Changes in the job market are forcing everyone to up their game in order to remain competitive. Discerning employees are switching to jobs that truly meet their needs, and the freelance market is booming. It is more important than ever that you boost your skills if you want to compete. But how?
More and more people are turning to home learning in order to hone their skills and improve their resumé. Coursera has been a big part of that. For those truly serious about training there is another option within Coursera that could make a significant difference: a Coursera Plus subscription. This is a membership that gives you access to a huge range of courses for an affordable monthly or annual fee.
This article looks at the Coursera Plus subscription, examines the pricing, and helps you decide if it’s a good fit for you.
With a growing number of prestigious courses available, including Google certifications that companies hold in as much esteem as a degree, it’s certainly worth learning about this option.
- What is Coursera?
- Who is Coursera Plus for?
- What Courses are Included in Coursera Plus?
- Do I Need to Subscribe to Coursera Plus to Access the Courses?
- Is a Coursera Plus Subscription a Worthwhile Investment?
- Further Reading
What is Coursera?
Coursera is an e-learning platform whose unique selling point is its association with top universities and businesses.
The platform offers everything from short Massive Open Online Courses to specializations and professional certificates to complete online degrees.
If you want to learn more about the user experience and credibility of the platform as a whole, we have an in-depth review you can read.
What is Coursera Plus?
Coursera Plus is a subscription program for Coursera. It allows serious learners that take a lot of courses on their platform to boost their skills at a discounted price.
Coursera formally launched the annual Coursera Plus subscription plan last February and then began testing the monthly subscription option in October.
When it comes to any type of subscription plan pricing is a critical factor. Since Coursera is not the cheapest e-learning platform on the block let’s take a closer look at the costs.
How Much Does Coursera Plus Cost?
Coursera Plus is currently offered as either a monthly or a yearly subscription. The monthly subscription costs $59 per month and can be cancelled at any time. The cost per year is $399 and this plan comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Coursera offers a seven-day free trial to those who opt for a monthly subscription plan. Although you must submit your payment information, the platform will not charge you if you cancel before the end of the trial period.
Those who decide to go for the annual subscription do not get a free trial but instead are offered a 14-day money-back guarantee. All you need to do is complete the refund request. However, if you earned any certificates during those 14 days, the certificates will be revoked if you request a refund.
Coursera Specialization Subscriptions
Although Coursera offers a separate subscription service for Specializations, they are included in Coursera Plus. So, if you are interested in taking more courses than those included in your Specialization then switching to Coursera Plus could save you some money.
It is important to note that if you have previously subscribed to any Coursera Specializations you must cancel your existing subscriptions in order to avoid being charged for both subscription services.
Who is Coursera Plus for?
The Coursera Plus subscription for those who are serious about dedicating some time to boosting their skills and/or resume but who are not looking for a full on degree.
If you only plan on taking a couple of courses or only have time to study one course at a time then the subscription plan may cost you more than if you purchase individual courses on Coursera.
What Courses are Included in Coursera Plus?
In order to attract the serious learner Coursera has included over 3000 of its top-rated courses as well as Specialisations, Professional Certificates and Guided Projects.
This means that you can find quality courses in Business, Computer Science, Data Science, Health, Information Technology and Arts and Humanities.
I think the real value here is in that Coursera decided to go beyond offering individual courses. If you really want to add value on your resume then having a Specialisation or Professional Certificate weighs more than listing the exact same courses does – ironic, but true.
What is Not Included?
If you were hoping to get a Masters or Bachelors degree on the cheap with Coursera Plus I’m afarid you are going to be disappointed. Although Coursera offers competitively priced online degrees, they are not included in the subscription plans.
Do I Need to Subscribe to Coursera Plus to Access the Courses?
Absolutely not. Coursera has not made this an either/or decision. The courses available through the subscription package can also be purchased individually.
If this option is more appealing to you, you can find the Coursera main page here.
Is a Coursera Plus Subscription a Worthwhile Investment?
Like anything else in life, you must really make use of Coursera Plus in order for it to be a good investment. The best thing you can do is figure out what courses you want to take in the next year or so and then calculate the costs to find out what will be best for you.
Let’s say that you have heard that Google and some other companies are considering the Google Career Certificates on Coursera as equal to a four-year degree and have decided that this is a great way to launch your new career in IT.
In order to give yourself the best chance to land a good job you have decided to study for two of the IT certificates offered by Google and take another course to improve your negotiation skills:
|Coursera Plus |
|Google IT Support Professional Certificate|
(approx 6 months to complete at 10 hours per week)
|$39 per month||included||included|
|Google IT Automation with Python Professional Certificate|
(approx 8 months to complete at 5 hours per week)
|$39 per month||included||included|
|Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills|
(approx 17 hours to complete)
|Total cost if completed in 6 months||$517||$354||$399|
|Total cost if completed in 8 months||$673||$472||$399|
|Total cost if completed in 12 months||$985||$708||$399|
|Total cost if completed in 14 months||$1,141||$826||$798|
It is pretty clear that, if you plan to do this much training, Coursera Plus can save you a lot of money. It is also pretty clear that the annual subscription would be a worthwhile investment unless you are really able to dedicate a significant amount of time and effort to your studies in order to finish them very quickly.
On the other hand, if all you want is the IT Support Certificate then it makes no sense to subscribe to Coursera Plus. The fee to purchase the individual certificate is $20 per month cheaper than the monthly subscription rate, and you would have to take more than 10 months to complete the certification for the annual subscription to be cheaper.
The Coursera Plus program is a great way to access the fantastic learning opportunities on Coursera. The only negative of this subscription plan that I could find was the need to do some planning and some basic calculations in order to determine which option is best.
You really can’t skip this step since the prices on courses, specializations, guided projects and professional certificates all vary. That being said, if you are serious about your personal and professional development you should be doing these calculations anyway.
Unless you only plan to take individual courses (which are priced at a flat rate rather than monthly) or only follow one program of study, A Coursera Plus subscription can definitely provide you with the exact same boost in skills for a lot less money.
There is no denying that if you subscribe to Coursera Plus you are taking on a significant commitment, but it is fairly easy to see that the value can far outway the cost.
If you are considering all your training options in order to put together your personal development plan then you might be interested in the following:
- The Best Freelance Skills
- The Best Coursera Courses to Build Your Skills
- Coursera vs Udemy: All You Need to Know
- Free Online Training and Bargain Courses
Karen Fleming is a writer, translator, and teacher with more than 10 years of freelance experience. When she isn’t reading, writing, or taking yet another online class, she is probably doing some one-on-one tutoring or enjoying a good movie with her husband and two daughters.