14 Free Online Business Courses To Improve Your Skills

By Jennifer Herrity

Published February 22, 2021

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Continual learning is essential in the business community as marketplace trends and consumer habits change. Technological advancements and evolving digital tools also impact business methods. As a business professional, online business courses can help you develop new skills and expertise that prove your desire to grow and improve. In this article, we list free business classes you can complete at your own pace to advance your knowledge and abilities in the workplace.

What are online business courses?

Online business courses are instructional modules designed to help professionals increase their knowledge and skills. Some courses include multiple sections that take weeks or months to complete while others present a short review of a specific topic. Online business courses offer a convenient tool for business professionals to schedule and complete professional development at their own pace.

An online business course may consist of videos, instructional materials and assessments from instructors with diverse experience. Open online courses allow students to enroll and participate either on a timeline or through an ongoing class. Other online programs offer resources from accredited universities that let you audit college course for free.

Why take online business courses?

As business trends change, it's important to keep learning about how you can adapt and stay relevant in the commercial marketplace. Business professionals need skills and basic knowledge in a wide variety of industry practices from digital marketing to finance. Online courses allow you to connect to other professionals and thought leaders without having to leave your home or office.

Professional development and continuing education are also important if you plan to advance your business career. Going back to school for a post-secondary degree is one option to increase your potential and value as an employee. Even with an advanced degree, there are always opportunities to learn new information that can benefit your career prospects. Online courses are a great way to take advantage of those chances.

Related: 6 Business Skills You Need and How to Improve Them

14 free online business courses

The ease of remote learning combined with free resources make online business courses ideal for professionals ready to advance their skills and open new career opportunities through continuing education. The following platforms offer online business training courses taught by university professors and industry professionals:

Coursera business

Search hundreds of free business courses by level, type or skill on Coursera's learning platform. Facilitated by colleges and universities, these multi-format online classes give businesses professionals additional training in key topics. Some courses that do cost money allow you to enroll for free and offer financial aid to help defer the cost of a program.

Related: The 6 Best Business Certifications for Advancing Your Career

Open University

This UK-based online institution provides over 100 free courses on money and business. Programs are listed by beginner, intermediate and advanced levels along with the hours involved in completing each class. Some topics are distinctly British, including a title in Welsh, however most cover universal business topics.

Udemy

Udemy hosts teachers from around the world through both their business platform and personal learning courses. Free Udemy content includes instruction on business topics like SEO, email marketing and investing. Unpaid courses are all video-based.

Alison

The website Alison hosts free business classes to help professionals stay competitive in the workplace. Courses include leadership, management and entrepreneurship. You'll need to create an account to enroll in a course.

Master Class Management

Master Class Management is a website offering free course materials for business professionals seeking MBA training. The site contains one master course on management and leadership broken down into 10 lessons, each with instructional texts and quizzes to help you track your progress and assess your knowledge. Master Class Management offers a completion certificate for purchase.

Related: The 20 Best Business Books

edX

The edX platform offers free courses like business writing, corporate finance and sales. Their range of online learning comes from reputed businesses and colleges. Most courses offer a certificate you can purchase for around $150.00 after completing the program.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers free courses for students of all ages. Business professionals can utilize college-level content in a range of key business subjects like economics, management and finance. Courses contain video content, lesson summaries and practice quizzes. Khan Academy is a non-profit organization recognized by businesses around the world.

MIT Open Courseware

MIT Open Courseware consists of materials previously used for the Sloan School of Management. Course content is rich with lectures, notes, activities and assignments. Work through these graduate-level courses at your own pace to learn from a variety of business subjects.

Microsoft Office

The computer company that created many essential business computing software tools offers online training in nearly every major system. Learning or reviewing Excel, Live Meeting or Vision may help you gain the skills you need to perform your job at a higher level.

US Small Business Administration

This government agency offers courses to help small business owners through each stage of development. The Small Business Administration also shares a program called "Ascent" with classes specifically designed to assist female entrepreneurs as they start a business.

Related: Women-Owned Business Certification: What It Is and How to Get One

Kutztown University Small Business Development Center

This small university in Pennsylvania shares a generous selection of free online learning programs. The courses are part of their "Success Network" which draws information from a variety of industry sources so you can find everything in one place. They offer in-depth modules on topics like managing a business and marketing.

My Own Business Institute

Operated by Santa Clara University in California, My Own Business Institute's tagline is "Free online business courses for everyone, forever." They offer three full business courses: Starting a Business, Business Expansion and Quick Start Entrepreneur. Each course involves ten or more sessions, and the institute issues you a certificate upon completion.

Class Central

This website lists free online business courses available from multiple organizations. When you find a course of interest, you can check where the course is offered, whether the class is free to audit and other details like class length.

Academic Earth

Academic Earth offers certain college courses free online through their platform. Business courses focus on management and economics with links to class content from major universities.

More online business training ideas

There are plenty of opportunities for online professional development related to business. Whether you want to learn a little more about a particular topic or need a quick reminder of key principles, here are some other ideas to consider to supplement or substitute for a full online course:

  • Webinars: Many organizations offer webinar training related to business topics. Often of minimal cost, these sessions offer in-depth instruction from industry professionals who are usually willing to take questions from students after a session. Many of these courses also create online groups for students to discuss and share ideas related to the webinar content.

  • Blogs: Business influencers offer valuable insight into marketplace trends covering nearly any searchable topic. Many are from professionals who have made a successful career as an entrepreneur or business executive. Their desire to assist and inspire future business leaders to make these blogs full of honest and helpful information for those trying to learn more about the industry.

  • Podcasts: Podcasts are typically informative and entertaining, delivering facts and instruction through anecdotes and question/answer formats. You can find business podcasts covering topics from eCommerce to human resources. You can try playing your favorites on the way to work.

  • Videos: Industry leaders, corporations and universities post instructional videos online to help train you on various business topics. Some videos even offer an entire training course.

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