New to investing? Udemy's crash course, Stock Market from Scratch for Complete Beginners, will teach you the basics so you can start trading stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more today. And, for a limited time, you can get the course for up to 90% off the sticker price.
Unfortunately, going back to school isn’t an option for everyone. Whether you’re raising a family, don’t have the money for tuition, or simply don’t have time to take a break from your career to continue your education, there is an endless number of reasons why you may not want to enroll in college again.
Thankfully, there is an alternative—online investment courses are affordable, easily accessible, and allow you to learn more about investing on your own time and schedule. We’ve reviewed some of the best online investing courses you can enroll in today, and we’ve included some additional tips on how to identify a great course.
Quick look – the best online investment courses
- Stock Market From Scratch from Udemy – Get it now
- Ultimate Stock Market Investing: Learn How to Value Stocks from Udemy – Get it now
- Peak Analytics’ Direction First Newsletter from Marketfy – Get it now
- The Investing and Trading Library from TD Ameritrade – Get it now
- Introduction to Investments by Frank Paiano – Get it now
- Investing Basics from Morningstar – Get it now
- Stocks, Bonds, and Investing: Oh, My! – Get it now
- What to look for in online investing courses
- The best online investing courses
- Choice 1: “Stock Market From Scratch” from Udemy
- Choice 2: “Ultimate Stock Market Investing: Learn How to Value Stocks” from Udemy
- Choice 3: Peak Analytics’ Direction First Newsletter
- Choice 4: The Investing and Trading Library from TD Ameritrade
- Choice 5: “Introduction to Investments” by Frank Paiano
- Choice 6: “Investing Basics” from Morningstar.com
- Choice 7: “Stocks, Bonds, and Investing: Oh, My!” from The University of Central Florida Online
- Final thoughts
What to look for in online investing courses
All online investing courses were not created equal. While each course you take will likely have a different area of focus, materials, and price, the best online investing courses all share these three common characteristics.
Before you enroll in an online course, read the course description—it should list the skills or trading techniques you’ll learn by working your way through the course material. If the course includes unrealistic claims (like you’ll be learning a “secret technique” investing insiders have been suppressing or the course guarantees that you’ll make a certain amount of money through trading), the course is more likely a get-rich-quick scheme than a reliable educational resource.
Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Comprehensive prerequisite list
An online course isn’t good for much if you can’t understand the material. Before you sign up for a course, check the prerequisite list; some courses will require students to have completed other specific classes, and some will list a set of basic skills that the student should have before signing up.
This is not a money grab—these types of regulations are set into place to help students choose the right courses and get the most out of their time in the virtual classroom, so make sure you heed them. Beware of courses that offer to teach highly advanced or “little-known” investment strategies without a comprehensive list of prerequisites. If you’re a total beginner, sign up for an entry-level course first and move onto higher levels of instruction after completion.
We all run into snags while learning—even the most diligent of students will likely run into a segment or concept that’s a struggle. Because you’re taking an online course, you can’t walk into your professor’s office and knock on their door.
This means it’s especially important to choose a course with an instructor that makes him or herself easily available. Look for courses that offer one or more contact methods to speak to the instructor and send him or her an email introducing yourself and asking a question about the course. The best online instructors will be happy to meet you and share their insights—and you can gauge how easily accessible they are.
The best online investing courses
Based on the criteria above, here are the top online investing courses. Be sure to check out prices/tuition, any additional books you may need, and any special required equipment before you enroll.
Choice 1: “Stock Market From Scratch” from Udemy
Who’s it for? Absolute beginners
“Stock Market from Scratch” is a course aimed at people who are totally new to investing. As the name suggests, you don’t need to have any prior knowledge on investing or the stock market to learn from Stock Market from Scratch—you’ll be introduced to concepts like technical indicators, choosing the right broker, and the differences between many types of equities.
The course is taught using pre-recorded video lessons that clearly lay out ideas, definitions, and concepts by showing examples in real-time on the screen. Instructor Jatin Taneja is a stock market investor with over six years of experience, and he knows how to explain the process of stock buying and selling to students who have never been introduced to the principles of investing.
Choice 2: “Ultimate Stock Market Investing: Learn How to Value Stocks” from Udemy
Who’s it for? Beginning to intermediate investors
Have you invested in the stock market before to little avail? Do you need help learning how to value stocks and make better long-term selections? If you said “yes” to both questions, Ultimate Stock Market Investing might be the right online course for you. “Ultimate Stock Market Investing” assumes that its students have a basic understanding of the buying and selling process but are having trouble determining which stocks will rise in value.
The course focuses less on the technical aspects of the market and more on the whys of market psychology and trading philosophy. Like a real university course, “Ultimate Stock Market Investing” also includes chapter notes and quizzes to help you solidify what you’ve learned. Instructors Randy and Kevin Tudor are passionate about the financial industry and share a combined 40 years of experience in investing and financial advising.
Choice 3: Peak Analytics’ Direction First Newsletter
Who’s it for? Beginning to advanced investors
Price: $39 per month
Peak Analytics’ Direction First Newsletter offers much more than meets the eye. The newsletter’s main offering is its daily stock recommendation list, which offers trading suggestions for the global stock, bond, currency, and commodity markets. The newsletter also features a “Value Technician” section, which lists recommendations for day traders looking to buy and sell undervalued assets, along with advice for entering and exiting these tricky positions.
In addition to their daily newsletters, subscribers to Direction First can also enjoy access to the consulting firm’s activity feed, and traders can even set mobile and email alerts to receive real-time notifications on unusual market movements. The newsletter’s recommended portfolio has consistently outpaced the S&P 500 since 2016—and new subscribers can get in on the action for $39.00 a month. An ideal choice for the trader on-the-go, Peak Analytics’ Direction First Newsletter offers a wealth of information for both new and experienced traders alike along with a solid portfolio of profitable picks.
Choice 4: The Investing and Trading Library from TD Ameritrade
Who’s it for? Investors of all levels
Price: Free. Available on brokerage platform and online.
If you have an account open with TD Ameritrade and you haven’t been taking advantage of its extensive investment and trading resource library, you’re seriously missing out. The investing powerhouse offers a wealth of easy-to-understand and comprehensive trading and investing education guides, how-to videos, and tutorials.
Quizzes, vocabulary dictionaries and a mobile app that allows you to take your learning on-the-go. A massive range of topics from the basics of investing to specific guidance on trading strategies, options, and forex trading, TD Ameritrade’s investing and the trading library is just as useful to the seasoned stock trader as it is for the novice who’s just opened his first IRA. The best part? It’s all completely free—all you’ll need is a current account with TD Ameritrade.
Choice 5: “Introduction to Investments” by Frank Paiano
Who’s it for? Beginning to intermediate investors
Looking for a way to learn about investing for free without a TD Ameritrade account? Too busy to sit at your computer for hours a day with an online course? If you answered “yes” to either of those questions, “Introduction to Investments” (sometimes referred to as BUS-123) is for you. Stocks, bonds, short-term and long-term investments in the form of a free podcast, “Introduction to Investments” is like having a classroom in the back of your pocket—try listening at the gym, on your drive to work, or while waiting to pick up your children from school or a playdate.
Taught by a professor of financial management and investments currently employed at the School of Business and Technology of Southwestern Community College in Tennessee, Paiano’s enthusiasm and love of his material shines through in his podcasts, which are just as engaging as they are educational and informative. Though you’ll only find basic investing education in BUS-123, “Introduction to Investments” is perfect for beginners.
Choice 6: “Investing Basics” from Morningstar.com
Who’s it for? Beginning investors
Chicago-based investment and brokerage firm Morningstar offers much more than asset management—it also has an impressively comprehensive range of investment courses available for free. Though the breadth of its investing curriculum may seem overwhelming at first, beginning investors should pick up “Investing Basics” to get started and move onto more complicated courses from there.
Each online course contains text-based lessons that cover pretty much everything you could ever want to learn about investing. Morningstar also offers four separate curriculums dedicated to bonds, stocks, funds, and portfolio curation, so even experienced investors can learn something new. The best part? Unlike TD Ameritrade’s education library, you don’t need to have chosen Morningstar as your broker or investment manager to utilize great investing resources. Just sign up for a free account (no deposit or minimum account balance required) and start browsing through a library of over 170 courses.
Choice 7: “Stocks, Bonds, and Investing: Oh, My!” from The University of Central Florida Online
Who’s it for? Beginning to intermediate investors
Not everyone who enrolls in an online course is interested in the psychology of trading, investment strategies, or the technical aspects of the market. Some investors just want practical information that they can use to grow their retirement savings, and some want to know how to open the accounts they’ll need to grow their money without memorizing a bunch of mumbo-jumbo.
“Stocks, Bonds, and Investing: Oh My!” is a fun online course taught by Yale University alumni Matt Crabtree that covers the practical side of investing. Over the course of your six-week class, you’ll learn how to create a plan to save for college, open a retirement account and make progress towards realistic financial goals. The course also does more than teaching you the technical terms and skills you’ll need to get started in investing—it also covers personal finance issues and topics that too many Americans ignore. If you’re curious about investing but have no clue how to get started without paying a broker or reading endless Wikipedia articles, Crabtree’s fun and interactive course might be the right choice for you.
It’s never too late to learn more about the ins and outs of investing. The key to learning on your own time is to set a schedule and choose a course that piques your interest. Don’t be afraid to test the waters with other teachers, investment professionals, and advisors—when you step outside of your comfort zone, you never know where your newfound knowledge may take you.