How Much Should Online Courses Cost?

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(Last Updated On: March 6, 2021)

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As online learning has grown in popularity over the last two decades or so, the number of companies offering online courses has increased massively. There is a massive variation in quality and subject matter when it comes to these courses. It is now possible to go online to learn how to make an apple pie, how to code using HTML or to complete a Masters’s degree in Philosophy.

Of course, many of the courses that can teach you these things are offered for free. Other courses can cost thousands of pounds, there is a huge variation. The important thing is that you pay a fair price in relation to what you are learning. You should never feel like a course provider has cheated you in any way.

In this article, we will take a closer look at how you can make an effective assessment of the value of a course. We will give you a few pointers on what types of courses are available, and who is offering them online. You should also get a good idea about how to go about making the right choice when it comes to signing up for a course.




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Different types of courses

The main consideration when you are weighing up options for online courses is the type of course you want to take. Costs vary according to the type of skills that you want to learn. Finding a course in learning how to play a musical instrument is a lot easier to find for free than a course in computer programming, for example. In general terms, the higher level the skill being taught, the more expensive the course will be. The level of qualification that you can expect to attain from the course will also affect how much it costs. This is something that we will look at later in this article, but courses which offer a genuine qualification rather than just a sense of satisfaction will cost you more.

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Avg. Per Course


Typical costs

Many courses can be accessed for free. Basic skills courses in coding can be picked up for free at Codecademy, for example. For more detailed courses, you often have to pay around £9.99 for basic courses at a site like Udemy, for example. At a site like Linkdedin Learning, a typical course will cost £30 to £50. 

For a Masterclass course taught by experts the cost can be well over £100, depending on the type of course. If you are planning on taking an online degree course from a provider such as Cousera, then the cost can run into many thousands of pounds. You will also need to take in your living costs while

undertaking a degree, as it will take you years to complete it. A degree at Coursera can usually be expected to cost around $22,000, for example

Advice on choosing courses

When it comes to choosing a course, the most important thing to consider is whether the course is appropriate for you. You need to think about:

  • Is the course at your ability level?
  • Will it develop your skills in the ways you want?
  • Will you receive some kind of meaningful qualification?
  • Will you be able to work within the time limits of the course?
  • Does the course provider have a good reputation?

You should know your own ability level and be honest with yourself when it comes to choosing a course to suit your talents. You need to be undertaking a course in skills in which you have a genuine interest. There is also no point signing up for courses that are beyond your current level of skill and ability – you will just be wasting money and frustrating yourself.

You should always be thinking about what the course offers in terms of your needs. If you are looking to become a better cook, for example, by taking a cookery course, your needs and ambitions are likely to be different from someone who wants to improve their computer skills so that they can find a better job.

If you are taking a course because you want to improve your career prospects then you should receive a certificate of some kind with which you can demonstrate your skills. After all, you want to have something tangible to show to prospective employers. Some course providers will charge for courses for which they offer no formal certification beyond a badge on your profile on your site.

Other course providers, such as Masterclass, rely on the reputation of their celebrity tutors to draw in learners. You are paying for a luxury service, in reality, but there is often not a formal qualification at the end of it. You will receive plenty of excellent insight and training, though. Always balance up the relative merits of courses before you commit to signing up.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, assessing what you should be paying for an online course depends on a wide range of factors. The most important thing to consider is what you are going to be getting at the end of the course. You should expect to be paying far more for a full degree than you would for a three-month vocational skills course, and more for a course of that type than you would for a very basic course that only teaches one skill. It is always a good idea to check if you can learn the same basic skills for free with another provider too.

Overall, the main thing you should be looking for is good value for money. You need to have something to show for the money that you have spend and the time that you have put into studying. You should also choose a provider who offers courses in subjects that you want to study. Choosing a reputable provider with a good reputation for customer service and fair prices is a good place to start. Check the reviews here at for more help when choosing the right course provider.

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For a typical beginner’s course you are looking at around £20, but this depends on the subject that you’re study. Coding classes can cost more, while cookery courses often cost less. The best website to visit for cheap courses is Udemy.

We found that Udemy offers the cheapest courses online, starting at around £9.99 for a full 2 hour course on most subjects. Otherwise, LinkedIn Learning offers high value courses at around £30.

Some online course providers offer free courses, often at a beginner level, to most people around the world. The likes of Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy and many more offer these. 

Ashley Hughes
Ashley has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in digital marketing and SEO — while also being a keen advocate of online learning. When he’s not busy with his day job, he’s reviewing e-learning platforms to ensure consumers are getting the best value for money.