Update 7/18/16: This post has been updated with additional online project management courses that have proved themselves worthy over the past nine months. We’ve updated the piece to have ten options instead of the original five.
When it comes to project management, education matters.
When looking at salary trends, the better-educated and higher-certified project managers make far more than those who rely on their experience alone. And the difference is substantial, totaling tens of thousands of dollars between otherwise equal PMs.
Luckily, project managers interested in furthering their careers through education have tons of online options. These are the ten best online project management courses available, when taking cost, benefits, time commitment, and final certification into consideration.
Online Project Management Certifications
While PMP and CAPM are the two main go-tos for certification, Coursera and ALISON offer alternatives.
Coursera, a MOOC platform, offers a specialization in project management. Students can pick-and-choose individual project management courses (like Budgeting and Scheduling Projects and Managing Project Risks and Changes) for $49 for each course, or do the entire specialization for $196. Coursera only offers a certification for those who have completed the entire program. For those interested in free coursework, they can take the first three classes without paying a dime.
The program isn’t a cakewalk. It’s hosted through University of California-Irvine and taught by Margaret Meloni, MBA, PMP. Students are expected to put in 2-4 hours a week for each four-week course and demonstrate their overall understanding of project management in the capstone class.
This free, highly-rated diploma in project management is offered through ALISON, another MOOC dedicated to bringing free education to the world. Most students finish the course in 10-15 hours. While this course is best for project managers with work experience, it covers all the basics of project management, from different methodology to case study analysis.
In order to complete the course, students must maintain an 80% average on all exams. With hundreds of positive reviews, this ALISON course is largely respected in the project management field.
The Best Online PMP Prep Courses
If nothing else, Brain Sensei has the best promotional video online. Period. Take a minute to watch it above.
The idea behind Brain Sensei is that most project management certification training is boring (and I can’t disagree). It takes a fun, modern approach to PMP exam prep, where project managers learn from animated stories and examples about what project management is and how to implement it effectively.
In spite of how fun Brain Sensei’s course is, it doesn’t skimp on exam prep. The courses offer over 900 test prep questions with 35 hours of prep material. For $399 CAD (about $305 USD), this course is one of the most affordable, enjoyable options available online.
Online schooling has changed the way education is undertaken by brick and mortar schools, leading to an expansion in courses offered online. Colorado State University now offers the same project management certification class taught at the university in a condensed, 16-week instruction.
The class prepares you for the PMP exam for a tuition price of $3,395, which leads to PMI certification as well as the Associate Project Manager certification. Possible funding of the course can be awarded through the Colorado Workforce Development Center to aid in mitigating costs.
The online format in no way detracts from the lessons, and those who complete Colorado’s course will be well prepared for project management in a multitude of fields, from architecture to telecommunications.
Even though Master of Project Academy is relatively new to the PM field (it entered the marketplace in 2012), its courses cover everything you need in a direct, accessible manner.
I recommend looking at its project management All Courses Bundle. It includes 27 online project management courses, including:
- PMP certification training
- Agile Scrum certification training
- ITIL Foundation certification training
- CAPM certification training
- Cisco CCNA training (full course)
- Microsoft Project training
All the reviews of Master of Project Academy are overwhelmingly positive. Students call out their favorite teachers and rave about how easy passing the PMP exam is following Master of Project Academy’s instruction.
Best of all? It only costs $99 a month. The plan is self-paced, all online, and has a 100% money-back guarantee for 30 days.
Simplilearn’s Flexi-Pass classroom is great option for students who want to get their PMP outside of regular office hours. It allows PMP hopefuls to pace their own learning. It’s also a great option for people who are already PMP certified and want to maintain their current certification, as it offers 35 PDUs.
The pro version offers 32 hours of instructor-led training, and students have said that access to their professors has seriously helped with their exam prep.
The course also comes with five full simulation exams, plenty of case studies, and well over 25 hours of online learning. Simplilearn’s money-back guarantee leaves something to be desired; if you have completed more than 50% of the class or wait for longer than seven days, Simplilearn will not refund a penny.
Yet, from looking at reviews and course material, its stingy money-back “guarantee” isn’t something to worry about. The course covers everything someone looking to get certified would want in a clear, accurate manner. For $699, Simplilearn offers an outstanding PMP-certification course that easily makes our list.
Trainings 24×7 offers several options in project management certification courses, some more detailed and in-depth than others. The more detailed the course and greater the preparation, the higher the price.
Trainings 24×7 conducts live, online training courses and “do-it yourself” certification study courses, and gives you the option of different packages depending on the depth of training you require. Its offers range from a free starter training package to in-depth PMP courses that go as high as $150 dollars.
The programs and prices are offered based on the number of chapters offered, timespans of availability, and feedback in the form of “experience calculators.” The materials and courses offered are all accredited by the Project Management Institute and even provide you with certificates of achievement which are relevant to the package that was chosen.
Online PMP and CAPM Courses
The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the industry-standard in project management certification: Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).
They have an impressive catalog of online PM courses to maintain your PMP certification (by earning PDUs) or to just improve your professional toolbox. You can take these courses with an instructor, which often costs several hundred dollars, or On Demand, which ranges in price from under $50 to a few hundred dollars.
These are some of the Project Management Institute’s best courses.
This course costs $325 for non-PMI members and $225 for PMI members. It’s meant specifically for construction managers looking to improve their construction project management skills. (But make sure you know which construction certifications work best in the industry first.)
This course offers resources on how to evaluate and plan construction projects from economic, political, physical, and social lenses. It provides resources on how to best manage everyone involved in the construction process, from owners to architects to engineers to contractors. The course is offered on demand and is worth five PDUs.
Interested in learning how to transition from a Waterfall to an Agile project management office? Jack Duggal, the Managing Principal of Projectize Group, leads this week-long interactive course for experienced project managers. It costs $625 for non-PMI members and $500 for members. This course is recommended for more experienced project managers, including those hoping to become PMO Director.
This course is worth 10 PDUs and one CEU.
This class is designated for project managers with advanced knowledge of formal project-management practices. The purpose of the course is to decrease the number of negative events while maximizing the number of positive events.
Advanced Risk Management breaks down risk management both quantitatively and qualitatively, looking at confidence curves, math for risk management, and the human influence on risk. This course is taught for 14 PDUs and 1.4 CEUs, and costs $875 for non-members and $725 for members.
Naturally, project management certifications are not the end-all of project management. Project managers looking to refine their skills should also invest in specializing within their respective industries, learn how to use project management software, and demonstrate basic business skills, like communication and leadership.
I’m sure there are other great project management courses out there that I missed. What do you recommend? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Want other great project management tips and tricks? You might like:
- What Are Employers Looking for in Project Managers?
- The 10 Most Common Project Management Interview Questions
- 7 Project Management Conferences Worth Attending in 2017 and 2018
- The 58 Most Insanely Useful Project Management Blogs and Resources
- How Much Do Project Managers Make?
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.