Online Course Finder™: Your Dream Career Is Close

Get qualified with an online course today - find an online course (free or otherwise) to get the skills your career needs.

Learning never stops – and neither should you. Thousands of Australians every year complete online courses to gain the skills they need for career advancement. Are you one of them?

What are online courses?

Online courses are exactly what they sound like: courses you can take part in, online, to boost your skills or knowledge in a particular field. You can complete a course to round out your current education, learn a new skill, or help advance your career. The best online courses will do all three.

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The consultant will work with you to compare a range of courses suitable for you.

How do I find a cheap online course?

Right here! You can find cheap – or even free – courses to round out your skill set right here on finder.com.au. We’ve also compiled a list of online courses codes, meaning you could save on your next payday for next to nothing.

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How will they benefit me?

Do you want to learn (or master) a new skill? Develop a new hobby? Advance your career, or shift into a new career path all together?

Completing an online course can help you achieve all of these things. It’s the easiest way to try a new skill, such as coding, writing, or photography, without committing to a university degree. Online learning is less disruptive to your current lifestyle, as it can be achieved from anywhere, at any time. If midnight is the best time for you to be learning, then midnight it is.

Many online courses will provide teacher support and a network of peers to learn from. Who knows? The person working with you might be recommending you for a job in the near future.

And as with any structured course or class, you’ll also have the added benefit of learning discipline and being held accountable. Once you’ve signed up for the course, you might as well show up, right?

You'll get schedule flexibility as you can access your course at any time, plus all the material is available online. You'll have control over your study time, and in this day and age you can study almost anything online.

If you're worried that you won't be able to interact with your peers, don't be. Most courses offer a chance for interaction with forums and discussion topics plus your tutors are always available online to help.


Finally, online courses tend to be cheaper than actual, physical courses. This is because there are no overheads, such as providing a lecture hall and classrooms for class. You'll find that you don't have to pay for expensive textbooks as well.

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How do I do well in my online course?

The same way you do well in anything else in life: prepare, plan, show up. The beauty of an online course is that – unlike high school, or even a university class you struggled through – no one is forcing you to do it. You’ve picked a course in an area you’re interested in, giving up your own time and money. If you decide it’s not for you, that okay. But if you do want to do it, then getting the work done is half the battle.

Other resources you can turn to include asking the course coordinator for extra assistance, researching the subject online, or asking questions of experts in online forums.

Follow our ten steps and you'll be fine:
  1. Consider asking your school's office to see if you can receive credits for subjects you've done in the past.
  2. Evaluate your current lifestyle to help you determine if an online course is right for you.
  3. Make sure that you do have the time to dedicate towards your online studies.
  4. Let your family and friends know that you are committing to study, so they don't distract you.
  5. Communicate with your profession or tutor regularly.
  6. Always print out the course outline and highlight the part with the schedule. This outlines what content you'll be learning each week and will help you stay on track.
  7. Set a schedule and stick to it. Allow a minimum of two nights per week dedicated to your studies.
  8. Understand that you may need to make some sacrifices to either your work or social life. Including going out on weekends.
  9. Post on the discussion board when you're required. These will count towards participation marks.
  10. Do all your readings and tutorial exercises as scheduled. Don't leave them until the last minute!
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How do I choose a career path?

If we had the answer to that in one simple paragraph, the world would be a different place.

In your lifetime, you are likely to change jobs every couple years, and career paths a few times. It’s not vital to know where you want to be in 20 years time. However, if you’re struggling to decide what to do, there’s a few key questions to ask yourself:

  • What skills do I have? These can be both formal (a university education) and personal (strong people skills).
  • What have I found most rewarding about previous roles? For some people, it’s providing a high level of customer service. For others, it’s about helping people. For some, it’s even purely about making money. Whatever motivates you, you’ll find roles that gravitate towards that.
  • What will the market pay me well for? This is a tricky one. All professions wax and wane in popularity, and the changing nature of the job market means the skills in demand will also change. You can pick up clues, however, by looking at job sites, reading the business section to keep abreast of different industries, and noting who’s in demand at any one time. The general principle is: where the average consumer is spending money, that’s where the business is booming.

The questions you should ask yourself when considering a career, according to Forbes. 

forbes-career-list

Source: Forbes.com

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How do online courses work?

This will vary from course to course. Some courses are intensive, one day sessions, while others allow you to complete over a number of weeks or months. While some courses will allow you to work at your own pace (and hold yourself accountable), others will require deadlines and teacher interaction, even if it is only online.

Online courses give you credits that count towards your transcript in the same way a campus-based course would. You can take a course purely online, or partly with a physical one. Students get to access premium content related to their course along with discussion boards, web pages and multimedia technologies.

Do I get a certificate when I’m done?

Again, this will vary from course to course. Some courses, such as the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) or First Aid, will always provide a certificate at the end as proof of your completion.

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How do I compare online courses?

  • Subject: First things first, you need to find the right course for you. Don’t start a photography courses expecting to get photoshop lessons. Find a photoshop course instead.
  • Career: What skills does your chosen career path value? What skills will set you apart from the competition when applying for jobs?
  • Delivery: Most online courses will not require anything to be delivered to you. If they do, this usually comes with a higher fee, so make sure you know what you’re committing too because you hit ‘purchase’.
  • Provider: Some online courses will carry a heavier weight than others. Check out a few different websites providing, or read a few articles about learning your new skill, or find a forum to ask the experts. If it’s a provider many people in your chosen industry have completed a course from, you’re probably on to a safe bet.
  • Location: Again, with online courses, location generally isn’t a problem. The exception to this rule is if you require (online) face to face time with your tutor, and you live in different time zones.
  • Cost: The biggie. This is the number one factor in deciding which course is for you. Just remember this, though: don’t balk at a few hundred dollars for a course. Chances are the skills you learn will help you earn more money throughout your career, so it’s a solid investment in yourself.
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What are the types of online courses?

  • TAFE Online. Here you’ll find a range of fully accredited vocational courses, with online support and highly specialised teachers. Courses range across a number of industries, including Early Childcare, Fitness, Project Management and Hospitality.
  • University courses. Many Australian universities offer courses by distance, allowing you to complete them online. You’ll still be sticking to the Autumn or Spring semester timetable with assignments or exams, so the course will keep you accountable. You’ll have access to a wide range of support services. Check out Open Universities or Charles Sturt University’s Distance Education for an idea of the courses on offer.
  • Short courses. There are plenty of courses that are measured in days, not years. These will usually revolve around learning a particular new skill, or an intro course to complete before committing to a more intensive one.
  • Business courses. Business courses are ideal for anyone wanting to move into a more managerial role, or who want to start their own business. Typically you’ll find courses in finance, management, real estate, marketing, sales, insurance, strategic planning, and entrepreneurship.
  • Free courses. There’s nothing like getting something for nothing, right? The internet is full of free courses, although their quality tends to differ. Many bloggers will offer a free course or ebook in return for signing up to a newsletter, while some websites like Codecademy have a strong reputation for their value, despite being free. Some of the world’s top universities, such as Harvard and MIT offer free courses online.
  • Distance. This is similar to studying at university, except that you complete all your work online instead of at the tutorial. The bonus is, of course, that you don’t have to travel far or disrupt your life to study.
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What are the 10 most researched online courses?

We've crunched the numbers on Google and it seems the following

  • Photography. Usually BYODSLR (that’s bring-your-own digital SLR camera), photography courses can take you through all steps of the process: art direction, using a digital camera, post-production, and more. Some courses may take you through the whole process, while other photography courses may focus on just one area.
  • Nursing. Studying nursing by distance allows you to have as little disruption to your current work or home life as possibly, while setting up to work in a secure industry.
  • Nutrition. Whether you’re looking to become a full time nutritionist, or simply want to make more informed choices about your food, there are nutritionist courses for every level.
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA). This is absolutely necessary if you want to work any place that serves or supplies alcohol. Take note that each state has different requirements for the RSA. Neither Victoria nor New South Wales will allow you to complete this course online.
  • Management. The art of managing people is a tricky one. Showing you not only have talent but have actively worked to improve your management skills will only impress future employers.
  • Accounting. While it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, accounting is a vital part of any business. Here’s where you get your know-how.
  • Beauty. Beauty courses will take you through a range of procedures, such as facial treatments, lash and brow treatments, waxing, nutrition, and more.
  • First Aid. These are great as a refresher course or to learn more about a specific area of First Aid. However, if you need to learn how to tie a sling or perform CPR, heading into a bricks and mortar school at some point might be well advised.
  • Interior Design. Whether you’re looking for a career change or simply decorating tips before a big renovation, there will be an interior design course for you.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA). A popular one with senior management, getting qualified for an MBA will only help your career path down the track.
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Frequently asked questions

What are the entry requirement for my course?

This will depend on your course type and provider. Most providers will ask for some kind of prior experience. For a Diploma this may be the completion of high school, whereas for a Master’s degree it is more likely to be a Bachelor’s degree. The levels of study is a little bit like a tall building, and in order to move up a floor, you first need to complete the qualification on that floor.
Click here for a full guide to levels of study to give you a better idea.

I don’t like my course. What should I do?

Well, basically, if you’ve started a course and don’t like it, you have three options.

  1. Stick it out, knowing that it will be worth it in the end.
  2. Transfer to something you think you might prefer.
  3. Drop out.

Obviously option number three  should be an extreme last resort. If you’re already on a course, then you’ve probably had to put down a little money to get on it, and if you drop out you’ll probably lose that. If you’re unhappy with your course try to figure out specifically what part you are unhappy with. Is it the work load? The subject? Is it to hard? The study type? Depending on which you think it is it is worth contacting your course leader, perhaps there are ways to tailor your study to you or to get extensions or different deadlines.

Do employers care which uni I go to?

It would be nice if they didn’t, but in a competitive job market, employers do everything that they can to chose between applicants, and this will include the university that you went to. There are various ways of figuring out which university is the best, including official rankings, so if that is important to you then you’ll find it. If you don’t think that you will get into one of the high ranking schools, don’t worry. Your life is going to be what you make of it, if you work hard and seek out new opportunities then you can have the career that you want.

Do I need a Master’s degree?

A lot of undergraduates are beginning to wonder whether they might need a Master’s degree to help them stand out in the crowd and it is a fair question. The job market is competitive, and more qualifications are always a bonus, however, the real answer to this question should come from yourself and be determined by your field. For example, if you want to be a landscape gardener then you might find that a Master’s degree is unnecessary, whereas if you want to an accountant then it could really help. You should also ask yourself, do I want a Master’s degree. Committing to two further years of hard study and the debt that goes along with it is a big deal and should not be entered into just because you think it might help later in life.

Can I handle the study?

Again, this will depend. It’s good to know yourself before you make the decision to study. How do you work? When do you work? Do you work best in a group or alone? Academic study or practical learning? Classroom learner or learn by doing? When making the decision to study it’s important to know that you have many options ahead of you and that you can create or find the path of study that suits you best. And when you think you have found a course that you like it is always useful to try to talk to the professors or course leaders about what to expect. Any information that you have ahead of time will help you to make the correct choice first time and avoid any mistakes.

Do I need my own computer?

If you study online then you will almost definitely need your own computer. It may be possible to study at your library, or on another public computer, but this will restrict your study time greatly. A computer will be a worthwhile investment, and if you’re looking to save a little money on one then check the link below.
Click here for our exclusive deals on laptops and computers.

How does credit transfer work?

All courses are made up of credits. You earn credits by taking and passing classes, and when you have earned enough credits you can put them towards graduating from a particular course. Now, occasionally, though not always, it can be possible to earn credits towards one degree, that you can transfer to another should you wish. For example, if you wished to transfer courses then you may be able to take some credits across with you, which will save you a lot of time and money. Or if you study a short course that earns you credit, you may be able to use that towards a higher degree. Each institution has a different policy on credit transfer, so if you’re thinking of changing or wondering if you can put credits you have towards a course you’re taking then check with your provider.

Education versus experience?

This is the big question for potential students and many hiring managers. Do you hire someone with education or experience? And for potential students, what is more likely to land a job? The truth is that you’re going to need both. Thankfully, it’s very possible to do both at the same time. Study and work are becoming more flexible. You can definitely study at home in your own time, and you may even be lucky enough to find a good part time or remote work job. Studying and working is hard though, so dig in and get ready, and if things don’t work out don’t be discouraged, this is all just part of the journey to your dream job.

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