Update 8/27/18: This post has been updated to remove courses that are no longer active, to replace them with new courses, and to ensure that all information and links are up-to-date.
When it comes to project management, education matters. Project management software can make your job a lot easier, but—like a pilot who needs to know how to fly a plane even when there’s an equipment failure—you alao need to learn the foundations of project management.
When looking at salary trends, better-educated and certified project managers make far more than those who rely on their experience and soft skills alone. And the difference is substantial—tens of thousands of dollars between otherwise equal project managers.
Beyond salary, trained project managers are better equipped to minimize risk and lead their teams through times of change and growth.
But what if you never took a project management course in college? What if you started off as an engineer, or an architect, or an IT professional, and through the twists and turns of your career found yourself in the position of accidental project manager?
There’s good news.
This is the “Information Age,” and project managers (by title or by accident) interested in furthering their careers through education have plenty of online options.
Here are ten of the best project management courses that you can take online to strengthen your skills and your resume.
Note: We’ll track PDUs (Professional Development Units) throughout. I’ll explain them more later, but basically they are continuing education hours required to maintain some project management certifications.
*Courses are listed in alphabetical order
Alternative project management certifications
PMP (Project Management Professional) and CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management)—both offered by the Project Management Institute—are the two most widely recognized certifications for project management (PMP for project leaders and CAPM for project team members). But, they’re not the only game in town.
Any reputable certification will sharpen your skills and strengthen your resume. Here are a few good options:
The ALISON Diploma in Project Management course (Source)
This free, highly rated diploma in project management is offered through ALISON, a MOOC (massive open online course).
Most students finish the course in ten to 15 hours. Though this course is best for project managers with work experience, it covers all the basics of project management, from different methodologies to case study analysis. Plus, ALISON offers a number of related project management courses.
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.
Registering for the Colorado State University Online Project Management Certificate program (Source)
Online education has changed the way brick-and-mortar schools operate as well, leading to an expanded number of courses offered online. Colorado State University now offers the same project management certification class taught at the university in a condensed 16-week online program.
The certificate stands on its own, but if you want to build to a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, this class prepares you for that as well.
For $3,395 in tuition, you can walk away with an Associate Project Manager certification. This course is open to anyone, but Colorado residents may be eligible for tuition assistance through the Colorado Workforce Development Council.
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.
Enrolling in Introduction to Project Management at Coursera (Source)
Coursera, a MOOC platform launched in 2012 by two Stanford University computer science professors, offers specializations in introductory project management (for newcomers to the field) and applied project management (for those with three to five years of relevant experience).
Students can pick and choose individual project management courses (such as Budgeting and Scheduling Projects and Managing Project Risks and Changes) for $777 each, or do the entire four-course specialization for $2,980.
If you like the introductory specialization, you can continue with the six-month Applied Project Management certification, which costs another $2,980 but will earn you a university-issued professional certificate and 12 academic credits toward a degree in the University of California system. This course also prepares you to pass the actual PMP exam (which costs another $555).
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 two to three hours a week for each four-week course and demonstrate their overall understanding of project management in the capstone class.
Price: $2,980 per specialization
The best online PMP prep courses
If you decide that only the PMP will do, you’ll need a college degree, 4,500 hours of experience leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.
If you have only a high school diploma or associate’s degree, you can still take the PMP test, but you need 3,000 more hours of project experience (7,500).
The test itself consists of 200 multiple choice questions over four hours, and costs $555 ($405 for PMI members).
Obviously, you don’t want to go into the exam unprepared. Luckily, there are some great online resources to help you prepare. To maintain the PMP, project managers need to accrue 60 PDUs (professional development units) every three years. Luckily, most of the courses on this list count toward that requirement, which we’ll indicate throughout.
An overview of the Brain Sensei PMP prep course (Source)
If nothing else, Brain Sensei has the best promotional video online. Take a minute to watch it above for a quick, entertaining overview.
The idea behind Brain Sensei is that most project management certification training is boring. But this one takes a fun, modern approach to PMP exam prep, in which 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 six-month course, made up of eight modules and four practice exams, offers over 900 test prep questions with 35 hours of prep material. For $499, this course is one of the most affordable, enjoyable options available online.
The Lynda.com PMP Certification Prep course (Source)
Lynda.com is one of the oldest online training sites on the web, dating all the way back to 1995. In 2015, Lynda.com was acquired by LinkedIn, which was in turn acquired by Microsoft. In other words, Lynda.com has a wealth of resources behind it.
There are now more than 10,000 expert-led courses on Lynda.com, including more than 1,500 on project management. The PMP Certification Prep course includes more than six hours of video, ten hands-on activities, and 11 individual exercises. This course will satisfy the 35 hours of education needed to take the PMP exam.
Lynda.com offers a free month to try out all of its resources, so you can sample its PMP certification prep before committing. After that, Lynda.com charges $29.99 per month ($24.99 per month when paid annually) for access to their complete library.
Price: $29.99 per month
The Master of Project Academy All Courses Bundle (Source)
Even though the Master of Project Academy is relatively new to the PM field (it entered the marketplace in 2012), the courses cover everything that an aspiring project manager—or an experienced PM looking to brush up on old or new skills—could need.
Case in point: Its All Courses Bundle 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.
The All Courses Bundle costs $99 per month. The plan is self-paced, all online, and has a 100% money back guarantee for 30 days.
If you want to sample what Master of Project Academy has to offer, it has a selection of completely free courses, including PMP training, Lean Six Sigma training, and PRINCE2 training.
Price: Free up to $99 per month
PDUs: Varies by course. PMP certification training meets the 35-hour prerequisite.
An introduction to Simplilearn’s PMP Certification Training (Source)
Simplilearn 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 over the course of 90 days of instructor-led classes for $799. 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.
Students say that access to their professors has seriously helped with their exam prep.
The course also comes with full simulation exams, case studies, industry-based scenarios, and hands-on projects. The course covers everything someone looking to get certified would want in a clear, accurate manner. For a more affordable option, students can get 180 days of access to self-paced learning content (without instructor guidance) for $349.
Price: $349 (self-guided) or $799 (instructor-led)
Velociteach project management training (Source)
Velociteach, an online training site founded by project management expert and author Andy Crowe, is a little different from some of the other eLearning sites on this list.
You can’t use Velociteach to learn about coding, or puppetry, or financial planning. Velociteach specializes in project management training, and nothing else.
Technical skills, leadership skills, soft skills, certification prep—Velociteach covers it all with more than 40 courses on everything from communicating with senior management to the fundamentals of earned value management. Courses range in price from $19 for a one-PDU introductory course to $449 for a six-month leadership bundle.
You can prep for the PMP on Velociteach for $219, which includes the 35 PDU prerequisite.
Price: $19 – $449
PMI-sanctioned PMP and CAPM courses
If you’re looking to earn a PMP or CAPM certification, you could do worse than going straight to the source: the Project Management Institute.
The PMI has an impressive catalog of online project management courses to prep for the PMP exam, 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.
Here are a couple of the Project Management Institute’s best courses.
The Project Management Institute’s Online Course library (Source)
Interested in learning how to transition from a Waterfall to an Agile project management office? This weeklong, interactive course for experienced project managers costs $260 for non-PMI members and $180 for members.
The course will prepare project managers to manage a mixed portfolio and improve PMO performance through Agile project management.
This course is recommended for more experienced project managers, including those hoping to become a PMO Director.
Price: $260 ($180 for PMI members)
Maybe you’re not quite ready to take the PMP exam, and that’s fine. Maybe you’re still feeling your way around project management and building a foundation.
This course is intended for new project managers looking to start a career in project management and covers all the most important concepts in the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), from project scope to work breakdown structure.
Price: $350 ($300 for PMI members)
How did you learn your project management skills?
These courses are a great way to sharpen your skills and add some sparkle to your resume, but real-world experience is even more important. This is why the PMP requires so many hours of experience and why project managers must always strive to be well-rounded.
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!
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.