FREE Best Online Management Courses and Certs {2021}

Management, in short, refers to the administration of an organization. It covers everything from the supply chain and the stakeholders/shareholders through to the management of the personnel, interpersonal communications and long-term and short-term strategies to keep the organization moving. The Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th century first saw the rise of strategies being laid down in relation to the management of companies, often military in style, but the management of commercial activities has taken place informally since ancient history when people first began making, moving and trading with one another. It has a long history and has continually evolved – and is still doing so. Managers are expected to keep up to date with the latest theories and standards to ensure that their business is ethical and will meet with society’s approval while also being successful.

Why Study Free Management Courses With Certificates Online?

Studying online comes with many advantages. It allows you to set your schedule when you want, be it around childcare responsibilities or around another job. This is particularly true for self-paced learning. If you are looking to continually develop while in employment, it demonstrates the ability to manage and organize your time and to be self-driven which is always advantageous in an interview. Studying online is as diverse as the people that engage in it.

Covid-19 and Doing Free Online Management Courses With Certificates

Covid-19 has meant that many businesses and education institutions are moving their facilities online. One advantage of this is that it gives you the chance to adapt your studying around your other responsibilities. Developing your management skills at home for many people is also paired with an increase in accessibility which is an advantage for people who may not be able to study in formal institutions due to schedule and disability-based barriers. For as long as the restrictions and lockdowns are in place, Covid-19 has forced trainers and companies to improvise and adapt their own management skills to provide training in order to remain relevant. It is also looking like many of the Covid-induced changes such as the increase in remote working will be here to stay given the increase in productivity, so online management courses done in this environment will put you in good stead!

If your business does make a return to physical offices, these courses will provide you with a leg up on everyone else, boosting your chance of a promotion. If you are employed, these courses demonstrate a desire to learn and to improve oneself.

FREE Best Online Management Courses and Certificates

  • Cost: First 4 weeks free.
  • Course Type: Scheduled. 4 weeks free, 16 weeks total.
  • Certificate: Diploma (4 weeks).

This course is run by the Shaw Academy. The first four weeks of the course are free and, if completed to the satisfaction of the course provider, result in a diploma qualification. The course will teach you how to lead, motivate and inspire both a team and individual staff members. It additionally covers team building, strategic thinking and planning, how to communicate professionally, understanding the different personalities that arise in the workplace and how to manage/lead. Leadership and management are two sides to the same coin; managing people is one think, leading them is another. This course covers both and the first four weeks being free gives you time to decide whether you want to invest in the rest of the course and a higher qualification.

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: Self-paced.
  • Certificate: OHSC course completion letter.

This course is run by the Oxford Home Study Centre which facilitates online studying both free and paid across a range of subjects and qualification levels. The course includes the different characteristics of leaders and managers, managing resources in relation to a team and the workplace as a whole, managing meetings and feedback, and the importance of being both a manager and a leader. The course page also links to other paid courses that are available to do if you decide that investing in a higher level course on the same subject is something that you want to do.

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: 5 weeks. 7 weeks content access.
  • Certificate: Certificate of participation if paid for.

This course is run by FutureLearn. FutureLearn can best be described as a course hosting platform in that the courses themselves are provided by organizations and universities. This course is organized by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. The site layout schedules a set amount of material per week and includes informal knowledge checking activities. Each week requires you to ‘sign off’ saying that you have done what you wanted to with the material – don’t worry, it can still be accessed later on! The course covers the different management styles used, what being a line manager involves, best practices (recruit/induction), how to identify market trends and how to develop both individuals and teams.

  • Cost: Free.
  • Course Type: 4 weeks. 8 weeks content access.
  • Certificate: Certificate of participation if paid.

This is another course hosted by FutureLearn, this time run by the Open University and CMI (Chartered Management Institute). It was developed by the triple-accredited Open University Business School. The material is aggregated between academics and practitioners, meaning that you benefit from both knowledge domains. The course includes what management is, the different management styles that it is possible to utilize, data and decision-making, and the role and importance of stakeholders. The course results in a Level 5 CMI certificate. If you pair this with another Level 5 course, the personal development program from the same people, then this puts you well on the way to qualifying as a Chartered Manager. Definitely a boost when it comes to looking for employment!

  • Cost: Fully-funded if eligible.
  • Course Type: 9 weeks, including exams and assessments.
  • Certificate: Level 2.

This vision2learn course is more scheduled than some of those suggested here. One advantage is that if you tick the right boxes, the course is fully funded. It also includes tutor support where needed. The material covers how to implement both minor and major business improvements, how to improve quality and efficient and how to implement continuous improvements. This straddles the domains of both leadership and management as change is important to include and encourage in both aspects.

  • Cost: Funded by the Adult Education Budget if eligible.
  • Course Type: Self-paced. 6 weeks.
  • Certificate: Level 2.

This course is provided by the Learning Curve Group. If you meet the eligibility parameters, you can do this course completely free. You may also get free access to this course with your employer, so it is worth asking about if it is related to your career and you feel that it would improve your value as an employee. It covers the principles of team leading, understand how businesses work as a whole and in detail, how to communicate and the importance of coaching, mentoring and personal development. In addition to clearly organized material and an accessible interface, one-to-one tutor support is also available.

  • Cost: Free if eligible.
  • Course Type: 7 weeks. Lifetime course access.
  • Certificate: Level 2.

This course is run by Strive Training. While self-paced, it does include examinations and assessments to determine the strength of your knowledge acquisition. It is additionally tutor supported, which is always a bonus to have available even if you never need their help. The course material includes social awareness, equality and diversity in the workplace, in the community and in society as a whole and the importance of inclusive environments.

  • Cost: Free if eligible.
  • Course Type: Self-paced. 14 weeks.
  • Certificate: Level 2.

This course is run and funded by the Skills Funding Agency. It is thorough, covering the day-to-day business activities that will be encountered as a manager, business and administration practices such as event planning and budgeting and the importance of employment rights from both sides of the coin. Overall, it is thorough and provides a good foundation and stepping stone for individuals looking to develop themselves as leaders and managers.

Are Free Online Management Courses With Certificates Good For Inclusion On A Resume?

Definitely! Regardless of whether or not the course comes with a certificate that is accredited or a certification of participation or completion, a management course demonstrates the willingness to develop, a self-driven attitude and very clearly indicates just where you want your career path to go. It can be an ideal stepping stone in your place of employment to a higher position and it also looks good in interviews as it demonstrates that you are willing to progress within the company.

Do Online Courses Come With A Qualification?

Some do, some don’t. There is a distinction between certificates and qualifications: qualifications are accredited. Certificates may be but not necessarily all of the time. Depending on what you are looking for from a course, you may need to read the fine print to decide what best meets your needs and goals.

Types of Courses

For every learning style and preference out there, there is bound to be a course that suits. For those who have a visual learning style where a lot of text isn’t ideal, there are videos and step-by-step photographs. For those who prefer articles, there are ebooks and other similar guides. Certainly for management, the number of books out there is a dime and dozen, all from individual perspectives. Courses generally come in one of two main forms. Self-paced courses allow you to dip in and out of the material at your leisure, around your schedule and responsibilities. Scheduled courses tend to have a deadline, or the material is published on a weekly basis or to another schedule. The latter resemble formal learning the most and may also come with assignments and examinations. Some may even have a minimum pass mark that you must meet or exceed to get the qualification.


When it comes to free online management courses with certificates, there are many different courses covering both the material in general and specific aspects of it depending on what you want to study, how long you want to study for and what your long-term goals are. Management across different organizations has as many differences and it has similarities, and these courses will put you in good stead to become adaptable with a good foundation of knowledge.