Coursera Certificate: How it works and is it worth it?

by Liz Hurley

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A Coursera Certificate is an official endorsement that you've successfully completed a course on Coursera. And with partners like Yale, Stanford, Princeton and Google on board, a Coursera Certificate should definitely have value.

But if you’re here you're probably asking yourself: Is a Coursera Certificate worth it? Does a Coursera Certificate have value? What difference will a Coursera Certificate on my resume make – if any?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this Coursera Certificate guide I'll be answering all the questions you might have about whether a Coursera certificate is worth it.

I’ll be covering:

  • About Coursera and what a Coursera Certificate is – what it includes and what it doesn’t
  • Why you might consider getting a Coursera Certificate
  • How much a Coursera Certificate costs
  • Top Coursera courses free (not certified) and paid (certified)
  • Are Coursera Certificates worth it?
  • How to add Coursera Certificates to your resume and LinkedIn
Coursera currently have a Black Friday deal. Click here to find out more.

What is a Coursera Certificate?

About Coursera

Where to find your Coursera Certificate

Coursera is one of the largest learning platforms in the world. It was started in 2012 by two Stanford professors with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning. 

Today, Cousera has 92 million registered users and is partnered with 250+ leading universities and industry educators to offer over 9,000 courses and degree programs. Over 100 Fortune 500 companies, and more than 6,000 businesses, campuses and governments use Coursera to upscale or reskill their employees, students and citizens. 

What is a Coursera Certificate?

A Coursera Certificate is proof you've completed and passed a Coursera program. 

All Coursera Certificates appear on your Accomplishments page as secure URLs. These can be shared online or to your LinkedIn profile. Plus, you can download Certificates as PDF files and print them.

To be eligible for a Certificate you have to:

  • Firstly, complete the name identification process
  • Then, pay the appropriate fee (these vary depending on the course) or be in receipt of Coursera Financial Aid
  • Lastly, pass any thresholds or assignments that are part of the course
A Coursera Certificate

A Course Certificate includes the:

  • Course name
  • Tutor’s signature
  • Partner Institution Logo 
  • Verification URL allowing anyone you share the Certificate with to check its authenticity 
  • Confirmation that Coursera has confirmed the identity of the recipient

A Course Certificate does not include:

  • Your photo
  • How long the course took to complete
  • The grade you received
  • Academic credit towards a degree from the partner institution offering the course (unless you are taking a MasterTrack – for more on these read our Coursera review)

Five reasons why you should get a Coursera Certificate

There are lots of reasons why you should consider getting a Coursera Certificate.

Coursera Certificates have value because they:

  1. Provide official recognition from a world renowned institution
  2. Are a way to build your qualifications, demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and stand out to a future employer
  3. Increase your career prospects, help you earn more money through promotion and open new doors
  4. Make it more likely you will finish the course. For example, research by Harvard and MIT shows that the completion rate for paid for courses is ten times higher compared to when not paying for the Certificate
  5. And since Coursera’s partners are globally renowned companies or top flight universities you would build mountains of debt to earn such Certificates in person

How much does a Coursera Certificate cost?

Coursera Course Certificates start at $49 and Certificates for Guided Projects start at $9.99. For Coursera Specializations and Professional Certificates there is a monthly cost of $39.99+ a month (so the final cost depends on how long it takes you to finish). You MUST remember to cancel your payment when you have finished or payment will continue to be taken.

A Coursera Plus subscription giving full certified access to 90% of the Coursera catalog is $399 per year. With a subscription you can take as many different courses as you like and earn certificates for all of them.

This table provides more details:

Coursera optionGoalLength PriceBilling
CoursesGain knowledge4-12 hours*Free or from $49 Per course 
Guided ProjectsLearn a skill1-2 hoursFrom $9.99Per project
SpecializationsMaster a Skill1-3 monthsFrom $39.99 – with some *free contentMonthly
or per unit
Professional CertificatesGet job ready for a  career4-7 monthsFrom $39.99Monthly
Coursera PlusCertified access to 90%+ of catalogvarious$59 Or$399Monthly
or annually
MasterTrack CertificatesEarn credit towards a degree4-7 monthsFrom $2000Per course or Monthly

*Free content is not eligible for a Certificate but you can upgrade and pay for the certificate at any time – even after completion 

You can find out more about Coursera's pricing structure here.

Top Coursera Certificates (free and paid)

To give you a flavor of some of the most popular certified courses I’ve listed the most highly rated courses on the platform. 

They include:

  • Courses: 1) Introduction to Psychology – Yale [rated 4.9/5] 2) The Science of Well Being – Yale [rated 4.9/5]
  • Guided Projects : 1) ChatGPT Playground for Beginners: Intro to NLP AI – Coursera Project Network [rated 4.8/5] 2) Wireshark for beginners: Capture packets – Coursera Project Network [rated 4.7/5]
  • Specializations : 1) Excel Skills for Business – MacQuarie University [rated 4.9/5] 2) Python for Everybody – University of Michigan [rated 4.8/5]
  • Professional Certificates: 1) Google Cyber Security – Google [rated 4.8/5] 2) IBM Data Analyst – IBM [rated 4.6/5] 

So, as you can see, Coursera course providers are either prestigious universities or globally renowned companies. And the skills and knowledge being taught are in-demand and very marketable.

For short reviews of most of these courses and more detail about how Coursera works in general check out our Coursera review.

Benefits and drawbacks of Coursera Certificates

Pros of Coursera Certificates

  • According to Harvard and MIT completion rates for courses increase tenfold if you enrol in a course and pay for a certificate.
  • Many Guided Projects, Coursera Specializations or Professional Certificates teach new and highly marketable skills. They are project-based so you not only have a certificate but can provide evidence that you can do the things your certificate suggests you can.

Cons of Coursera Certificates

  • Whilst you have to verify your identity to receive a certificate, there is no guarantee that it was actually you who completed the course. It is possible to cheat and employers know this. The most valuable certificates are therefore those that are earned through completing a project that you can showcase to prove that you have learned what you have been certified for.

This brings me onto my next question:

Can a Coursera certificate get you a job?

Coursera does not provide or guarantee job placement.

However, if you take a:

  • Guided Project
  • Coursera Specialization
  • Coursera Professional Certificate

You will usually complete a project that you can showcase to employees. An employer is really more interested in what you learnt from the course, and, more importantly, how much of that knowledge/skill you bring to the table.

Are Coursera Certificates worth it?

On the whole, yes.

If you're seeking promotion, looking for a career change, or the skills you are learning are highly sought after, then a Coursera Certificate does have value and is definitely worth the investment.

Coursera partners and course providers are world class. The tutors are the same professors that teach in person or are recognized industry experts.

Any prospective employer is likely to see your investment in yourself as a good indicator that you’re a self starter and are worth their investment too.

On the other hand, if you're just taking a course for fun and it's available for free, then enjoy it! And don’t worry about the Certificate. 

Plus, if the course you are considering is not very popular you must check out the course rating and any reviews for the course. Because if it's been on the platform a while it might be a little out of date.

Ultimately, there are lots of ways to check out Coursera content for free and then upgrade later if you want to. Plus Coursera offers a variety of refunds and money back guarantees, so there’s very little risk to you. 

For more granular advice for getting the best value out of Coursera check out our Coursera cost review.

How to add Coursera Certificate to your LinkedIn and resume

Share your Course Certificate on LinkedIn

  1. Open your Accomplishments page
  2. Find the Certificate you wish to share
  3. Click on Add to LinkedIn Profile

Then follow the instructions and your Certificate will be placed in the Certifications section of your profile where it can be viewed by prospective employers and LinkedIn colleagues

To add your Coursera Certificate to your resume:

  1. Log into your Coursera account and open your Accomplishments page
  2. Find the Certificate you want to add to your resume
  3. Copy the URL and paste it into your resume 

Related articles: Coursera review, Coursera Cost, Coursera Refund, Udemy vs Coursera, Coursera Alternatives and Coursera Statistics

Coursera Certificate -FAQs

How much does a Coursera Certificate cost?

Coursera Course Certificates start at $49 and Certificates for Guided Projects start at $9.99. For Coursera Specializations and Professional Certificates there is a monthly cost of $39.99+ a month (so the final cost depends on how long it takes you to finish). A Coursera Plus subscription giving full certified access to 90% of the Coursera catalog is $399 per year. 

Do Coursera certificates count as academic credit towards a degree? 

The only Coursera Certificates that count as credit towards a whole degree are Coursera MasterTracks.

Can a Coursera Certificate guarantee you a job?

No – but it can make you stand out from the crowd to a prospective employer. And if you do a project based Specialization or Professional Certificate you will be able to showcase what you know.

49 thoughts on “Coursera Certificate: How it works and is it worth it?”

    • Hi Desire, you can complete any course for free on Coursera, but you have to actually purchase the course to receive the certificate. Also, if you have completed a course within the 7 day trail period, payment will be taken in order to release the certificate.

  1. Let’s say that I get the IBM Cybersecurity Analyst Professional Certification. Do I have to work for IBM or can I work for a different company?

    • Hi Christopher. The course enables you to get job ready for a cybersecurity analyst role generally so you will be able to go an work in the industry for any company. Hope that helps

  2. After completing the course with in the 7days of trial will I have to pay for the certificate or for the whole course of a month?

    • Hi Sana, thanks for your question. I am assuming that if you have been given a seven day free trial then you have probably completed a Coursera Specialization or Professional Certificate OR you have purchased a monthly subscription? The policy is that if you earn a certificate within the trial period Coursera reserves the right to charge you for one month’s subscription.

  3. Hey Liz,
    California libraries are giving out free Coursera membership. Do I still have to pay for the certificate in this case?

    • Hey An, I looked into this and the answer is NO, you won’t have to pay for a certificate. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the CSL received funding which it has used to partner with Coursera in order to provide access to 5,000 CERTIFIED job relevant courses! So that is great news for you guys. Enjoy your learning!

  4. Hi, I am currently taking a course on coursera website, but concerning the value of the certificate, I would like to know how is it possible to confirm that the person who completed the “name identification” step is really the same person as that who watched the videos and answered to the exams. Isn’t this an obstacle to the recognition of the certificate by the employer?

    • Hi Nabil, to my knowledge there is no way to verify this – it is a general problem with online learning. Hopefully, at some point in the future a way will be found around this to increase the value of online certification.

      • Hi. I had thought about the legitimacy of taking these certifications and I figure if someone actually does the work it would be really easy to tell if they cheated with just a few random questions. The courses I have taken would be very difficult to cheat. Even if you somehow we’re already a pro or something it would be easy to spot a cheat. Not sure why a pro would go through it anyways? If they did just take the test, in my opinion they would deserve the certificate anyways.

  5. Hi,
    My university has sponsored some courses on coursera so I completed one but when I try to get into my certificate it says verify your account detail which included credit card number also so are they asking credit card to buy certificate? Why I am unable to take certificate when course was already sponsored

    • Hi Fatima, thanks for reaching out. This is something I would encourage you to ask Coursera directly. I’m sure they will be able to help. All the best

  6. Hey, I graduated from high school, and i want to take a cypersecurity analysis course from coursera, when i will finish the course..
    I can get a job easily ?
    Notice that i have a high school certificate!!
    Thank you for your time..

    • Hi Mazen, unfortunately there’s no easy way to answer this. But being proactive and using your initiative to go out there and get a Coursera certificate will surely help! Also, IBM certify the course and they are giants in the field!

  7. Can you earn credits wirh courses ? For gr 12 for example. And pay for the certificate when earned..39.99 per month depends in how many months she takes to complete the course ? .high school credit courses ? Thanks jane 🙂

  8. hey i have a question i was enrolling in a course and they asked for certificate charges 62$ so. i enrolled.and paid.. but later on i got an email that you have subscribed at coursea plus 62$ per i cancelled and asked for refund…even though I can still access the course.but i m not sure when i finish the course. they gonna ask again if you want to buy the certificate or not..because i want the certificate but i cancelled the subscribtion .

    • Hi Tee, a lot depends on the type of course you enrolled on. Generally, if you complete the course successfully before your subscription period ends you should still get the certificate. I hope this was the case!

  9. Hi, I was interested to enroll in one of the Coursera courses. I want to ask whether I can choose the class timing or if it has been set by the lecturers? Thanks lily.

    • Hi Lily, thanks for reaching out. It partly depends on the type of course you want to do. Courses and guided projects are available to take at any time at your convenience. Professional Certificates and Specializations sometimes have have a start date but, once started, you can take the course at your own pace. Professional Certificates and Specializations can take 3-4 months to complete but if you finish them more quickly you MUST remember to cancel your next payment. If you check out our Coursera Review on this site you can get all the info you need!

  10. Hi Liz,
    if i complete the professional course or specialization course, should i list the issuing organization as the partners (university etc.) or should i list it as coursera?

    thi is because some university has tag their brand with coursera but some are not.

    • Hi Faris, I would list the issuing organization as the partner. It is the partners who offer the course and accredit it, Coursera is usually just the platform. Hope that helps

  11. Hi.
    Thank you for your information about coursera certificates, I am actually facing a problem with my certificates and I don’t know is it the normal situation or not.
    I enrolled in ui/ux course from google using coursera’s financial aid, and have already passed 6 courses, since October 2021, and now there are 6 PDF files available for share or download in my profile, but the thing is,
    first: they all singed with the same date. Jan 4 2023
    second: I am not allowed to verify my ID, because my country is on coursera sanction’s list.

    I really don’t know what should I do. because that does not seems normal to earn 6 certificate in one day, if I want to include then in my resume or LinkedIn.
    I’d be very grateful if you please tell me what’s the solution here.

    • I’m afraid jobs are not guaranteed on the back of taking any Coursera course, even those offered by Meta. However, by demonstrating that you are prepared to invest time and money in self-improvement you definitely make yourself more attractive to any future employer. Good luck.

  12. Please i enrolled on Coursera to study a free course on Princeton University: Computer science programming with a purpose, but i read that Princeton will not offered certificate. I don’t understand, is it Coursera that will issue the certificate to me after i complete this course.

    • Hi Sunday, I have had a look at this course on the website. Because it is totally free, there is no certification at all. It is a little confusing. Usually you can opt to take a course for free (no certificate) or pay $49 for the certificate. However, in the case of the course you have chosen it is only available as a free course.

  13. Please I’d love to know if I can get a job with my Coursera certificate Eve though I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. I recently finished highschool and I decided to enroll into one of the programs available on Coursera before I start university. I’d love to know if I can get employed using the certificate and if the certificate is useful to me in anyway. Can you enlighten me, Liz?

    • Hi Billie, I’m afraid a Coursera does not guarantee a job. It does demonstrate your willingness to invest time and money in improving yourself and will make you more attractive to a potential employer. This will be even more the case since you are so young and are continuing your education voluntarily in your own time between high school and uni. I don’t know whether you registered for a course, a specialization or a professional certificate? If it was a course you can usually choose the free option and then upgrade if you decide you want the certificate. It is even possible to access some of the content of a specialization free. This gives you the chance to weigh up how good you think the content is and whether the full investment is worth it. Check out our article to find out how to squeeze all the free content out of Coursera. Good luck and enjoy your learning, I am sure a diligent person like yourself will succeed!

  14. Hey, I was wondering if i could complete a course, then purchase coursera plus and get a certificate from that previous course?

  15. Greetings Liz! I would like to ask you that i have done my FSC / 12 class and if i get a certificate from coursera and then look for a job in UAE. Are these certificates recognized and accepted by the employers? I also learnt 3 programming languages (javascript, php and python) from youtube but i don’t have a degree or certification (I have a financial problem so i can’t afford a uni or any private college or institute)

    • Hi Abbas, Good question. On the one hand, Coursera’s partners are prestigious institutions and their names do carry weight with employers. A certificate is also evidence that you are willing to invest time and money in your own progression. However, there are questions about the validity of certificates for online courses as you can’t verify it was actually you who completed a course! BUT if you choose a course where you produce a project you will then have that to showcase and as proof that you achieved it. For example, we have an article called Best Python Courses Our top recommendation is a Coursera specialization during which you complete several projects. You could also check out my article which explains how the platform works and recommends a number of courses that might be useful to you. Best of luck

  16. Hi Liz,
    I wanted to know if Coursera Certificates had any value even in a European country like Germany or France? Are these recognized as a kind of diploma?

  17. Hi Liz, I am currently studying my masters degree in quantitative economics (in my last year). I have 7 certificates of coursera so far . Would these certificates add value to my cv in order to help me secure a phd scholarship

    • Hi Arafat, I would definitely say yes to your question. It would demonstrate your commitment to learning and your willingness to invest your time and money in continuous self improvement. Good luck!

  18. I just finished doing two courses on Coursera. How can I upgrade my certificates? And what is the essence of upgrading my certificates?

  19. Hi Liz,

    I’d like to purchase this course

    1. How do I know if this assessments are peer graded or by instructor?
    2. On the course page it shows

    Approx. 8 hours to complete
    3 weeks at 2 hours a week

    Do I still get to learn at my own pacing even if it takes months to complete? Just want to make sure I understand the policy correctly before I purchase the course.

    3. If unfortunately I didn’t pass the assessment will there be a chance to redo the course for free or I’ll have to pay again?

    Thank you for taking the time to read and reply!

    • Hi Eva, since this is a Coursera ‘course’ you can take it for free. After clicking on Enrol for free, choose the second option ‘audit’. You can then take the whole course – but you won’t get a certificate. However, you can upgrade at any time for around $40 to receive the certificate. The assessments will be straightforward and assed automatically. You can take as long as you want as all the lessons are pre-recorded. You can take any Coursera course for free (there are 2,000). But you have to pay to take Specializations and Professional Certificates. It is confusing! For more info check our article It tells you how to get the most value out of Coursera and how to get as much content as possible for free. Hope this helps! Liz

  20. Hii right now I am doing me undergraduate courses in Bachelor in business administration and I also want to take coursera course in between of my UG. Does it really worth it to take course and add value to cv to get better job.

    • Hi Marlin, If it’s just Coursera courses you are interested in, you can take them for free. If you feel the course has really taught you something you can upgrade to get the certificate for around $30-$49. If you are interested in taking a Specialization or a Professional Certificate you pay on a monthly basis – so if you study intensively you can get it done pretty quickly. I do think being demonstrating your commitment to investing in yourself and life long learning will make you stand out from the crowd to any future employer.

  21. Hi, I just confused between free certificate that I got after finish the course and the one that have to pay 49usd. How different?

    • Hi Gena. If you have a certificate you don’t need to purchase one. There are a limited number of courses that are free even with certificate. So don’t worry!


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