12 Best Free Online Project Management Courses in 2021

Do you constantly lead a group because you want to make sure everything and everybody is organized as planned? If so, then getting a career in project management is a good move.

Project management is one of the most demanding types of work today. Being in this job line means you need to be prepared for a whirlwind of adventure that will never make you bored. In this profession, dullness has no room. As a project manager, you lead an entire team for a project through initiation, project planning, execution of the project, control, and project completion. 

Free Online Project Mgmt Classes - fact

Project managers are charming and fantastic team players. To become a successful PM, you must adapt to different situations, environments, cultures, and people. You should also be flexible since, after all, you are the controller and builder of the team. You need to be a team leader, a co-worker, and a supervisor simultaneously. 

Project management is a very challenging career because no day is the same, and you need all your project management skills to deal with every problem. Plus, you are the first person your members approach when a problem occurs. Your members expect you to answer all their inquiries, which makes this career challenging and interesting. 

Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you have a career in Project Management?
Why enroll in a Project Management course?
How do you become a program manager?

Top 12 Free Online College Classes for Project Management in 2021

Beginner
Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management
Engineering Project Management
Construction Management Specialization
Best Practices for Project Management Success

Intermediate
Strategic Applications of IT Project and Program Management
Project Management: The Basics for Success
Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills
Leading People and Teams Specialization

Advanced
Management in Engineering: Strategy and Leadership
Project Initiation and Planning
Financial Engineering and Risk Management
Organizational Leadership
Conflict Management

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should you have a career in Project Management?

If you’re convinced that a career in project management is suitable for you, here are even more compelling reasons why having this career is a wise choice. 

Reason # 1. Project managers are very in-demand. Project management is one of today’s most in-demand professions. From 2010 to the present, there are almost 16 million project management roles worldwide. In the United States alone, project management jobs have grown from 5.4 million in 2012 to roughly 6.1 million at present, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

But why the immense growth? Project Management Institute (PMI), a global project management association, stated that the aging labor pool is the primary reason. A lot of competent project managers are either preparing to retire or are already retired. Plus, the constant technological advancements and the rapid expansion of the global market all contribute to the demand for more project managers. 

Reason # 2. Project management jobs have lucrative salaries. Project managers have highly competitive salaries. The average salaries range from $88,000 (in Florida) to $92,000 (in Virginia), and even $101,000 (in Georgia). The national average is $92,000, although this will vary on the location and industry of the job. Thus, whether you are a computer and information systems project manager or an Internet project manager, this career will offer you a lucrative salary that provides long-term stability. 

Reason # 3. Project management jobs are in a variety of industries. The Project Management Institute (PMI) said that because project management is very in-demand today by organizations all across the globe, the need for competent project managers has become more critical than ever. Many medium-to-large companies in almost every industry will always be looking for highly skilled and qualified project managers. 

Some of the industries that need competent project managers are:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Information Services
  • Utilities
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Business Services
  • Oil and Gas

At the moment, the healthcare industry is not considered a project-intensive industry. However, increasing competition and constant shifting regulations will compel organizations to improve patient care and minimize costs. Thus, the healthcare industry will generate a handful of project management positions through 2021 and onwards. 

Reason # 4. The advancement opportunities for project management jobs are plenty. With the right experience and proper education and improvement, the advancement opportunities for project management jobs are endless. The skills you gained through your degree program in project management and your on-the-job skills and experience are transferable to different industries that need schedule, budget, and scope control. 

Reason # 5. Project management is a career where you can create an impact. Along with the monetary advantages of a project management career, the difference you make in an organization is immense. Keeping all the team players motivated, coordinating the workload of each member, instilling collaboration, resolving problems, maintaining schedules and resources on track, meeting budgets– all these are critical responsibilities every project manager has to handle to keep an organization working seamlessly. And let’s admit, doing these tasks is not for everyone. 

Essentially, many companies and organizations will look for ways to become more efficient and means to help them save money, both in the short and long term. Project managers are there to help make this happen, ensuring they substantially impact any organization’s success. 

Project management classes

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Why enroll in a Project Management course?

Whether you are planning to secure a career in project management or not, studying a project management course can help your success in both your professional and personal life. 

Project management is the practice of making an idea into reality. It helps you accomplish your goals faster. When you learn how professionals plan, prioritize, and execute projects, you’ll be able to apply that in your personal and professional life. Making a plan without a goal can take up to months to accomplish. But if you approach your goals similarly as managers would, you can take steps to achieve your goals quickly. 

Project management is a very in-demand skill. It gives you an edge. From engineering to healthcare, technology, financial services, and even law, these industries need people with exceptional leadership and organizational skills– skills that project managers are schooled and trained to develop. 

It improves your quality of work. When you know how to complete your project seamlessly, you end up with less stress and better quality of work, thus leaving you more satisfied. Over an entire lifetime, a person spends thirteen years and two months working, on average. If you were to spend that length of time doing something, you might as well do something that satisfies you. 

It teaches you how to budget. Perhaps you are already aware of the basics of triple constraint– no project is quick, cheap, and sound. If it was quick and cheap, the quality is likely questionable. If it was good and cheap, it probably took a lot of time to complete. Or if it was quick and good, then it’s undoubtedly expensive. 

When you have the proper project management training, you can easily manage your resources efficiently. For instance, if a project has to be done well, you will understand to work on it ahead of it to complete it at a slower stride for a better price. 

You can meet more deadlines. Studies show that roughly 40% of people have encountered financial loss because of procrastination. Managing a project is tricky, much more if you’re managing multiple projects. When you learn about the frameworks and tools that professional program managers do, you’ll understand how to strategize your tasks and avoid procrastination in the long run,

You will learn how to lead better. When you take project management courses, this will benefit the team members you will be leading. It will also teach how to get organized, how to equip yourself when roadblocks come into the picture, and how you manage unexpected incidents before they snowball. 

ALSO READ: Business Career Guide 2021: Salary And Degree Info

How do you become a program manager?

A bachelor’s degree is usually needed for you to become a program manager. Suppose you’re planning to work at more prominent companies. In that case, most of these firms require a master’s degree in a subject like business administration, finance, or a technical issue if you’re in the field of engineering or software design. Plus, it’s an advantage if you have years of experience in human resources, program management, or a similar department. Communication skills, strong leadership qualities, and top-notch multitasking skills are essential to succeed in the role.

Top 12 Free Online College Classes for Project Management in 2021

There are several online college classes for project management that you can find online. Here are twelve of the most helpful courses you should try. 

FOR BEGINNERS

Fundamentals of Project Planning and Management

The University of Virginia, via Coursera

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 1

This informative, concise, and easy-to-digest free online course provides a solid framework/foundation for approaching projects. Everybody is engaged in projects just about everywhere. Thus, we need the correct planning principles and effective execution techniques so that our projects will run efficiently and smoothly.

This free online course teaches you the fundamental concepts of creating, planning, and executing projects. You will learn how to recognize various factors leading to a project’s success. You will understand the importance of leading a team to achieve successful projects, motivate and inspire people, influence and learn how to analyze, plan and manage projects. What’s great about this course is that you will learn from the most state-of-the-art methodologies from one of the industry’s best professors, Yael Gruskha-Cockayne, the Associate Professor of Business Administration from Darden School of Business. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificates
  • It takes 8 hours to complete
  • Suitable for beginners
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Engineering Project Management

Rice University, via Coursera

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 2

This free online specialization course teaches you to master the tools and strategies to become more effective and successful in project management. This course also gives you a better foundation of skills, confidence, and knowledge to give you a competitive edge as you progress toward leadership positions. The course is targeted at engineers who wish to improve their skills in project management in a higher leadership position. 

In this program, there are three courses:

Course 1: Engineering Project Management: Initiating and Planning. It is designed to give you the tools to initiate a project plan, organize a team, manage stakeholders and relationships, develop a project charter, and create a business case for a project. 

Course 2: Engineering Project Management: Scope, Time, and Cost Management. These three factors are the heart of successful project management. It will give you all the tools needed to develop a project scope, budget, and schedule, before you status them to forecast project performance. You will also learn about the techniques and management changes to implement them. 

Course 3: Engineering Project Management: Risk, Quality, Teams, and Procurement. You also need to learn how to manage risk, control the quality of deliverables, manage and engage people, and procure services and goods. Focus on the support functions that are essential to the success of the project. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Flexible schedule
  • It takes four months to complete (at four hours per week)
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Construction Management Specialization

Columbia University in the City of New York, via Coursera

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 3

A curated online course for civil engineering and construction professionals, the free Construction Management Specialization online course presents extensive project management knowledge coupled with the latest trends and developments within the industry. 

The specialization has five courses and covers the significant aspects of construction management like scheduling techniques and procedures, project initiation and planning, cost estimates and control, and construction project financials. Once you complete this class, you will gain critical tools and skills to stay ahead and relevant in the world of construction management. 

The courses of this specialization include:

  • Construction Project Management
  • Construction Scheduling
  • Construction Cost Estimating and Cost Control
  • Construction Finance
  • The Construction Industry: The Way Forward

Ibrahim Odeh, Ph.D., MBA, is handled by the Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable Certificate
  • Flexible schedules
  • Suitable for beginners
  • It takes seven months to complete (at 3 hours per week)
Construction management

Best Practices for Project Management Success

Rochester Institute of Technology, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 4

This course will teach you the things needed for an organization to excel and turn project management principles and theories into practice. This covers:

  • Project portfolio management
  • Best practices and methods of project management
  • The project management office
  • Organizational behavior and corporate culture
  • Project management leadership

The first part of the course is where the primary leadership and organizational elements are taught. These things are needed to provide a thriving environment so that projects will succeed. 

The second part covers the organizational methods and support structure that authorizes project managers to deliver results to the customers and businesses they serve.

This course is designed to teach you the significance of leadership and organizational characteristics for a successful project. The final part lets you explore the challenges of the different projects like global projects, projects in crisis, and managing a portfolio. It is part of the RIT Project Management MicroMaster Program. 

What you will learn:

  • Best methods in leadership and organizational characteristics
  • How to reach a successful project management
  • How to breeze through challenges of the many types of projects

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Self-paced
  • Shareable certificate
  • Optional upgrade available
  • It takes eleven weeks to complete (at eight to twelve hours per week)
  • Graded assignments and exams

FOR INTERMEDIATE LEARNERS

Strategic Applications of IT Project and Program Management

The University of Washington, via edX

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 5

This free course lets you learn about the frameworks and standards of project management that deliver business benefits and increase efficiency. The course teaches you about the standard methodologies used in project management in the IT field and why these are effective. 

The topics include:

  • Project management roles and organizational culture
  • Relationships among programs, projects, and portfolios
  • Project management lifecycles and methods and their applications

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Self-paced
  • Shareable certificate
  • Optional upgrade
  • It takes six weeks to complete, at two-five hours per week
  • Graded assignments and exams
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Project Management: The Basics for Success

The University of California, Irvine, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 6

This excellent course improves literacy and skills for project management. The learning environment of this class is a learn-at-your-own pace environment, making it flexible to learn. 

The course combines the elements of Team Leadership and Project Management into one system. You will get a deeper understanding of leadership obligations through class reflections and engagements, so you will become more prepared in the future and apply this knowledge to the project environment. 

After you finish the course, you should be able to:

  • Learn how to communicate your project status reports and performance to stakeholders effectively
  • Know how to assess progress and monitor project activities
  • Apply the best methods to boost skills and competencies in controlling and planning projects to guarantee successful outcomes
  • Recognize project cycle stages
  • Learn about the techniques and tools for strengthening and developing the best teams and team members
  • Understand the value of leadership in project management

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable Certificates
  • It takes eight hours to complete
  • Practical notes and referral videos for further understanding
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills

The University of Michigan, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 7

This course teaches the four critical steps to achieve a successful negotiation:

Prepare: Plan Your Negotiation Strategy. It focuses on the first few steps in the negotiation process: planning. You will learn how to complete a negotiation analysis to help you set up for success. 

Negotiate: Use Key Tactics for Success. It focuses on two critical topics: being assertive with your negotiations and the psychological tools you can use when in a negotiation. 

Close: Create a Contract. This course will focus on the negotiations in a business deal once you reach an initial agreement. This is where you make a binding contract. You are also taught to decide whether you need a lawyer or simply act as your own when making contracts. 

Perform and Evaluate: The End Game. This focuses on doing and checking your agreement. No problem if both parties will perform. But what do you do when one fails? This is where you will understand more about the dispute resolution process.

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free 
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificate
  • It takes 17 hours to complete 
  • Suitable for beginners
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Leading People and Teams Specialization

The University of Michigan, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 8

The free online specialization course teaches you the leadership skills you need for project management, like motivating and inspiring people, influencing without authority, or successfully leading teams. 

A great thing about this free course is that you will learn directly from exceptional leaders and industry experts like John Beilein, the Head Coach of the men’s basketball team of the University of Michigan, and Jeff Brodsky, Global Head of HR for Morgan Stanley. 

This specialization has five courses:

Course # 1. Inspiring and Motivating Individuals. Here, you will learn to draft a shared vision for your team and successfully lead your members in motivating and inspiring people. You will set realistic goals and expectations in ways that inspire your team to achieve a shared vision. 

Course # 2. Managing Talent. It is where you are taught about the best practices of project management: choosing, recruiting, and onboarding talent. You’ll also discover the basic approaches when evaluating the performance of employees. All in all, you will gain a solid understanding of how to manage talent and create a talent pipeline for a team and an organization. 

Course # 3. Influencing People. Learn about the different effective ways of building, developing, and sustaining power within an organization. 

Course # 4. Leading Teams. Learn how to build your team, boost your collaboration and teamwork, and sustain your team’s performance via constant improvement and learning.

Course # 5. Leading People. You will know the critical goals of an interview process and understand how you should approach leaderships challenges at work, given your expertise, previous work experience, and knowledge. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Flexible schedule
  • Suitable for beginners
  • It takes five months to complete (at 3 hours per week)

FOR ADVANCED LEARNERS

Management in Engineering: Strategy and Leadership

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, via edX

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 9

This course is part of MIT’s Principles of Manufacturing MicroMasters programs and is designed to give you much-needed exposure to the best practices and principles of engineering management. Formally called Management in Engineering II, this course will teach you to analyze business cases on different topics. You will have the chance to apply fundamental business ideas from strategies and leadership by analyzing case studies. This course strongly focuses on using your skills and management tools needed for the management of innovation. 

For graduate engineers, this course gives you a thorough overview of management issues. All the topics are approached based on each one’s career option– whether as a manager, an engineering practitioner, or an entrepreneur. You are also provided with a selected reading from cases and tests that develop management tools and individual skills. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Optional upgrade available
  • Instructor-paced
  • It takes eight weeks to complete (at 10-20 hours per week)
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Project Initiation and Planning

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, via Coursera

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 10

As the name implies, this free course focuses on planning and initiating projects. It covers the more conventional linear process of project management, such as the waterfall approach. It also utilizes the iterative and dynamic system of hybrid and agile models so that students have a free hand in deciding which method is ideal for your project to maximize the possibilities of a successful outcome. 

This course has four modules:

Module # 1: Waterfall Approach- The Basics. This is where you are taught about the life cycle of a project thru the more traditional approach of project management. You will understand why the process is called waterfall and how that name dictates the process.

Module # 2: Waterfall Approach- Get the Project Going. Learn about your project planning phase thru this course. How do you get your team on board? Find out how a collaborative building plan can help manage tasks, risk, and stakeholders. 

Module # 3. Waterfall Approach- Create a Plan for Action. This is where you will learn different methods to help you develop a more detailed project plan– the plan that reveals the critical tasks. 

Module # 4. Agile-Initiating and Planning for Dynamic Projects. Agile project management is the method best used when project requirements are not fully understood, and you will learn that thru this course. 

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Take twenty-two hours to complete
  • Very insightful materials
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Financial Engineering and Risk Management

Columbia University, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 11

This free online course is suitable for professionals and aspiring learners who plan to hone their quantitative finance skills. You will learn about asset allocation, derivative pricing, portfolio optimization, and other applications surrounding financial engineering like commodity and energy derivatives, real options, and algorithmic trading. Thru these financial engineering topics, you are guaranteed the proper preparation for resolving related problems both in the industrial and academic worlds. 

The courses include:

  • Introduction to Financial Engineering and Risk Management
  • Term-Structure and Credit Derivatives
  • Optimization Methods in Asset Management
  • Advanced Topics in Derivative Pricing
  • Computational Methods in Pricing and Model Calibration

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Flexible deadlines
  • Shareable certificate
  • Suitable for the intermediate learners (those with knowledge in probability, linear algebra, statistics, and calculus)
  • It takes seven months to complete (at three hours per week)
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Organizational Leadership

Northwestern University, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 12

This is a seven-month specialization course that prepares you to become successful with your being a team leader of an organization. It focuses on effective collaboration by creating and sharing powerful stories, building, and inspiring teams, creating distinct methods to influence appropriately and recognizing underlying customer analytics to deliver impact. 

The course gears aspiring project managers to spearhead change and leverage various functions and roles in for-profit institutions. This course has five courses:

  • High-Performance Collaboration: Leadership, Teamwork, and Negotiation
  • Leadership Communication for Maximum Impact: Storytelling
  • Leadership Through Social Influence
  • Leadership Through Marketing
  • Leadership Through Design Innovation

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Flexible deadline
  • Ideal for the intermediate-level learners
  • It takes seven months to complete
  • Course videos and readings
Free Online College Classes for Project Management - Divider

Conflict Management

The University of California, Irvine, via Coursera 

Free Online College Classes for Project Management 13

This free online specialization will hone your skills in conflict resolution, employ the power of positive conflict, and improve your intercultural communication skills. Your professional and personal relationships are strengthened by learning how to address conflicts between people and within organizations. 

This specialization has four courses:

Course # 1. Types of Conflict. You will learn about the kinds of conflict and embrace its positive aspects. This also teaches you how you can navigate conflicts to positive resolution. 

Course # 2. Conflict Resolution Skills. You can develop the skill of resolving a conflict positively. This lesson teaches you how to listen and use suitable communication methods to find a resolution– whether positive or negative. You will practice strategic and appropriate communication skills, examine listening skills, and learn how to develop a conflict management plan that will yield positive results. 

Course # 3. Intercultural Communication and Conflict Resolution. This course helps you recognize dimensions of intercultural interactions that will add to the conflict, study the dynamics, and plan a successful strategy for intercultural exchanges.

Course # 4. Conflict Management Project. This is where you will apply what you have learned from the first three lessons. This course is where you will create a conflict management portfolio that demonstrates the nature of a conflict and the roles of each participant in the conflict.

Best Features:

  • 100% online and free
  • Shareable certificate
  • Flexible deadline
  • Ideal for beginners
  • It takes four months to complete (one hour per week)

Regardless of your dream job, it’s undeniable that you can benefit a lot from investing in a project management course. This versatile degree will give you all the skills needed to become an attractive and highly trained employee who will surely be an asset to any team.