Top 9 Leadership Certificates Courses for Managers

5 min read

The best leaders know that leadership training is a lifelong learning process. There’s always more to learn, new techniques to master and new skills to acquire. While leadership is often built through on-the-job experience, there are other options that are less “trial by fire” — including training programs, higher education, mentorships and professional development opportunities.

One of the more convenient means of leadership development is through leadership courses and certification programs, some of which are 100% online. These online courses on leadership and management can supplement your skills with focused approaches to communication, team development and coaching.

Here are some of the most popular online leadership courses with certificates, as well as other helpful resources for those looking to excel as business leaders or create their own startups.

What Are Leadership Certifications?

Though it can be a bit of a broad term, what we call leadership certifications are credentials earned by participating in programs designed to teach managerial skills, such as project management, effective communication, critical thinking and strategic thinking. These leadership and management courses are meant for those who are interested in continuing their leadership education, shoring up their professional knowledge, supplementing their existing education or transitioning to a higher level leadership position.

While a majority of hiring managers and business executives look for advanced degrees as signs of skilled candidates, certificates are also helpful in shoring up your qualifications. And though leadership courses are often less expensive than comparable, full-time advanced degree programs — with some even being offered for free — it’s important to remember that many leadership management courses may not be as thorough or comprehensive as a degree program.

Courses in leadership are often offered by colleges, universities or organizations that specialize in ongoing professional development and can vary in length from a few hours to a few months. In general they’re designed to be convenient to work within busy schedules, especially when they’re online. Here’s a review of the most popular educational and training platforms that offer online leadership courses, plus sample courses, average time to complete (TTC) and general price range.

9 Leadership Courses and Certificates for Business Managers

  1. LinkedIn Learning — An online, educational platform that provides video courses for LinkedIn members. LinkedIn Learning provides over 5,000 courses, most of which fall into business, creative, technology or certification categories.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Coaching Skills for Leaders and Managers, Inclusive Leadership and Facilitation Skills for Managers and Leaders.
    • Prices: Requires a monthly $39.99 subscription membership fee ($26.99 annually) or the purchase of individual courses, which can range from $32–$49.99.
    • TTC: Expect a range of half an hour to more than three hours per course.
  2. TrainUp — An e-learning platform that offers self-paced courses for corporate leadership training. The courses provide online and video based training across hundreds of business-related topics.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Assessing Your Own Leadership Performance, Coaching Strategies for Leaders – Conflict, Performance, Change and Leadership Essentials: Creating Your Own Leadership Development Plan.
    • Prices: Individual courses range from $75–$2,650.
    • TTC: Courses can be under 30 minutes or up to several days.
  3. Udemy — A massive open online course (MOOC) provider that boasts over 195,000 courses across all possible disciplines and categories. Its selection of business and managerial online courses include topics on business communication, project management and conflict management.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Think Like a Leader with Brian Tracy, Leadership Essentials Certificate and Leadership Mastery – Complete Guide to Being a Great Leader.
    • Prices: Individual courses range from $85–$199.99.
    • TTC: Most courses range from around one hour to three and half hours.
  4. Coursera — One of the most popular learning platforms, Coursera offers online courses that provide leadership and management insights in areas including entrepreneurship, finance and marketing.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Building Your Leadership Skills, Inspired Leadership Specialization and Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization.
    • Prices: The costs of individual courses range from $39–$79 per month, or you can join the Coursera Plus subscription program for $59 a month.
    • TTC: Courses can range from around 15 hours to up to eight months.
  5. edX — A MOOC provider jointly developed by Harvard and MIT. Its catalog of over 3,000 courses covers a range of disciplines and includes business leadership and executive education.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Becoming a Successful Leader, MicroMasters Program in Business Leadership and Agile Leadership Principles and Practices.
    • Prices: While some are free to audit, most courses range from $49–$1,342.
    • TTC: Courses can range from one month to up to 11 months.
  6. FutureLearn — A UK based digital MOOC platform, FutureLearn provides access to courses from universities and organizations from around the world. The courses cover a range of disciplines and fields, including executive management and leadership.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Educational Leadership: Working for Good, Business Management and Leadership and International Leadership: Managing Culture as Leaders.
    • Prices: Some courses are free to audit, while paid courses range from $39–$89. You can also pay $27.99 for unlimited monthly access or $279.99 for the whole year.
    • TTC: Courses last for an average of three weeks.
  7. Center for Creative Leadership — A nonprofit organization created to offer executive leadership development and training programs. CCL provides options for onsite, online and blended courses.
    • Example courses in leadership include: The Effective Leader, Lead for Success and Maximizing Your Leadership Potential.
    • Prices: The cost of each leadership program ranges from $1,500 up to $8,000.
    • TTC: Ranges from two and half days for online courses to five days for in-person courses.
  8. American Management Association — An online leadership program that offers training in leadership and supervision, leadership communication and project leadership through live instructors and peer interactions.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Leadership and Team Development for Managerial Success, The Voice of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire, Influence and Achieve Results and Developing Executive Leadership.
    • Prices: Courses range from $2,000–$2,500. Membership costs $250 a year and includes 4 free select webinars per year.
    • TTC: Course length averages between two and three days.
  9. MasterClass — A streaming platform that provides classes hosted by famed professionals and celebrities. Its tutorials and lectures cover various categories, including business and leadership. Note that, unlike other platforms on this list, MasterClass does not offer for-credit courses and does not provide degrees or certifications.
    • Example courses in leadership include: Business Leadership by Howard Schultz, Business Strategy and Leadership by Bob Iger and Creativity and Leadership by Anna Wintour.
    • Prices: $15 a month for access to courses.
    • TTC: Course length ranges from around an hour and a half to two and half hours.

What the MITE Program Offers for Leadership

In an effort to be leaner, faster and to build a positive work environment, many organizations are looking to become “flatter” where there are fewer levels of management and the leadership team is embedded directly with people they’re leading. Leaders who wish to succeed in this workplace culture need the management+leadership skills experience to address a more cultural and skillset diverse workforce while still getting things done.

The University of San Diego’s Master of Engineering in Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship program is designed to immerse students in leadership roles, pushing them to develop leadership and managerial skills in marketing, product management, human resources, team-building and more.

Our professors of practice come to our program from both USD’s School of Engineering and the Knauss School of Business, bringing extensive experience in the development and sale of products and services. Students can expect active coaching and instruction informed by years of success in the connectivity market, including positions in C-Suite leadership, board of director service, product market fit, product development, venture capital and angel investing, strategic marketing and more.

Read more about MITE professor Carlton O’Neal’s experience with tech startups in our Faculty Spotlight

A MITE degree can be earned 100% online and completed within 20 months, making it a powerful tool for those looking to take up leadership positions in enterprise or as the head of their own startup.

If you’re looking for business training directly from professionals who’ve derived their insights and experience from the tech industry, then we invite you to explore the how the MITE program’s combination of business and engineering principles makes it unique among leadership programs.

To learn more about how our innovative, online master’s degree program can help you develop as a business leader, visit our site or contact us directly.

FAQs about Leadership Courses and Certifications

How much do online leadership classes cost?

Online courses leadership courses can cost under a hundred dollars or up to several thousand dollars. Expect online leadership courses with certificates to cost more, and those that provide full degrees to cost the most.

Do I need specific programs or tech to take these courses?

Not generally, though some courses may have requirements for certain degrees or professional experience. Always review a course’s requirements before starting the enrollment process.

How long do online leadership classes take to complete?

Depending on the course and platform, as well as the certifications or degrees provided, online classes can take as little as an hour to almost a full year. In general you can expect online classes to take less time than their in-person iterations.

Do I need an online leadership class to get promoted?

Unless your upper management tells you specifically that you need a particular course or certification, no, you generally don’t need any of these courses to secure a promotion. However, the more you strengthen your managerial skills and shore up your leadership experience, the stronger you make your case.

Are any online leadership courses available for free?

Several of the online platforms listed above will allow you to audit courses for free, but those that do won’t provide you access to course materials, nor will they provide you with a certificate for completing a course.

Is a leadership certificate worth it?

This largely depends on the time and effort you put into it, as well as what you hope to get out of it. Certificates from recognized and accredited institutions will carry more weight with hiring managers, but they will also require a larger investment of time and money. Research educational platforms, their course requirements and what they provide before you make any decisions.

Can you get hired with a certificate in leadership?

A certificate alone likely won’t get you hired, but it can be helpful to supplement your higher-ed degree and professional experience.