If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn’s online learning platform by now, you should have. LinkedIn Learning has grown expeditiously in the last several years, according to US News & World Report. In a November 2020 article, US News reported LinkedIn now has over 27 million users on its online learning platform, more than any of its direct competitors.
But if you’ve never heard of an online learning platform, what exactly is one? In short, they provide high-quality educational opportunities to students who take courses online and some providers even award certificates upon completion. But what is special about LinkedIn’s own certificates? How can you attain one and are they worth the money? The answer to those questions, and more, follows.
QUICK TAKE: Are LinkedIn Learning certificates worth it?
LinkedIn Learning certificates are a good value for anyone close to the following cases:
- Professionals who are already active users of the LinkedIn platform.
- Those looking to develop or explore their professional skills further.
- Those looking to differentiate themselves in networking and job hunting.
Besides serving as a symbol of accomplishment and success, the certificates can also be posted on LinkedIn which can lead to new career opportunities with minimal investment of capital.back to menu ↑
What is LinkedIn Learning?
What follows is a brief explanation of some of the platforms basic features, if you would like to read our more in-depth review of the program, please find it here. LinkedIn Learning was originally founded in 1995, by digital artist Lynda Weinman, as a school that would become Lynda.com in 2003. LinkedIn later purchased the website in 2015 and has since grown it into one of the preeminent online learning platforms today. Everything on the platform can be divided into three distinct educational spheres: Technology and Computer Sciences, Business and Administration, and Creative and Fine Arts.
Each educational sphere has several further sub-sections within it that are constantly changing in number. This is because, in addition to the thousands of courses LinkedIn Learning already provides, they are also constantly studying and refreshing their catalogue, adding up to 50 new courses a week. For example, the platform has a set of courses that it updates weekly with tips that pertain to a given subject area.
Before going any further, if this sounds like something you might be interested in, you should know that LinkedIn Learning gives everyone a 1-month free trial, which can be cancelled at any time before they charge, no questions asked. We highly recommend any prospective student take advantage of this free trial program to see if the program is truly right for them.
The majority of the curriculum is video-on-demand based, which allows students to take courses at the pace that suites best them. The platform also leverages its own professional social media network to help students identify potentially helpful certification pathways called Learning Paths. Once a path is successfully completed, students can post their accomplishment as badges to their own LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn offers this service as part of a subscription model, which may benefit students who want to take many courses or try exploring new interests.back to menu ↑
What are LinkedIn Learning Certificates?
LinkedIn offers certificates of completion for most courses that are available to any student who is currently subscribed and completes the course.
They also offer over 30 courses that students can take to help prepare for professional exams or take for continuing education credits (CEUs). Here is a sampling of the style of such courses available:
- Cisco offers five levels of certifications for IT professionals and prep courses that prepare students to successfully obtain CCNA and CCNP certifications.
- A course that should prepare drone pilots to successfully pass the FAA exam needed to obtain a commercial drone license.
- Docker Essential Training courses that impart the knowledge found on the Docker Certified Associate exam.
- Google has approved a Learning Path designed specifically for students interested in developing for Android systems.
These certification courses vary in subject matter widely and can be in any of the three sections that the platform divides itself into. They also vary in the form that the certificate may take, be it preparation for professional certification or one for CEUs. For example, in the creative section, those wishing to brush up InDesign or Photoshop can take courses for certifications in the entire Adobe suite of applications. Someone interested in business may be interested in the many Cert Prep courses for those seeking Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification. And the technology sphere has a special set of Amazon Web Service (AWS Cloud) courses that can give four levels of accreditations. If you are interested in data science, be sure to check out our list of the best Data science courses on LinkedIn Learning.back to menu ↑
How Much Does A Certificate Cost?
One of the best features of LinkedIn’s platform is its subscription-based model, and to qualify for certificates of completion the only requirement is that a user maintain their active subscription. LinkedIn offers a monthly and yearly version of its subscriptions for both individuals and organizations. You may have access to an organizational account through your employer, a local library, school or some other civic institution.
The price of a LinkedIn Learning subscription for an individual is as follows:
- A monthly subscription at $33 dollars a month.
- A yearly subscription at $312 dollars a year or $26 dollars a month.
If you can afford to pay up front, the yearly subscription is the best deal, as it represents a savings of over 25% versus the monthly option.
Just a reminder that if the cost of a subscription seems high, before you commit to buying one, LinkedIn Learning offers a FREE one-month trial to all new users, which can be cancelled, no questions asked, at any time before 2nd months charge absolutely free.back to menu ↑
What are LinkedIn Learning Certificates good for?
Besides the professional exam certification courses it offers, LinkedIn also awards certificates upon completion of all regular courses in the form of badges. These are a useful way to show off the new skills the course may have taught you and can be posted to LinkedIn.
However, like anything in life, you will only get out what you put into one of these courses. This is to say that the certificates that you earn on the platform are only representative of your newfound skills if you have actually learned something. Finishing a certification course requires you to really apply yourself and absorb the material. That being said, obtaining a course certification on the platform should most benefit those seeking to use them to burnish their credentials on their LinkedIn profile itself.
Many recruiters use LinkedIn to find quality candidates for open positions, and professionals can use the platform to network with others in their field.
According to Forbes, having a LinkedIn presence is essential to the success of any serious job seeker. A quality, professional minded LinkedIn profile is almost a requirement as a worker’s public face and primary means of networking, this is true across almost every industry. Putting together a good profile on LinkedIn is key to the success of any job hunt. If you’re interested, you can find our six best tips to optimize your LinkedIn profile here. It is in this light that the ability to show off your LinkedIn Learning certificates on LinkedIn shows its true benefit. The certificates are an outward symbol of your motivated attitude and thirst for knowledge that you can use as a starting point to mention what they represent in terms of knowledge and skills gained. Who knows what doors certification may open?back to menu ↑
Who are LinkedIn Learning certificates best for?
While a certificate of completion may be most useful for professionals looking for a new job or to build new skills to help them at their current one, the true benefit is to almost anyone thirsty for knowledge, so who are they best for?
- Students looking to experience potential careers while still in school.
- Those looking to add soft skills, like emotional intelligence and group dynamics.
- Artists looking to explore new medium.
- The retired looking to stay mentally active.
The platform contains a curriculum of courses that go beyond what one could ever hope to finish themselves. If you are hungry for knowledge, someone whose educational journey is never truly over, the certificates are a great way to show this is true.
Because the certifications are only awarded after the program ascertains you have successfully completed the course, they serve as a strong motivational factor.back to menu ↑
What is the Process for Getting a Certificate?
The process for earning a certificate of completion is simple and largely automatic for the student. Any subscriber in good standing who successfully finishes a course will automatically be awarded a certificate of completion. The system verifies that a student has completed the course based on viewership of course materials, once all videos have been watched in their entirety the course is deemed completed and a certificate is issued. It should be noted you only have access to the certificate for as long as you continue to subscribe to the service.
Professional accreditations on the platform vary in how they handle their courses and certifications. LinkedIn has their own FAQ on the subject that you can find here.back to menu ↑
A Practical Example of LinkedIn Learning Certificates
For an example of what this all looks like in practice on the platform let’s look at the Microsoft (Technical) Learning Path as outlined on LinkedIn’s own website. Microsoft has designed courses that prepare students to take certification exams, which are available in three levels denoting mastery, in a variety of subjects such as Azure, Windows 10, and the Microsoft Office 365 suite. A sample course of study for certification exam preparation may look like the following:
- An intermediate level Azure exam with, “Prepare for the AZ-203 Developing Solutions for Microsoft Azure Exam,” which comprises of 13 courses instructed over 18 hours.
- The beginner level Microsoft 365 exam “Prepare for the Microsoft 365 Fundamentals Exam (MS-900)” which is spread over 4 courses and nearly 9 hours of instruction.
Final Verdict: Are LinkedIn Learning Certificates Worth It?
With everything we’ve discussed in mind, it is time to make a judgment, are the certificates the LinkedIn platform offers worth it? First are the caveats that course completion certifications are not accredited or a suitable replacement for the type of certification achieved by passing necessary professional exams themselves. That being said we can say this unequivocally:
Professionals who use LinkedIn prodigiously already and want to either add new skills for their current job or look for a new one, will find tremendous value in LinkedIn Learning certificates. A good case can also be made for anyone else who may wish to use the course completion certifications as a motivational method or to display their achievement.
All-in-all the certifications provide a good return of investment, for those that actually master the material, at a reasonable subscription price.
If you are interested in checking out LinkedIn Learning, don’t forget that a one-month free trial is available to everyone, and can be cancelled at anytime, no questions asked, free of charge.back to menu ↑
Thank you for reading our IQ Unlock guide, we hope you learned something about LinkedIn’s online learning platform and its certifications. If you would like to learn about other online course platforms you can check out our handy guides here. And if you are curious about other technical certifications, for example, Docker Certification for Developers, you can check out our coverage here.