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The best online professional certifications you can get to skill up

Lydia Smith
·Writer, Yahoo Finance UK
·4-min read
Smiling girl student wear wireless headphone study online with skype teacher, happy young woman learn language listen lecture watch webinar write notes look at laptop sit in cafe, distant education
Certifications can give you an edge in a competitive job market. Photo: Getty

It’s an understatement so say that this year has been challenging in many ways. However, 2020 has been a huge boost for online education. With many stuck at home with spare time on their hands, people have turned to online courses to gain new skills and qualifications.

Whether it’s to launch a new career in a field such as healthcare or IT, to widen your skillset or simply fill the time, there are a huge number of online courses to choose from. And as the economy begins to stabilise, certifications can give you an edge in a competitive job market.

However, navigating the world of online education can be tricky, particularly as there are so many different courses to choose from. Here are some of the most popular courses and course providers taken seriously by employers.

Human Resources certifications

CIPD qualifications are a great way to develop your knowledge and enhance your career in HR and Learning & Development. You can achieve an internationally accredited CIPD Certificate or Diploma qualification from home by studying online too.

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Various institutions offer these courses digitally, including De Montfort University in Leicester and Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. To find the right certification for you, visit the CIPD website.

Project management certifications

The Association for Project Management (APM) offers a number of courses to gain professional qualifications. The chartered body for project management offers a range of different courses, from the basics and “fundamentals” through to qualifications for people already established in the field.

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Sales certifications

The Institute of Sales Management (ISM) offers qualifications which are industry-led and directly related to sales roles. These certifications are available as certificates and diplomas and are delivered both online and in person. They are located across the UK, so visit the website to find one near you.

As well as professional certifications, there are a huge number of online courses to help boost your skillset and your CV, which could make all the difference when it comes to your career. You can gain business and IT certifications, degrees and more, depending on how time you have and how much you want to spend.

Global Edulink

Global Edulink is an online learning and training provider linked with a number of professional awarding bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, Pearson, Sage and more.

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There is a huge range of subjects, from HR and office administration to animal care and education. They also offer live online courses which comprise of lectures given in real time so you can ask questions and participate alongside other students.

LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative and business skills. There are thousands of courses to choose from across a diverse set of domains like data science, marketing and much more. All of the courses are effectively free, as the first month on the platform is a trial period.


The global university training partner Coursera offers a huge range of courses online, including free ones. From languages to AI and data science, there are endless courses to choose from offered by some of the top worldwide institutions, including Stanford, Duke and Yale.

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There are free business certifications, free online training courses, short courses, free IT certifications and more. MBAs are offered at a lower price than usual, too.

Harvard University

The oldest institution of higher education in the US offers various free, online courses — MOOCs, or massive open online courses — in a variety of subjects. Harvard University courses can be audited free or students can choose to receive a verified certificate for a small fee. The topics vary widely and include history, politics, sociology and health.

The University of California Berkeley also offers online degree programs, credit and non-credit courses and MOOC projects. Some of the courses offered by Berkeley online include marketing, bitcoin, statistics and business writing.

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