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:

  • 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

What is a Coursera Certificate?

Where to find your Coursera Certificate

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

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)

Why should I get a Coursera Certificate?

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

Coursera Certificates have value because they:

  • Provide official recognition from a world renowned institution
  • Are a way to build your qualifications and demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning to a future employer
  • Increase your career prospects and open new doors
  • 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
  • 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). A Coursera Plus subscription giving full certified access to 90% of the Coursera catalog is $399 per year. 

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 at any time 

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) Machine Learning – Stanford University 2) The Science of Well Being – Yale
  • Guided Projects : 1) Getting Started with BI Desktop – Coursera Project Network 2) Introduction to Project Management – Coursera Project Network
  • Specializations : 1) Excel Skills for Business – MacQuarie University 2) Python for Everybody – University of Michigan
  • Professional Certificates: 1) IBM Cyber Security Analyst – IBM 2) Facebook Social Media Marketing – Meta 

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.

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


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.

26 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.

  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.


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