Skills to Learn to Make Money

Skills to Learn to Make Money: Free & Low-Cost Ideas

Are you seeking ways to expand your skill set, but aren’t interested in going back to school or investing thousands of dollars to make it happen? Fortunately, there are ample low-cost and free certifications online that are focused on skills to learn to make money and advance your career, as well as alternatives like volunteering and job shadowing to gain real-world experience without incurring student debt.

Here are some options that can teach you very lucrative, high-income skills and lead to career growth opportunities.


Free, Traditional Options to Expand Skills

The following traditional options are ideal for acquiring new skills you can’t easily learn online without paying a hefty fee for an online degree program. They are also good options when there is a lack of online course availability, or you’re seeking hands-on experience.



Volunteering at a local charity or even at a local business to acquire new skills is one way to strengthen your resume and build your network. If you’re interested in database management, you can volunteer to assist the IT team at your local women’s shelter, for example.


On-the-Job Training

There’s no better place to acquire new skills than at your current job. Consider asking to be a part of an upcoming project or seek opportunities to learn new skills in other departments. Not only are you adding value to your resume, but you’re also stepping up and showcasing your desire to learn and grow in your current position.


Woman taking online course


Best Skills to Learn Online for Free

If your schedule is limited and you don’t have the time to learn skills through the above options, then self-paced, online learning options might work best for you.

There are numerous high-income skills you can learn online, even if you have little to no background in the area. Some of the best skills to learn online for free include:

  • Computer coding and programming
  • Copywriting
  • Email marketing
  • Graphic design
  • Life and wellness coaching
  • Marketing communications
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing

Low-cost and free self-paced online courses with certifications are offered through several online platforms, such as:

Below is a sampling of easy certifications to get online that pay well through the above platforms. Many of the following courses are free, self-paced online courses with certification or the option to upgrade to receive certification. Courses that are not offered for free typically cost less than $200, and on sites like Udemy, they frequently run specials, so courses are $20 or less with lifetime access. Many courses are accredited as well.


Computer Programming Courses

CS50’s Introduction to Computer Science – Harvard University

Harvard’s CS50 is an intro course to intellectual enterprises of computer science and programming. The course is self-paced and free, with an optional upgrade available.

Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python: Part I – Rice University via Coursera

This intro to interactive programming course is part of their fundamentals of computing specialization program —part one of seven. It is ideal for those with little to no computing background to learn the basics of interactive application building in Python.

Learn HTML – Codecademy

Learn how to use HTML to create HTML pages, the foundation of all websites.

Introduction to C++ – MIT Open Courseware

Introduction to C++ through MIT is a fast-paced introductory course offered for free during what they call the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which occurs from the first week of January through the end of the month.

How to Make iPhone Apps: iOS Development – Udemy

Learn the steps of how to make iOS applications with this Udemy course.


Graphic Design Courses

Professional Logo Design in Adobe Illustrator – Udemy

Create the perfect logo using Adobe Illustrator with a course like this on Udemy.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design – California Institute of the Arts via Coursera

Learn the building blocks of graphic design in this Coursera course.


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Life and Wellness Coaching Courses

Professional Life Coach Certification – Udemy

Receive tools, forms, processes, and best practices to be a life coach through this accredited certification course.

Health and Wellness Coaching Certification – Udemy

Learn how to support people in leading healthy lives through this accredited coaching certification course.


Marketing and Communications Courses

Learning Personal Branding – LinkedIn Learning

A course in personal branding can improve your ability to brand yourself, as well as support others to do the same. LinkedIn Learning provides a free 1-month trial with the option to purchase courses after the trial.

Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce – Google via Coursera

Learn the ins and outs of Google digital marketing and e-commerce with this course and up your game in the marketing arena.

Inbound Sales – HubSpot Academy

If you’re interested in being a sales rep or sales manager, then this free course is for you.


Writing/Copywriting Courses

Common English Grammar Mistakes – Udemy

As the name implies, learn about common English grammar mistakes and how to avoid them in this course.

Secret Sauce of Great Writing – Udemy

This course is taught by a former Wall Street Journal editor to teach good writing ingredients.


Skills to Learn to Make Money –​ The Choice is Yours

The sky’s the limit when it comes to skills to learn to make money through online platforms like those above. Or, if you’re looking for hands-on experience to improve skills and add to your resume, consider the traditional options of volunteering and on-the-job training. Ultimately, with so many options available, if you truly want to expand your skill set, it’s possible for you to do so.

For additional tips on acquiring new skills and other career advice, visit our Job Seeker Resource Center.

By iHire | June 07, 2022
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