With the global economy navigating a new normal, businesses around the world need project managers who can think strategically and execute successfully. As a result, the project management field is growing quickly, with increased demand and rising salaries drawing more people to the profession. If you’re interested in breaking into project management, you’re probably asking a number of questions: How do I get started? Is there a simple guide on how to become a project manager? Do I need a project management certification? What kind? Where can I learn how to become a certified project manager? What can I do with a project management certification? Where can I learn the essentials of project management to start leading projects and gain valuable experience? What is the best project management certification for me?

These five project management courses online are great options for beginners, all offered by reputable Project Management Institute-registered education providers. Get the knowledge you need to be confident in your new role, whether it be an IT project manager or a digital project manager, with one of these convenient online courses. You'll also find great preparation material for certifications, including the Project Management Professional certification and much more. These courses would also be great for an assistant project manager working toward being a fully-fledged project manager. 

What to expect from project management courses online

Project management courses cover all the things you need to know to successfully pitch, plan, and carry out a project. Whether you’re a complete beginner or you find yourself knee-deep in a project you need help with, these flexible project management courses are available 24/7. 

The majority of online project management courses are self-paced, meaning you can participate in the lessons whenever you have time for them. The format typically includes on-demand video, downloadable worksheets, and access to one or more teachers who can help mentor you or answer questions along the way. If you meet for live classes, they’ll likely be virtual and take no more than one to two sessions per week. On average, project management courses last from four to six weeks, assuming you move through at least half a module per week. Students who take project management courses may be working full-time, raising a family, or going to school for another degree. Whatever the situation, there’s a project management course for your needs and level of experience. 

When you sign up for a project management course, the provider will likely give you required reading materials, worksheets, and message board access to connect with other students. For the most part, all you need is an internet connection and a computer. If your course includes an exam, you may need to coordinate a test date and time with the school. Learn creative skills, upgrade your project management resume, and network with experienced professionals through any of the courses we’ve highlighted below. 

Can you get free project management courses online?

While there aren’t many free project management courses, there are plenty of free educational resources immediately available to you. For example, Wrike offers the Project Management Guide. It’s a comprehensive survival manual for everyone, from professional project managers with years of experience to people suddenly asked to take on their first project. Our guide includes all the basics, must-know methodologies, lifecycle management tips, software tools, and techniques for managing teams you’ll ever need. 

One key thing to know about free project management courses: they provide great information, but they may lack hands-on exercises and mentorship opportunities. 

But the biggest and most important difference is certification. Whether it’s an official certification from an accredited school or a validation from an established program, an exam is typically a feature that paid classes offer that free ones do not.

Project management courses for beginners:

1. Project Management Basics - An Official PMI Online Course

Provider: Project Management Institute
Cost: $400
Duration: On-Demand
What you'll learn: This 23-hour education series covers the foundational concepts of project management, including key terminology, an explanation of the project lifecycle, project constraints, a three-hour practice exam, an introduction to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK), and prep for the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) exam.

2. Project Management Fundamentals
Provider: Ed2Go
Cost: $149
Duration: On-demand course accessible for six weeks
Accreditation: PMI Registered Education Provider
What you'll learn: Get an introduction to essential project management techniques and the PMBoK, and prepare for the Project Management Professional (PMP certification) and CAPM certification exams. Participants will learn how to prepare for, plan, and complete a project successfully, from holding an effective project kickoff meeting to risk management and quality assurance.

3. Improving Your Project Management Skills: The Basics for Succes

Provider: American Managers' Association
Cost: $2,445
Duration: Three Days
Accreditation: PMI Registered Education Provider
What you’ll learn: This hands-on project management workshop covers project management techniques, tools, and best practices. Get a comprehensive overview of core project management concepts and terminology, from Work Breakdown Structures, Gantt charts, determining critical path, estimating project timelines, managing stakeholders, and defining project scope, schedule, budget, and risk.

4. Successful Project Management
Provider: SkillPath
Cost: $199 for a yearly membership
Duration: Six self-paced modules
Accreditation: PMI Registered Education Provider
What you’ll learn: This course is designed for beginner and accidental project managers trying to manage projects on top of their regular job responsibilities. Learn how to initiate, manage, and execute any project using one of the many project management styles taught in this class. 

Resources for new project managers

Find introductions to core project management concepts, terminology, tools, and processes with our project management advice. And if you have any books, courses, or other resources you found helpful as a new project manager, share them with us in the comments below!

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