10 Places to Get a Free Business Education Online

Getting a business education doesn't have to be expensive. An increasing number of colleges, universities and even nonprofit organizations offer free business courses online. Find out how you can sign up for these courses and what you can get from them.

Online Business Courses for Credit

Online business courses are plentiful online and don't require students to register or pay tuition, but these courses don't lead to college credit. Students who would rather earn credit for the courses they take online might want to consider resources that charge a fee in exchange for access to online course materials.

Study.com offers this form of distance learning through its quick and informative video lessons and corresponding self-assessment quizzes. Students also have access to free transcripts for the video lessons. These resources can prepare students to earn real college credit. Business education options at Study.com include Business 101: Principles of Management, Business 102: Principles of Marketing and Business 104: Information Systems and Computer Applications courses. Topics covered in the Business 101: Principles of Management course include:

  • Management Basics - Study different managers' roles and examine the four functions of management.
  • Leading in Organizations - This chapter explores the difference between leadership and management and how the two work together. Various leadership styles are also covered.

Business 102: Principles of Marketing covers such topics as:

Business 104: Information Systems and Computer Applications offers these courses and more:

  • Network Systems Technology - Examine client/server systems, network operating systems and wireless computing devices in this chapter.
  • Systems Development - Subjects include life cycles, graphical user interfaces, application development processes and project management tools.

Free Online Non-Credited Business Courses

MIT OpenCourseWare - Sloan School of Management (mit.edu)

MIT OpenCourseWare might be the next best thing to getting an MIT education for free. Through this free online publication you can find bachelor-level business courses, as well as master-level courses, offered by MIT's Sloan School of Management. The curriculum includes lecture notes, videos, labs demonstrations and more. No registration is required and more than 50 courses are available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov)

The Small Business Administration has one of the best selections of business courses on the web. Topics include everything from starting a business and business management to government contracting and international trade. Most courses take only 30 minutes to complete.

The Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA Program (managementhelp.org)

Free Management Library's Free Nonprofit Micro-eMBA(SM) Program is a great resource for students wishing to learn more about nonprofit management. Completion of this program will not result in an MBA degree, but enrollment is free. The amount of time it takes to complete the program will depend on how fast you learn, but you may expect to spend at least 200 hours on coursework.

My Own Business - (myownbusiness.com)

Nonprofit organization My Own Business, Inc. offers a free online business administration course that would be beneficial to new managers and to anyone who is interested in starting a business. This comprehensive course is split up into 14 sessions covering topics like business plans, accounting, marketing, insurance, e-commerce and international trade. For under $100, students can also acquire the accompanying textbook and a certificate of completion.

University of California Irvine (uci.edu)

The University of California Irvine offers several free business courses in English and Spanish through their OpenCourseWare site. Courses are broken down into lessons, and include optional reading lists for students who want to dig deeper into the course subjects.

Kutztown University - Small Business Development Center (kutztownsbdc.org)

The Small Business Development Center at Kutztown Univeristy of Pennsylvania offers an online business course that can take less than one week to complete. The course presents strategies for crafting and executing business visions, mission statements and goals. The SBDC also provides strategic planning software free to all course participants.

University of California Berkeley

The University of California Berkeley offers a new selection of business courses each semester. Courses are lecture-based and typically include either audio or video or both.

Financial Management Training Center Courses (exinfm.com)

The Financial Management Training Center provides 20 free downloadable business courses for people who need to learn the finer points of financial management. All courses can be taken online. They include full exams as well as evaluation forms for people seeking Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits.

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