How Much Are Online Classes – and Are They Worth It

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( — March 11, 2020) — These days, more and more people are considering e-learning. There are a lot of advantages to it – not only does it offer unmatched flexibility, but you can also learn about the most modern technologies and innovative approaches, as the materials are updated way more often than academic curriculum. It’s also a great choice for when you need to master a single subject (e.g., using a particular kind of software). Anyhow, when it comes to choosing, the question of pricing is one of the most relevant. How much are online classes, and does the quality match the price?

What makes up the price of an online course

Just like in any commercial market, the pricing directly reflects the competition and the diversity of the product. If you ever wanted to find out how much online classes are and checked out a platform or two, you already know the pricing is tough to define. You can find courses that cost the same as a cup of your favorite coffee, but some can really break the bank. 

In the end, there are a few things the pricing of online courses boils down to – and the quality is far from the top of the list. Let’s review the basic elements you should take into account when choosing an online course:

  • The total length of the course. A course that takes up more of your time and offers a lot more study material will usually be pricier. In most cases, it’s classes that teach rather broad topics – all-inclusive coding bootcamps could be a nice example. Acquiring a highly specific skill, on the other hand, will take a lot less time and, in turn, be less costly: for example, this half-an-hour course on drawing aliens with Adobe Photoshop costs less than ten bucks.
  • The supplier of the classes. If you’re choosing an official course from a university (e.g., Harvard is offering multiple classes every year), you are much more likely to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars. On online course platforms, the instructors are free to decide how much online classes are, so the variety can be immense.
  • Formal acknowledgment. In most cases, cheap online courses will not issue an official certificate of completion after you finish it. This may not be a problem if you’re just looking to strengthen your skills or learn something new for non-career-related reasons. However, if you’d prefer to include the finished classes into your resume, you should make sure you have official certifications (which, in most cases, has a price tag attached).
  • The format of the lectures. You can choose from video, text, or interactive courses online. The ones that mainly consist of text are the cheapest to make, so they’re rarely expensive. Filming and editing videos, as well as building interactive applications, comes with a price, and the instructors will take that into consideration when choosing how much online classes are going to cost their users.

A penny saved is a penny (l)earned

If you’re not happy with how much online classes are when it comes to the topic you’re into, there are two ways to cut your losses: you can either wait for special offers, or apply for a scholarship.

Just like most businesses, most of the online course platforms have regular sales on their websites. All the usual favorites of an avid shopper apply here – Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), and Boxing day (the day after Christmas) are often the best times to do your shopping. You’ll also never go wrong by waiting for a traditional holiday, such as Easter or the New Year.

On some platforms, you can also find special scholarship programs. If you receive one, you can enroll in a course for free and not worry about how much online classes are at all. In some programs, you can even receive a financial reward upon finishing your course on or before the deadline. If you’re facing financial challenges, this can be a great way to make a career change that allows you to get a better-paying job without the usual learning expenses.