Online Business Certificate Programs Certifications & Resources for Business Students

The world of business is constantly evolving; those who work in any aspect of the profession must always be ready to gain new skills to stay relevant in the industry. Online business certificate programs can be a good way for busy professionals to earn the knowledge, skills and credentials they need without sacrificing time away from the office. Depending upon the program, graduates might be able to advance their career, seek out a raise or even change paths to try something new and different. This guide focuses on the various options for online business certificate programs, including low-cost or free options.

Search Online Business Certificate Programs

Students often look to online learning for the flexibility it provides. But that popularity has led to an enormous amount of worthy programs competing for attention, which can make sifting through programs for the right fit a difficult task. Our search tool allows aspiring students to filter potential programs by the criteria that matters most, such as length of program, price and hosting institution.

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Types of Online Business Certificates

There are more than a few reasons to earn a certificate in a particular area of business, and even more reasons to earn that certificate online. Whether the end goal is to enhance a knowledge area, build a new skill set, aim for a management position or even change lanes to find a new career, a business certificate might be able to help. Here are a few good reasons why online business certificate programs make sense.

Augment Current Business Credentials

Those who want to boost their resume or learn the skills that could lead to a promotion can turn to the huge variety of online business programs to find the one that suits their future plans. From boosting their management prowess to learning more about marketing projects to establishing a baseline of knowledge in finance, these certificates can be a boost to everyday work. They can also open doors to areas that might not have been considered before, such as a manager moving into a financial area of their company.

Move into a New Sector

Speaking of opening new doors, some business certifications might qualify a professional to move into an entirely new career path. Business encompasses so many disciplines, such as marketing, finance, advertising, and more; by choosing to expand a base of knowledge and skills, a business professional with numerous certifications might be qualified to move into other areas of the field.

Prove the Ability to Handle New Expectations

Those who are moving up in the business world need to prove they know their stuff. Online business certificate programs offer a wealth of in-depth knowledge, from simply brushing up on the theories and principles learned during college or introducing something entirely new. By constantly being open to learning, business professionals prove that they can rise to any occasion, fulfill and exceed the expectations of their supervisors, and otherwise demonstrate that they have the kind of knowledge that is put to good use in businesses today.

Cast a Wider Networking Net

In the world of business, “who you know” matters just as much as what you know. An online course allows the perfect opportunity to network with other students, professors and advisors, thus casting a wider net – and that can eventually lead to new, exciting and even lucrative partnerships. It helps that the students in the course are all looking for the same educational experience, which means they might be working at the same levels; for instance, a course for managers will likely draw either managers or aspiring managers.

Learn about New and Emerging Technologies

By taking a course online, students can get hands-on experience with new technologies that might help them with their day-to-day work. Online education is delivered through various platforms, all of which include video chats, lectures, message boards, quizzes and the like. By using these new technologies, enterprising business students might be able to find ways to incorporate them into their own work, thus setting the stage for a smoother workflow – and of course, for that coveted promotion.

Spotlight: 10 Great Online Business Certificate Programs

There are thousands of business certificates to choose from, ranging from those that are suitable for students who simply want a bit of extra knowledge to graduate certificates designed for those who are already deep into working in a business-related field. The following certificates are excellent examples of what is out there for aspiring students to choose from.

  • Offered by: UC Berkeley Extension
    Cost: $5,350
    Length: 15 semester units (18 months to 2 years)
    Format: Most courses available online; required Principles of Management Accounting must be completed on campus
    Outcome: Certificate; Certificate of Distinction is earned by those with a 3.7 GPA or higher

    This program is suitable for those who want a broad-based foundation in business administration, touching on the basic underlying areas: economics, marketing, finance, management and accounting. One chosen elective allows students to delve even deeper into areas of the program that hold the most interest.

  • Offered by: UC Berkeley Extension
    Cost: $6,345
    Length: 16 semester units (240 hours of instruction)
    Format: Required courses entirely online; some electives must be taken in person
    Outcome: Certificate; Certificate of Distinction awarded to those with a 3.7 GPA or higher

    Students will get a strong understanding of economic decision making through courses on statement analysis, risk management, financial analysis and modeling and international finance. Electives on quantitative data, mergers and acquisitions and business valuation can further expand the knowledge gained in the program.

  • Offered by: Harvard Extension School
    Cost: $10,200
    Length: Four courses completed within 3 years
    Format: Online
    Outcome: Certificate in Nonprofit Management

    Graduates of this certificate program will learn about the intricate needs of nonprofit organizations, including budgeting, strategic planning, analysis, reporting, fund accounting, capital funding and more. Graduates will know how to leverage fundraising techniques and principles to provide the best possible cash flow situation for nonprofits.

  • Offered by: Harvard Extension School
    Cost: $10,200
    Length: Four courses completed within 3 years
    Format: Online
    Outcome: Certificate in Organizational Behavior

    A deeper understanding of human behavior in the organizational setting is offered through this program, which includes courses in organizational behavior, conflict management, human resource management, negotiation, change management and more. The certificate might transfer to credit toward the master’s degree, if desired.

  • Offered by: Columbia University
    Cost: $1,808 per ‘point’
    Length: 24 ‘points’ (usually completed within three years)
    Format: Synchronous online learning
    Outcome: Advanced Certificate in Business

    Designed for bachelor degree holders or working professionals, this program focuses on introductions to finance and marketing, financial accounting, managing human behavior in organizations, corporate finance, marketing strategy, options and futures and security analysis. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to complete the program.

  • Offered by: University of Notre Dame
    Cost: $4,995
    Length: About eight weeks
    Format: Three courses completed online
    Outcome: Executive Certificate in Negotiation

    This program strongly targets building negotiation skills, preparing the student for more effective one-on-one work, team building, interpersonal skills, conflict management, verbal and non-verbal communications, working with difficult people and situations, and handling negotiations across cultural divides.

  • Offered by: Penn State World Campus
    Cost: $930 per credit
    Length: 9 credits (about one year)
    Format: Online only
    Outcome: Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics

    Working professionals can brush up on several key points during this program, including data, marketing and prescriptive analytics, problem-solving strategies based on those analytics, decision-making in modern enterprises, risk assessment and management, business supply side decisions and more. Graduates will be capable of analyzing large data sets and coming to a conclusion on what that data means for their business.

  • Offered by: Cornell University
    Cost: $3,600
    Length: 3 months (5 two-week courses)
    Format: Online
    Outcome: Certificate in Sales Growth

    Designed for those working in sales, this program looks at key frontline sales concepts that can help grow the bottom line, conducting micro-market analysis, strategies for streamlining, increasing face times and growing conversion rates. Organizational leaders can use this course to bring training back to their front line workers.

  • Offered by: Boston University
    Cost: $14,240
    Length: 16 credits (8-12 months)
    Format: Online
    Outcome: Graduate Certificate in Database Management and Business Intelligence

    This program provides students with a wealth of information on how manage the data coming into a business, including handling various databases (including those for data mining), designing and implementing specialized databases, ‘crunching the numbers’ of data sets, and incorporating and maintaining large business intelligence systems.

  • Offered by: Villanova University
    Cost: $4,995
    Length: About 8 weeks
    Format: Video-based online learning
    Outcome: Master Certificate in Business and Law of Sports

    This program focuses on the business of sports and how the law surrounding sports events and teams is constantly changing. Courses take students into the legal aspects of professional sports, representation of players and teams, regulations in the sports industry, and advanced topics that have legal implications, such as concussions, rules compliance, illegal gambling and more.

MOOCs & Free Certification Courses for Business

Some certifications can be earned through massive open online courses, or through free options available through a variety of colleges and universities across the nation. The chart below lists several options for free certification courses that students might find helpful.

Course Offered by Length Outcome
Diploma in Business Process Management ALISON 15-20 hours Diploma
Diploma in Business Management and Entrepreneurship ALISON 15-20 hours Diploma
Business English: Making Presentations Coursera/University of Washington Four weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate
Coaching Conversations Coursera/University of California Davis A few weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate
Inferential and Predictive Statistics for Business Coursera/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Four weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate
Determine Your Readiness for MBA Studies Canvas/Keiser University Graduate School Four weeks Badge or Certificate
International Business I Coursera/University of New Mexico Six weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate
New Models of Business in Society Coursera/University of Virginia Four weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate
Starting a Business FutureLearn/University of Leeds Twelve weeks Certificate
Applications of Everyday Leadership Coursera/University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Four weeks Certificate or Verified Certificate

Apps & Podcasts for Business Professionals

Those who are on the go might prefer a learning experience that can be digested in small bits, rather than spending time in front of a computer screen. Apps are a great way to learn while passing time on the bus or train, while podcasts are great to listen to in your car on a long commute, or on the airplane heading to the next big meeting.

Apps

Apps are great way to stay connected when traveling far away from the office. With a few swipes on a smartphone, apps can provide impressive knowledge in a certain area, tempt users with games that build their skills, provide excellent networking opportunities and offer tips for those struggling with workplace issues. Here are a few helpful options.

HootSuite

Free for up to 3 accounts
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HootSuite

Designed for those who want ultimate control of their social media accounts, this app allows for managing and scheduling social media marketing posts on multiple profiles.

LogMeIn

Free
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LogMeIn

This app allows professionals to access their computer from anywhere, download their important files to their smartphone, and thus continue conducting business as usual. PC business apps, such as Microsoft Office, can also be run on the smartphone with this app.

Expensify

Free
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Expensify

Easily track expense reports when on the go with this free app. Track time or mileage, stay on top of travel expenses, and capture receipts with a single click, allowing for comprehensive expense reports without much work.

Evernote

Free
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Evernote

This note-taking app is perfect for the busy student and hard-working professional. From images to audio notes to web pages, all information can be shared across devices and with coworkers, professors and fellow students.

 

Podcasts

Those who want to find inspiration, learn about new business ventures or find advice for striking out on their own can do it with podcasts. Covering every topic imaginable, podcasts about business can be found through hundreds of websites, each offering a unique perspective. Here are some of the more popular podcasts for those in the business world.

This near-daily podcast is considered the go-to by business professionals for pertinent, up-to-date information on the most pressing topics of the day.

This radio show, airing weekly in major markets, is full of information and musings on everything business and economics, from stocks to current events.

A fun, inspirational show from a man who made money, lost it all, did it over again – and again. His books and podcast discuss entrepreneurship at its best (and sometimes its worst).

Targeting those who are starting small businesses and looking to get out of the rat race, The Side Hustle Show offers coverage of all aspects of growing a business, including inspirational guest speakers who have already been there, done that.

Powered by the Wall Street Journal, this up-to-date podcast produces numerous pieces each day on topics that make the headlines.

This podcast is exactly what it sounds like: A series of current business tales, some inspirational, some cautionary, designed to educate, enlighten and entertain.