The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development

The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development

The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development

Are you thinking of a strategic career move? Or perhaps you’re just about to enter the world of work and want to give yourself a jumpstart.

Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of free university college courses in career development to help you reach your goal.

You may be thinking, what is a professional career development course, and how is it different from a typical training course?

Job development training courses tend to focus on teaching you specific soft and hard skills to help you meet the requirements of your role.

For instance, an accountancy firm that invests in new taxation software may need to swiftly bring all its team up to date on using the new platform.

A career development training course takes a more holistic view of where you want to take your career.

It is less about learning specific skills and more about helping you set career goals.

For example, free university college courses in career development are designed to clarify where you want to be in two, five and 10 years.

More importantly, they take you through the process of how to get there.

Who Might Benefit From Taking a Free University Career Development Course?

Free university college courses in career development are incredibly popular with employees and employers alike.

They are a great way to expand on your skills and knowledge alongside work or study.

As an employee, you become sharper and more focused on your goals. This enables you to move into more senior roles, where you have the responsibility you crave, with a paycheck to suit.

Additionally, your employer knows that you are career-focused and are willing and able to step up when the time is right.

Graduates Looking to Land Their First Job

While it is necessary to have a degree to be considered for many jobs, employers are looking for more than just good grades.

They want to know that you can transfer your degree learnings into the world of work and that your ambitions align with theirs.

There are several free university college courses in career development designed to help graduates hone in on their employability.

Preparing For a Promotion

Achieving a promotion in today’s competitive landscape can be a tricky process.

There is a lot to consider beyond just having the core competencies.

Professional development courses can focus your mind and maximize your chances by teaching you how to:

  • Give and demonstrate value to your employer
  • Express that you are open to promotion
  • Get noticed in the workplace
  • Put yourself forward for promotion

Aspiring Team Managers

Soft skills all great leaders have in common are understanding others, building empathy, gaining trust and inspiring.

Engaging in free university college courses in career development will enable you to identify what type of leader you already are. After all, there are nine different types.

By learning how to map out your career, not only will you improve your career prospects, you will also become a manager astutely aware of the needs of others.

Considering a Career Change

Taking your career down an entirely new avenue is a big decision.

Before jumping all in, it is a good idea to have a career change plan.

You will need to set short, medium and long-term goals that job development training can help you with.

For instance, a short-term career goal could be to complete some free university college courses in career development to work out your entry route.

A long-term goal would be to secure a placement at a company that supports you throughout your studies and beyond.

Those Re-Entering the World of Work

If you’ve had a couple of years out of work, you may be anxious to pick up where you left off.

Professional development training can assist you with this.

Typically, free university college courses in career development help you recognize your skills and how to harness them.

These are not just the hard skills you would have acquired in your job from several years ago, but those you have since developed.

Your course will tease these skills out of you and identify how they make you more employable.

What Should You Expect to Gain From Your Career Development Course?

Free university college career development courses focus on you as an individual.

The purpose of each program is to create a career plan that is bespoke to you.

By engaging in this type of professional development training, you can expect to:

  • Set tangible career goals and have a roadmap to achieve them.
  • Feel confident at work. By setting realistic goals that you can immediately start working towards, you will feel in control of your career.
  • Increase your job satisfaction. You will learn how to seek out opportunities to thrive in each position.
  • Earn more, quicker. By having a vision of where you want to be, you will receive those all-important promotions faster.
  • Learn new skills. The skills you learn through free university college career development courses are transferable. Therefore, by default, you will become better at planning and communicating with others.

How to Improve Your Career Development Alongside Your Course

Enrolling in professional development courses will give you a good foundation for a successful career.

However, they work best when you are engaging in other activities too.

So what else can you do?

  • Job shadowing. Ask to spend a fixed amount of time with someone already doing your ideal job. You will soon know if the role is a good fit for you.

  • Find a mentor. Identify a suitable mentor – someone who is willing to give you some of their time each week to help you establish what your skills are and how you could best use them. This could be somebody within your organization or an external professional.

  • Expand your network. Most tutors of free university college career development courses encourage this. Take the time to network within your sector – go to that careers fair, join in on that 6 a.m. networking breakfast and engage in professional communities.

  • Ask for feedback. Take the opportunity to ask for feedback – not just from your tutor but from your line manager and colleagues. How others perceive you in the workplace directly influences your chances of a promotion.

  • Be reflective. Being self-aware is one of the most important skills you can master if you want to have a successful career. Check in with yourself every couple of months and set micro-goals to help you chart your progress.

The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development

All the free university college career development courses listed below are Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This means that anyone can enroll and participate.

They are free to take but some charge a small fee for an optional certification.

Being online, many are self-paced, meaning you can complete course tutorials whenever you like.

The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development
The Best Free University and College Courses for Career Development

1. University of Queensland – Unlocking Your Employability

This career development training course teaches graduates how to be more employable.

Far from your usual resume writing and interview success courses, the program helps graduates develop the skills employers want to see.

Over seven weeks (one to two hours per week), you will learn:

  • How to transition from university to your first job
  • What employability means
  • How to identify career opportunities
  • How to translate your own experiences to be more employable
  • To develop communication skills that appeal to employers
  • What professionalism in the workplace means
  • The value of lifelong learning in career development

You can also add a verified certificate for a small fee.

Visit University of Queensland – Unlocking Your Employability

2. Central Queensland University – Work-Ready Skills

As an entry-level course for those looking to land their first job, this is one of the most useful free university college courses in career development.

Rather than taking a scatter-gun approach and applying for every job, this course teaches you work-ready skills to land the job that’s right for you.

In just two weeks (two hours per week), you will learn how:

  • Employers view the recruitment and selection process
  • To analyze a job advert confidently and correctly
  • To write a winning resume and cover letter
  • To plan for and perform well at interview
  • To settle into your new job role

If you upgrade your course by paying $35, you can access the course whenever you like and receive a certificate.

Visit Central Queensland University – Work-Ready Skills

3. University System of Georgia – Successful Career Development

If you’re already in a career you love but want to progress quicker, this is an excellent job development training course.

With a 4.67 out of 5-star rating, this four-week program is highly recommended for people at all stages of their career.

You will need to dedicate three hours per week to complete the course, which will teach you:

  • All about career habitudes. How you can form the best habits and attitudes to succeed.
  • How to find a mentor. You will learn all about the value of mentorship and how to identify someone who can help you progress your career.
  • How to NetWeave. In other words, you will discover exactly how to network (online and offline) to develop meaningful business relationships.
  • Practical LinkedIn. You will discover how to make beneficial LinkedIn connections.

The course is free to enroll in. However, to gain a certificate, you will need to pay a non-disclosed fee.

Visit University System of Georgia – Successful Career Development

4. University of Leeds – Essential Skills for Your Career Development

This is a great free university college course in career development for the modern professional.

Highly interactive, the course materials encourage you to look inwardly at what you want to achieve in your career.

In just two weeks and learning at your own pace, you:

  • Explore goal setting (both short and long-term)
  • Plan your career goals using vision boards
  • Understand how to build a professional network
  • Learn how to be flexible with your career plans

You do not need to pay a fee to receive a certificate – a PDF Certificate of Achievement is automatically available on completion.

Visit University of Leeds – Essential Skills for Your Career Development

5. University of Queensland – Becoming an Effective Leader

This is one of the best free university college career development courses for aspiring team managers and business owners.

Every employee has needs, both professionally and personally. As an effective leader, your job is to harness these.

During this career development training course you will learn how to become a strong leader.

Over 10 weeks (eight to 10 hours per week), you will discover:

  • The true meaning of leadership
  • What the different leadership styles are
  • The dynamics of leadership and power and how to influence others
  • The ethics and values of well-respected leaders
  • How to become a credible leader who is supported by people above and below

Most importantly, you will learn how to become a diverse leader.

While the course itself is free, you will need to pay approximately $100 if you wish to have your efforts certified.

Visit University of Queensland – Becoming an Effective Leader

6. University of Leeds – Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work

Whether you’re in a customer-facing role or working in a back office position, interpersonal skills are essential.

They can make or break your career.

This free university college course in career development teaches everything you need to know to work well with others.

Over two weeks (dedicating two hours per week) you will establish:

  • Your own personal communications style
  • How to use different communication platforms
  • How best to apply your communication skills in the workplace
  • The most productive way to manage challenging situations

You will also receive a certificate (free of charge) for completing the course.

Visit University of Leeds – Communication and Interpersonal Skills at Work

7. University of Virginia – [Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

If you are looking to enter project management, this career development training course is for you.

This is also the course to complete if you are thinking of enrolling in a project planning and management degree.

Over four weeks (nine hours in total), you will be taught how to:

  • Manage a project based on three objectives
  • Analyze and influence stakeholders using a power grid
  • Make sure a project is successful
  • Respond and adapt your plans
  • Execute your project to completion

You will need to purchase a certificate for a small fee if you would like to evidence your learning.

Visit University of Virginia – [Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

8. Georgia Institute of Technology – Improve Your English Communication Skills

In every business, there are certain expectations on how you must communicate.

As free university college courses in career development go, this one is beneficial where English is not your first language.

Free to enroll, you can complete one or all four courses in this specialization at your own pace.

You will learn how to:

  • Write professional emails in English. You will look at different email formats, language, formality levels, as well as organizational styles.
  • Speak English professionally. Over five weeks, you will vastly improve your business vocabulary, identify how culture influences your speech, as well as how to make sure your body language mirrors your language.
  • Build a professional ePortfolio (online resume). You will learn how to elevate your skills and experiences using the right vocabulary and promote yourself on social platforms.
  • Take your English communication skills to the next level. During course lessons and peer-based assessments, you will learn how to be even more fluent in your chosen profession.

Every course module includes a hands-on project, which you will need to finish to earn a certificate.

Visit Georgia Institute of Technology – Improve Your English Communication Skills

9. University of Washington – Introduction to Public Speaking

Being able to speak in front of people is a skill most managers must master to progress their careers.

Once you’ve decided which direction you want to take your career in, this is a great course to complete your professional development training.

During this 10-week course (three to five hours per week), you will learn how to:

  • Design and deliver convincing business arguments
  • Create and give compelling presentations
  • Speak confidently in public
  • Analyze and appraise the speeches of others

Visit University of Washington – Introduction to Public Speaking

Final Thoughts

Once you know what you want to achieve and how to get there, it is a lightbulb moment.

Having an actionable career plan will change the way you work forever. Instead of seeing barriers, you will see opportunities.

The most significant piece of advice is to balance your head and heart. You are far more likely to succeed if you love the journey you are on.

Regularly participating in free university college courses in career development will help you refine the art of self-reflection and so much more.


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