free courses from Harvard University come under the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) category, meaning there’re no upper limits on the number of students that can register.
You can find courses under different categories: Artificial Intelligence, Data Analysis, Cloud Computing, music and fine arts, theological and religious courses, business skills and medicine, among others.
While these courses from Harvard University are free, you may have to pay some money to get the printable certificate for some of them.
Of course, you won’t mingle with their alumni that reads like who’s who of the world. Yet, you’ll have a certification that tends to attract employers.
2. Stanford University
This might come as a shocker, but another topmost university in the world, Stanford, also offers a lot of free courses. Check their website for details and take one that suits your needs.
Stanford University has courses in education, health and medicine, engineering, arts and humanities and several other streams of study.
Stanford University provides some of these free courses with printable certification from its own website. Others are available from online learning management systems such as Coursera.com, among others.
Generally, majority of all free courses, including those from Stanford University are for people that have basic knowledge about a topic and wish to learn more. And some courses are for beginners. Browse their online catalog of free courses.
3. Princeton University
And since we’re talking about free online certification courses from topmost universities of the world, let’s not forget Princeton University. Maybe you’re unaware, but Princeton University is one of the oldest- rather the fourth- college to open in USA way back in the year 1746.
Holding a degree from Princeton University is extremely prestigious since getting admission there requires extreme efforts and high academic scores.
Princeton University has a selection of nine different courses, mainly on arts and humanities. These are MOOCs meaning, you’re free to join the course anytime during its availability.
However, Princeton University charges a small fee for the printable certificate. In fact, I would suggest you to pay and take the certification because holding one from Princeton can open doors for your career.
4. University of Texas at Austin
A selection of 19 different, free online certification courses are available from the University of Texas at Austin. These courses are in various sectors including IT and computing, algebra and mathematics, arts and humanities, agriculture and nutrition, and general science, among others.
Also available as MOOCs, these are very popular short-term courses that people with basic knowledge about the subject can take.
University of Texas offers printable certificates though for some of the free courses, you might have to pay a small charge.
A lot of highly reputed universities in the world don’t offer free online certification courses from their own websites. Instead, they offer it from online learning management systems and course providers such as Coursera.
In fact, Coursera has excellent free courses with free certificates from Yale University. You can register for these free MOOCs anytime. Coursera also has free online certification courses from several American and British universities too.
Coming to skills that are useful for our daily life, check on Udemy.com for free but excellent language courses for beginners.
In fact, Udemy lists free courses from 32 different languages including Putonghua or Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Turkish, Japanese, Hangul, Spanish, Portuguese, and others.
This is something important: Udemy has countless courses for any specific language. Therefore, be careful in selecting one which provides printable certificate either free or for a small cost.
These language certificates can prove useful while seeking jobs in a foreign country. Though you won’t master the entire language, the skills would enable you to perform some basic tasks.
7. University of Oxford
Do you want certificates from a prestigious educational institute from England? Check out the various free courses that University of Oxford, one of the oldest seats of learning in the world has on offer.
However, University of Oxford doesn’t always provide free courses for all. Therefore, you’ll need to check their website frequently to find whether they have ant that suits your specific needs.
8. University of California at Berkeley
More certificate from very renowned American educational institute, University of California in Berkeley are also available. In fact, they have as many as 49 different free online courses with printable certification on offer.
Literature, advanced IT skills, business and business administration, computing, language skills, history, geography, psychology, arts, and humanities are some of the broad streams under which the University of California at Berkeley offers these MOOC courses.
9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Who would dream of getting a certificate from the world’s single most popular engineering college which boasts of astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and other notables as alumni members?
These personalities are graduates of MIT. And MIT also offers a dozen free online courses with printable certification. Check their website for current and past courses.
Their free online certification courses offering change quite frequently. Holding an MIT certificate is by itself extremely prestigious.
10. University of Cambridge
Yet more excellent free online certification courses for high-school and junior college students are available from University of Cambridge, also one of the oldest and revered seats of learning in the world.
Check their website frequently since MOOC courses from University of Cambridge are short ones. The university adds newer courses regularly.
Thanks to the strong reputation of the University of Cambridge, seats for some free courses are taken up very fast. Usually, most free online courses comes with printable certificates. These are available for a small fee.
Value of Certificate
As you’ve seen, some of the topmost universities of the world are offering countless free courses online, on almost every subject. As I mention earlier, these courses serve as marketing resource.
And they also provide continuing education for people that already have some qualifications and want to upgrade their skills.
Are the certificated from these MOOC courses worthwhile? I would say yes. That’s because these free online certification courses, regardless of the duration and simple curriculum, are created by topmost faculty members of these universities.
Hence, the certificate indicates you’ve learned something from the best people around. For employers, these certificates show that you’re serious about continuing education to fine tune your work skills and knowledge or develop more talent.
At the same time, I will caution you against doing these free online certification courses merely to get a certification. That’s because the certificate by itself has no value.
It’s your overall academic qualifications and work experience that would add value to these certificates. Hence, I describe them as force multipliers for your CV or Resume.
You’ll come across thousands of free online courses that are of no value in any manner. That’s because some private organizations use them as a marketing ploy.
They don’t teach anything significant and serve only as advertisements for the paid course. Therefore, I would recommend you to go for free online courses with printable certificates only from the topmost universities in the world.
Opt for courses from other platforms only if you’re interested in getting basics about a profession or career or skill.