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Seven Online Classes That Pay For Themselves

May 10, 2008 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

A good online class isn’t always cheap.  If the class includes instructor interaction and feedback, it could cost hundreds of dollars or more.  But some online classes are almost always worth their cost—they teach you skills that will ultimately bring you more money.  Here are seven online classes that are likely to be worth more than you pay for them, whatever the price.

Landing the job

Job-search skills such as interviewing, writing cover letters, and negotiation are all crucial skills that can make the difference between landing a job offer you can’t turn down—and missing out on opportunities.  If you want to move to a higher-paying or more rewarding job, a class in one or more of these subjects could definitely make a contribution to your success. 

Selling skills

Even if you’re not in sales, knowing how to sell a concept or an idea will definitely pay off in your career.  A sales training course online will teach you how to ask the right questions, develop your confidence, and close a sale effectively.  These skills are useful not only when you’re selling a product or service, but when you’re selling yourself to a potential employer in an interview, selling an idea to your organization, or trying to convince your boss to fund your education or give you a raise.  If you’re good at sales, you’ll be better able to persuade others to see your point of view—and that’s a skill that can pay off.


Most people aren’t as savvy about investing and managing their personal finances as they should be.  Take a online course in personal finance, tax preparation, or financial planning courses, and you’ll be better positioned to plan for your financial future, make sound investments, and save on your taxes.  Courses on this subject can also give you the skills and confidence to handle your accounts on your own, saving you money on fees for tax accountants and financial advisors.

Real estate

Whether you’re buying your first house or interested in real estate investing, online classes in the subject can pay for themselves.  A class in real estate finance can help you navigate the pitfalls of buying your first home, while a class in real estate investing can help you build real wealth through buying and selling real estate.   If you’re interested in making money, a real estate investment class can help set you on your way.

A second language

In today’s global marketplace, bilingual employees are increasingly valuable.  Speaking a second language—especially the language of a large secondary U.S. market, such as Spanish —can make you in demand—and better able to command a higher salary in your next job.  Some classes are geared specifically toward a second language in a workplace setting or in a particular industry, while others will give you a general overview from beginner-level language skills to advanced.  

Professional certification

You can get certified in a wide range of professions online—everything from travel and tourism to A+ certification.  These certifications can qualify you for a higher salary within your company, or they can make you a better candidate for a new job.  Even if your state or industry doesn’t require certification, a good certification program can still prove your skills to potential employers—and make you likely to earn more for your work than you would without certification.

Grant Writing

Nonprofits spend hundreds of hours a year writing grants for funding—and not every one sees their efforts come to fruition.  Grant writing can be a complex process, and only a small fraction of applicants get funded.  If you work for a nonprofit, it’s crucial to know the grant writing skills that funding organizations reward—after all, your competitors already know these skills.  Take a online class on grant writing, and you’ll be ahead of a large section of your competition.

Online courses can be expensive—but they can also be a sound investment in your career and your future.  The online course you take should match your goals, your employment situation, and your industry.  Choose the right online course for your financial goals, and you’ll be able to work effectively towards meeting those goals.




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