Are Coursera Certificates Worth it? Unveiling the Value

Last Updated on June, 2024

Coursera offers free courses anyone can take to learn more about their favorite subjects. They can help bolster existing skills or build new ones, which is helpful for obvious reasons.

However, a downside to free courses is that they don’t let you earn Coursera certificates.

To get a Coursera certificate, you need to pay for the online courses you take on the platform. That way, you get access to more features, and a Coursera certificate at the end of it. But, are Coursera certificates worth it?

Should you go for these or are you better off learning what you want with free courses to save money? We’re going to help you decide the answer for yourself by telling you more about Coursera certificates and what they’re good for.

Quick Summary

While Coursera certificates may not hold the same weight as a college degree, they can still be a valuable addition to a resume and can improve job prospects. However, they may not be as hands-on and may not count for college credit.

Coursera offers a variety of certificates in different fields and subjects, making it a convenient platform for anyone looking to learn new skills or advance in their field of interest.

The different ways to earn a Coursera certificate, such as through courses, specializations, professional certificates, guided projects, and MasterTracks, offer flexibility for users depending on their goals and level of commitment.

What Kind of Certificates Does Coursera Offer?

Coursera offers certificates that focus on all kinds of fields and subjects, just like their courses. You can get a full course for any of the subjects available on the platform.

a screenshot of coursera earn a certificate

This includes a variety of subjects, such as:

  • Computer Science
  • Digital Marketing
  • Machine Learning
  • Project Management
  • Data Science
  • … and so much more!

With dozens of options to choose from, you can easily find something that suits your preferred field and get a certificate for it.

Once you complete a course for a specific subject, you’ll get a certificate for it. But there’s more to earning a course certificate than just that.

If you want to learn more about Coursera platform, head over to this review.

How Can You Earn a Coursera Certificate?

In the simplest terms, you earn an online certificate by completing an online course. But, as we already mentioned, there’s more to it than that. Other than the subject itself, there are so many options when it comes to which specific Coursera certificate you want.

The way to earn each Coursera certificate is different. That can confuse newer users who don’t know what the best option for them is. So, here are all the different options on the Coursera website that you can use to get a certificate.

Coursera Course

The first and most popular way to earn a Coursera certificate is to get it through one of their courses. These are widely available on the platform more than any other option and cover a wide variety of subjects as well.

a screenshot of coursera course catalog and categories

Every course is different and unique, with each of them taking a different amount of time to complete, which depends more on the student than it does on the course.

Unlike a free course, the paid ones give unlimited access to the content within the course. This comes in addition to loads of other features.

Paid Coursera courses let you watch bonus videos that cover additional info, take part in graded assignments, get feedback from instructors, and more.

Depending on how you do with all these things, you’ll earn a Coursera Certificate at the end of it all. It’s that simple.

Plus, most Coursera courses only take a few hours to complete. You just have to make an initial purchase and learn when you have the time.

Coursera Specialization

Coursera Specializations are a lot like Coursera Courses but differ in some small ways. The biggest difference between them is all the time and effort it takes.

a screenshot of the coursera specialization courses

A Coursera Specialization can take months to finish. That’s because these are a collection of multiple smaller courses connected to one main subject. Once you’re done with all of them, you’re granted a Specialization certificate at the end.

Everything else is pretty much the same. The only key difference is that these might be much longer and not as flexible. You also have to subscribe to these on a monthly basis until you’re done with the Specialization.

While a regular course helps you learn and gain skills, Specializations can help you straight up master them.

Professional Certificates

Professional Certificates are similar to Specialization courses, or even regular courses but have a couple of key differences. The most significance difference is the type of degree you’ll be getting at the end.

a screenshot of the coursera professional certificates

When you complete a Coursera course, you’re awarded with a Coursera certificate. However, when you complete a Professional Certificate program, you get a Professional Certificate. Easy enough, right?

Now, the main thing you need to focus on is the difference between these two certificates. Both of them are pretty good and offer identical benefits. However, a Coursera certificate is something you get from the platform itself.

On the other hand, Professional Certificates come from Coursera partners. These certificates featured on the platform come from leading companies across the world, like Google and Microsoft.

So, you’ll get a certificate from the same company that offered the Professional Certificates in the first place.

The structure of these is identical to Specializations. They usually take months to complete too and work on a monthly subscription. But, they tend to be longer at times and might even be more challenging to complete depending on the company offering the program.

Specializations take skills you’ve learned or mastered and help you turn them into job earning opportunities. They’re great for someone looking to bolster their CV and line up the kind of job they’re most interested in.

Guided Projects

The easiest way to earn a Coursera certificate is through Guided Projects. These are available on the platform and can be accessed for a cheaper price. 

a screenshot of the introduction to guided projects

Through Guided Projects, users can put their skills in the spotlight and share them with others while working on a cloud desktop workspace. You complete them in a split-screen setting, focusing on doing your project while tutorials help you improve.

These projects only need a few hours of commitment because they’re much shorter than full-on Coursera courses. At the end of those few hours, you might need to take a quiz. If you do well on the quiz, you get a Coursera certificate of completion

Most of these projects are beginner level and a great way to quickly familiarize yourself with the newest concepts, strategies, and tech in your desired field.

That kind of information is great for impressing potential employers in a specific field and can help practically if you get the job you want too. Like a regular course, Guided Projects are great for learning new skills or gaining new knowledge.

Coursera MasterTrack

Coursera MasterTracks are programs issued by leading universities across the world. Just like any other course, you can take them completely online. But, they require a lot more attention, a lot more time, and a lot more commitment.

a screenshot of the mastertrack certificates

MasterTracks are basically Master’s degree programs that you can take while getting live feedback from instructors. You also interact with others in a group learning environment.

Throughout the program, you’ll gain more skills and experience in a specific field throughout the program. At the end, depending on how you do, you’ll be given a university-issued Coursera certificate.

Thanks to these programs, you can add huge names like Yale, Stanford University, Arizona State University, and more to your resumé. That’s something any employer will find attractive.

What Does a Coursera Certificate Feature? (And What it Doesn’t)

Now you know more about the ways of getting a certificate from the platform and the variety of options available.

But, what exactly is on Coursera Certificates? If you’re interested in knowing what each of them features, here’s a quick rundown:

  • The name of the course on Coursera.
  • A signature from the tutor of the course.
  • A link that proves the authenticity of your Coursera certificate.
  • A confirmation mark from Coursera.
  • The logo of the institution that offered the course.
a screenshot of a professional coursera certificate

All these little details on a Coursera certificate tell employers all they need to know to prove that your certificate is legitimate.

As for some things that Coursera certificates don’t have that regular ones usually do:

  • A photo of the recipient.
  • The time it took until course completion.
  • What your final grade was at the end of the course?

How Much Does a Coursera Certificate Cost?

Since there are so many subjects and hundreds of different agencies behind every course, prices can vary. Then you have all the different certificate programs we discussed earlier that have different price ranges too.

So, instead of making you sit through confusing paragraph after paragraph explaining everything, here’s a table that should give you a general idea of how much certificates on Coursera cost:

ProgramTime Until CompletionCostFree Trial
Regular Course4-12 Hours of Studying$49-$99Yes
SpecializationUnder 6 Months$39-$99 per monthYes
Professional CertificateUnder 12 Months$39-$99 per monthYes
Guided Project1-3 Hours of Studying$9.99No
Coursera MasterTrackUnder 8 Months$2000-5000 (Payment may be monthly or one-time)Yes

These are the general prices for completing each of these options, as well as how long it takes to earn certificates with each one. Depending on which of these suits you best, any of them are pretty good options for getting a Coursera certificate.

But, there is one extra option too that might be more helpful for users who want to study especially more. If you plan to get many Coursera certificates instead of sticking to one, Coursera Plus might be the plan for you.

If you want to learn more about Coursera cost, checkout this article.

Coursera Plus: What is it and What Are its Benefits?

Coursera Plus is a subscription service for Coursera that lets users pay a certain amount every month to gain unlimited access to thousands of courses.

You get to go through the paid version of courses as often as you like, earning all the Coursera certificates you want as long as you meet the criteria.

Plus, it’s not just regular courses. This service even has Specializations, Professional Certificates, and so much more.

It also includes pretty much every subject, meaning it’s a useful subscription for absolutely anyone who plans to use Coursera a lot.

coursera plus subscription plan by coursera

The price of Coursera Plus is $59 a month, or an annual fee of $399, saving you lots of money in the long run. For this subscription rate, you can earn all the Coursera certificates you want without worrying about paying more or having any limits imposed on you.

What Are Some of the Best Coursera Courses & Certificates?

You can find just about any kind of course on Coursera. It covers so many topics and helpful things that there is something that everyone is bound to like.

However, since everyone has their unique goals, there isn’t a Coursera certificate that holds greater value than another.

a screenshot of the best coursera courses

We’ll go over some of the most popular courses on Coursera to give you an idea on the quality of Coursera.

This list doesn’t cover every single field you can learn on the platform, but it does still include some of the best online courses it has to offer:

  • Google IT Support: A beginner level course that can kick start anyone’s journey in the field of IT. Completion grants the user a Coursera certificate and opens up huge career prospects. It’s also better rated than most courses on the platform, which is really saying something.
  • Introduction to Data Science Specialization: This course from IBM gives its students a detailed walkthrough of all the most important basics of data science. Users get to learn highly important skills related to the field and earn a certificate that shows their progress.
  • Deep Learning Specialization: Anyone interested in AI can take this modern and fully up-to-date Coursera course from DeepLearning.AI to step into this ever-evolving field. You’ll learn how to build neural networks and various other things, as well as apply them in practical situations.
  • Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate: If you’re interested in social media and want to earn a living out of it, this course helps you learn more about all things marketing. You can step in completely inexperienced and still earn a certificate while gaining serious skills related to building an online presence for yourself or your client.

These are just some examples of top Coursera certificates that are sure to impress most employers. You can find courses from organizations and prestigious universities all across the world.

Rest assured that you’ll walk away from them with serious growth and new skills as long as you pay attention. Plus, you’ll have a certificate that’ll show that growth too, and make you stand out in front of potential employers.

What You Need to Be Aware of Prior to Enrolling in a Coursera Certificate Program?

Coursera is one of the world’s leading online learning platforms and so far, we’ve walked you through the great quality and pricing options they have for users.

However, notthing is completely perfect. There are some things you should know about before chasing Coursera certificates, and we’d like to go through those next.

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Trials: Coursera almost always delivers in terms of quality, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful. Most courses and programs have free trials, and you should always test them out to see if a particular course is the right one for you.

a screenshot of the 7-day free trial offered by coursera

Don’t Go Searching For College Credit: Unfortunately, as helpful as they are, Coursera certificates are rarely accredited. Unless you’re doing a MasterTrack program, none of the courses on the platform will give you credit towards your degree, unless stated otherwise.

Not Every Employer Will Accept Them: Most employers respect Coursera certificates, and they will help your chances of getting a job. But that’s not going to always be the case. It’s best to discuss with potential employers beforehand if they respect a Coursera certificate or not.

Prices Are Regional: Prices for taking Coursera courses can be different depending on where you live. They can be higher or lower than the general prices we discussed earlier. You’ll have to check Coursera’s site for additional information about your specific region.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Getting Certificates From Coursera

Now that you know all the most important things about Coursera certificates, including some things to watch out for, we’re almost done.

But let’s go over some of the biggest pros and cons regarding certificates from Coursera, including a few we haven’t discussed already.

Let’s start with the positives:

  • Convenience: It has never been easier to earn certificates. Thanks to online learning platforms like Coursera, you can sit in your room for a few hours every day and get useful information, learn new skills, as well as earn a nice certificate at the end of it.
  • Access Anywhere: So many people are locked out of a good education simply because of where they live. But Coursera lets users get top-quality education no matter where they live.
  • Affordability: Coursera isn’t necessarily cheap. But, it definitely does offer more affordable prices compared to getting a certificate from a school or other institution
  • Self-Paced: Since they’re online, pretty much every course on Coursera lets you go at your own pace. You don’t have to worry about not understanding certain concepts or something of the sort. Just keep learning your way and at your preferred pace without issues.
  • Resumé Additions: Coursera makes it easier than ever to fill your resumé with respected certificates and get the exact job you want. You can take any course in your desired field as long as Coursera offers certificates for it.

However, as we mentioned earlier, not every little detail is perfect. There are certainly some problems with a certificate from Coursera, as well as the platform in general.

Here are some of them:

  • No Practical Skill Use: Since you sit alone (usually) and don’t do any practical work for pretty much any Coursera course, it can be hard to get practical experience. This can be something employers don’t appreciate in certain fields.
  • No College Credit: Unless you’re doing MasterTrack programs, almost all certificates on Coursera will not count towards your college degree. They aren’t accredited, which means they aren’t a lot of help to students and are more suited for those looking for a job. The ones that do count are rare and highly specific.
  • Confusing Pricing: While this isn’t necessarily an issue with a Coursera certificate, it can still be pretty difficult to understand the platform’s course pricing. There are lots of different options, and it’s hard to decide which one can be the best for you.

Adding Coursera Certificates to Your LinkedIn and Resumé

If you already have Coursera certificates or plan to get them, it’s important to know how you show them off. For starters, you should know that Coursera doesn’t offer hard copies of certificates. You need to get them printed yourself after earning one.

That way, you can keep a physical copy with you. Plus, you can keep a link on you at all times that showcases the certificate digitally, which is something much more permanent than a physical copy.

This link can be found in the Accomplishments menu of your profile on Coursera.

a screenshot of adding a certificate to resume or linkedin

As for adding it to your resumé, you can add the course name you completed to the resumé file.

This should be followed by the name of the organization that offered the course and a summary of what it showcased.

That should be enough for most employers, but those who ask for extra details can be shown the link or physical copies.

If you want to display Coursera certificates on your LinkedIn page, you can do that by:

  • Go to the Accomplishments menu on your Coursera account through their website.
  • Find the certificate you want to share and click “add to LinkedIn”, which should be an option under it.
  • The website will give you a step-by-step guide on how to do this. Just follow that, and you’ll be done with the whole process in no time at all!
a screenshot of adding a certificate to linkedin

Is Getting a Certificate From Coursera Worth it?

Finally, let’s answer the question you’ve been waiting so long to hear the answer for. Are Coursera certificates worth it, or are you better off with other options?

It’s one of the leading online learning platforms for a reason and is respected across institutions around the world. They even have partnerships with reputed universities and companies across the world.

Their certificates are easy to get, relatively cheap, and convenient. All those things make us believe that Coursera certificates are definitely worth it if you can afford them.

They’ll add to your CV, make it easier to impress employers, help you get seriously good skills for your preferred field of work, and line up the perfect job for yourself. Anybody would be a fan of all that, right?

But, if you’re still skeptical and don’t want to take just our word for it, Coursera offers users free trials on pretty much any course it offers.

You can use those to test out the programs you think are especially interesting and decide if getting that particular certificate is worth it or not.

Conclusion

Coursera certificates are a really neat way to improve your portfolio, and we think they’re worth it for a number of reasons already discussed above. Sure, there are certain drawbacks. But, this is a pretty clear case of the pros outweighing the cons.

If you’re in a situation where you can afford Coursera, give their certificates a shot. They’ll help you out in the long run, and give you some useful skills in the process.

Hopefully, all these details were able to give you a perfectly clear answer, and helped you decide whether Coursera certificates are worth it or not for you specifically!

FAQs

Yes, Coursera certificates can help you get a job. By adding relevant certificates to your resumé, you can impress potential employers during interviews.

No, Coursera certificates do not count towards a college degree. However, they can count towards a MasterTrack program.

No, Coursera’s free courses do not provide certificates. A payment is required to obtain them.

Yes, Coursera certificates are worth putting on your resume as they showcase relevant skills and continuous learning.

Yes, Coursera certificates are generally respected, especially when they’re from well-known universities or organizations.

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Carlos Eduardo
Author
Carlos Eduardo
Hey there, I’m Carlos Eduardo, the Founder and Author of Scorebeyond. Delving deep into 20+ years of education transformation through innovative e-learning, I’ve poured my expertise into this platform. My enduring legacy continues to drive the path towards a future empowered by knowledge!

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