Discover the many MasterClass alternatives that have given creative professionals access to knowledge to advance their skills.
From creative philosophies and business practices to software tutorials and technique guides, there are numerous online courses and instructional platforms for professionals looking to upgrade their skills within a particular creative field.
MasterClass is one of the best-known platforms. But is it the only one that’s available? Far from it. There are good reasons why professionals may look for a MasterClass alternative, free or paid. So let’s do a brief MasterClass review and look at some of the top alternatives that offer online courses for creatives.
MasterClass targets creatives and is well recognized for its branding and its instructors ― celebrity professionals who are leaders in their respective fields and at the pinnacle of their careers.
The online classes are worth every cent if you want an insider view from leading experts like Aaron Sorkin, chef Gordon Ramsay, and Malcolm Gladwell – but only in a creative discipline. If you want something that doesn’t cost as much or want more technical instruction, you may find that a MasterClass alternative with free tuition or more detailed instruction is better for you.
- Masterclass Competitors
- 1. Udemy: Crowd-Sourced Learning For Everyone
- 2. CreativeLive
- 3. Khan Academy: Free Online Learning For School-Age Children
- 4. Coursera: Accredited Certificates And Degrees From Universities
- 5. LinkedIn Learning: Open-Source Courses With Certificates
- 6. Skillshare: Slideshow-Style Courses In Varying Quality
- 7. The Great Courses: College-Level Classes Without Work
- 8. Nas Academy (The Creator Accelerator Programme)
- 9. Mindvalley
- 10. Rouxbe
- Find Your Online Learning Platform
- Why You Can Trust Us
- Our Testing Criteria
Learn from the world's best teachers and instructors about writing, business, creative pursuits and more. It's affordable and includes dozens of hours of high-quality lessons that you can't get anywhere else.
Various alternatives to MasterClass provide valuable learning for writers and aspiring journalists. Not only are these alternatives valuable in elevating your skillset, but they are also often more affordable or even free. Let’s take a look at the best alternatives available, so you can decide where to put your money and how to level up your creative skills.
1. Udemy: Crowd-Sourced Learning For Everyone
Pricing: Paid courses start at $19.99
Udemy is a crowd-sourced online learning platform. All the online courses are self-paced, and you get a permanent all-access pass for any purchase. Some instructors offer the equivalent of office hours through discussion groups on a different chat platform, but the real content lies in the courses. Since anyone can create a class on Udemy, the platform has amassed an extensive catalog of online courses.
These are hardly limited to or even focused only on creative fields, but there are plenty of courses related to writing, art, composing music, and singing. Everything from how to put on mascara to ways of managing people is covered.
Some of the popular courses for creatives include:
- The Ultimate Drawing Course – Beginner to Advanced by Quinton and Jaysen Batchelor: Covers the building blocks of drawing and art broadly
- Complete Blender Creator – Learn 3D Modeling for Beginners by Rick Davidson and his team: Serves as a technical introduction to Blender
- #1 Sourdough Bread Baking 101 by Teresa L. Greenway: The first of a multi-part series on sourdough bread
- Mastering Architecture and Real Estate Photography by Charlie Borland: An advanced course to learn commercial photography
- Music Theory Comprehensive Complete by Jason Allen: A three-part course bundle to learn the theory behind music composition
As is the case with other crowd-sourced Udemy alternatives, the quality of the coaching varies. Some courses aren’t worth your time, but others offer excellent content on niche topics. For example, YouTube analytics, Clickfunnels, sales funnels, or even automation marketing to make more Facebook friends on auto-pilot. To help you identify which courses are worth doing, there is a 5-star rating system. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied with any course.
- Udemy lets instructors determine whether they want to charge for their courses. There’s a good mixture of paid and free online courses.
- Paid courses start at $19.99 and go up before discounts or sales are considered ― and there are frequent sales.
- Instructors often set up a course as a free offering and then change it to a paid one once the class has gotten enough reviews.
For any topic on Udemy – from social media to private equity – you will have to wade through several courses to find good ones. But the platform has some options that make it a solid choice if you want a paid or free MasterClass alternative.
Pricing: From $39 if billed monthly or $149 for a yearly subscription
CreativeLive is a MasterClass alternative that might seem like a direct competitor but is an excellent complement to the premier online learning platform. Like MasterClass, CreativeLive has top-notch videos from accomplished people in various fields. There aren’t any crowd-uploaded courses here, so you know every option is high-quality.
CreativeLive has a distinct advantage over MasterClass in its course selection. This platform boasts over 1,500 class options, and many are categorized into those related to business, skill, or software within a field. For example, you’ll find everything from technique guides and genre-specific classes to software how-tos and business aids within the Photo & Video category.
Some of the top CreativeLive courses for learners are:
- Adobe Photoshop CC Bootcamp by Blake Rudis: Detailed, easy-to-understand explanations to learn how to use Photoshop CC’s features.
- How to Make a Living Selling What You Make by Megan Auman: A business course for crafters and other creatives.
- Posing 101 by Lindsay Adler: Covers classic poses, unique challenges, and how to shoot portraits.
- Workflow, Time Management and Productivity for Creatives by Lisa Congdon: Examines how creatives can increase their productivity.
- Craft Photography Fundamentals by Candice Stringham: Looks at how to best showcase crafts for better sales.
How do these courses differ from MasterClass?
The answer lies in their instructors and the subject matter. While CreativeLive’s instructors are all accomplished folks, they aren’t celebrities like those at MasterClass. As for content, the courses on CreativeLive tend to be much more pragmatic, while MasterClass favors the theoretical. It’s this latter consideration that makes the two platforms complementary to each other.
- A few courses on CreativeLive are offered for free at certain times, which allows customers to get a feel for it without investing anything but time.
- Individual ones can be purchased for anywhere from $29 to $199 (before sales).
- The Creator Pass subscription is an all-access pass to all of the platform’s courses. This costs $39 if billed monthly or $149 for a yearly subscription.
CreativeLive’s practical courses complement the more theoretical MasterClass programs well if you have the time for longer lessons. Read our CreativeLive review.
3. Khan Academy: Free Online Learning For School-Age Children
Khan Academy is a unique platform that appeals to grade-school teachers and students. But, creatives may find it of limited use. It offers a range of courses primarily focusing on school-grade subjects and favors STEM subjects.
Arts & Humanities is just a small category surrounded by Math, Math by Grade, Science & Engineering, Computing, and the like. Moreover, the lessons offered within Arts & Humanities target school-age students (especially high school students). Teachers and schools use this solution extensively because it teaches the school curriculum and has built-in assessments.
A few online classes that may interest creatives are:
- Sal Chats with Entrepreneurs by Sal Khan: Covers interviews with well-known entrepreneurs like Elon Musk
- The Art of Storytelling by Pixar in a Box: Gives an overview of developing stories’ worlds, characters, plots, and more
- Art History: Covers the basics of art history for students who want to deepen their appreciation
- Intro to HTML/CSS – Making Webpages: Shows how to customize website design
- All courses are free, and you can begin a class without registering.
This is a free MasterClass alternative, but it’s mainly for primary and secondary students. Creatives will find only a few relevant courses.
4. Coursera: Accredited Certificates And Degrees From Universities
Pricing: Starts from free to $49
What Khan Academy seeks to do for primary and secondary education, Coursera does for post-secondary schools. It lets you access a wide selection of self-paced and timed (4-12 weeks) courses from reputed colleges and schools.
You can access over 3,900 courses and specializations on Coursera. Specializations consist of a series of lessons followed by a capstone project. These courses and specializations run the gamut from computer science to art history, but they tend a little toward the math and science side of academia. Creatives will find an adequate, albeit not infinite, selection of relevant programs.
Some of the popular creative programs on Coursera are:
- Photography Basics and Beyond by Michigan State University: A five-course specialization to learn the basics of photography followed by a capstone project.
- Creative Writing Specialization from Wesleyan University: A specialization that goes through plot, character, setting, and style, followed by a capstone project
- Fundamentals of Graphic Design by Calarts: An introduction to graphic design concepts.
- Graphic Design Specialization by Calarts: A more comprehensive five-course specialization in graphic design.
Coursera is one of the rare platforms that let you access accredited courses and degree programs in partnership with accredited colleges and universities. These are particularly useful to people who don’t merely want personal enrichment but are looking for a credential to help them land a job in a given field.
- Many of the courses on Coursera can be trialed for free, but others require a fee.
- Most certificates and degrees are priced at $49.
5. LinkedIn Learning: Open-Source Courses With Certificates
Pricing: Starts free to $29.99 per month
LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) is another open-source platform with a wide variety of video classes. As with other crowd-sourced platforms, the quality of LinkedIn learning classes varies. Some are well done, but others leave much to be desired.
LinkedIn Learning gives you access to an enormous catalog of over 14,000 classes taught by professionals. These courses cover many subjects that creatives will be interested in and plenty of irrelevant ones. Learning Paths provide some guidance on course selection. The mobile app is excellent for learning on the go. Some courses that creatives may want to take include:
- HTML Essential Training by James Williamson: An introduction to reading and using HTML pages
- Creativity Bootcamp by Stefan Mumaw: Approaches creativity as a skill that you can learn and develop
- Deke’s Techniques by Deke McClelland: A long and technical lesson to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
- InDesign Secrets by David Blatner and Ann-Marie Concepcion: A technical course to learn InDesign software
- One-month free trial
- After the trial period, users must pay a subscription of $29.99 per month if billed monthly or $19.99 per month if billed annually. This includes an all-access pass to all classes and perks in LinkedIn Premium.
LinkedIn Learning is a possible MasterClass alternative for those active on LinkedIn. Most, however, will find that another paid or free MasterClass alternative serves them better. Read our LinkedIn Learning review.
Pricing: Ranges from $15 per month or $99 per year
Skillshare is an open-source platform akin to Udemy or LinkedIn Learning. However, compared to these two, Skillshare tends to be lower-rate because there is little barrier to entry. The courses you can access on Skillshare are diverse, with over 25,000.
But, the slide format doesn’t lend itself to art or music production tutorials nearly as well as a video. As a result, many classes offer little value, but you may find a narrowly focused course that covers a specific topic you’re interested in.
Some popular courses include:
- Animation for Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg: Helps you learn the process of creating an animated video step by step
- Odd Bodies: Illustrating Expressive, Stylized People by Tom Foresse: An intermediate-level course to learn how to draw people uniquely
- Logotype Masterclass by Jessica Hische: A practically focused course on how to create logos with Adobe Illustrator
- Productivity Masterclass: Create a Custom System That Works by Thomas Frank: Learn how professional creatives can increase their production
- Many of the courses are free to access
- A subscription of $15 per month or $99 per year gives you an all-access pass to all courses and lets you download as many as you like
Skillshare may be a suitable MasterClass alternative to access a single course on a unique niche (like the course on buying and tasting wine smarter by Gary Vaynerchuk). For most situations, though, there’s a better option. Read our Skillshare vs. Creative Live comparison.
7. The Great Courses: College-Level Classes Without Work
Pricing: Ranges from $19.99 per month or $30 per quarter
Initially called Learning Management Systems and now The Learning Company, this platform has been around since the time of courses on VHS tape. Today, courses are available on CD, DVD, or online streaming.
This is a college-level online education platform meant for non-credit enjoyment. New courses and a large backlog of older (but still relevant) courses are available to stream online.
Some popular courses include:
- How to Draw by David Brody: An introduction to the history, materials, and techniques of drawing
- National Geographic Masters of Photography: An advanced photography course that covers technical aspects as well as genres
- Write Great Fiction by James Hynes: An overview of how to plan, write and revise a novel.
- Building Great Sentences by Brooks Landon: A detailed look at how to write effectively at the sentence level
- Writing Creative Nonfiction by Tilar J. Mazzeo: Explores the growing field of creative nonfiction and how to approach a subject engagingly.
The courses are available in multiple formats. Besides videos, many courses are available on Audible. Notably, The Great Courses and The Great Courses Plus are offered by the same company but available through different websites.
- Video courses can be purchased individually, usually for a couple of hundred dollars, or students can sign up for a subscription.
- Subscriptions are priced at $19.99 per month or $30 per quarter and come with an initial free trial.
This is a good Masterclass alternative if you’re looking for college-level information but don’t want to put effort into a class. The material is comparable to Coursera, but the effort required is much less because there aren’t any certificates to earn.
8. Nas Academy (The Creator Accelerator Programme)
Pricing: Some courses are free. Paid course price varies depending on the course
Nas Academy has a great selection of online classes that can help creators monetize their talents. In addition, with flexible online education, entrepreneurs can participate in independent learning, peer-learning groups, and communication in community-based chat rooms.
Pricing: Nas Academy prices vary from $29 to $450 per course. However, some courses can range up to $3000 total for specialist courses. This is an excellent Masterclass alternative if you are looking for a range of modern courses for entrepreneurs to grow your business and confidence.
Courses come in the categories:
- Content Creation
- Sponsored Classes
- Free Workshops
Pricing: 10-day $1 trial. Courses vary from $199 – $499
Mindvalley is a fantastic way to participate in niche courses not available on Masterclass. There are many interesting categories to be discovered with topics such as spiritual growth, social development, and lifestyle. The range is small but valuable for those looking for specialist courses. The instructors are excellent and acclaimed in their industries, making it a great alternative to Masterclass.
Pricing: Individual courses cost around $199 – $499. The price varies depending on the course, course length, topics covered, and instructor. However, you can pay $1 for ten days to test out courses before you commit to paying the full price.
Pricing: $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
Rouxbe is a fantastic alternative to Masterclass if you are looking for food-related courses. Rouxbe’s culinary courses are taught by world-class chef instructors and veterans of culinary school.
These courses target those who want to learn the traditional culinary techniques used in top-class restaurants across the globe. The courses are self-paced, so you don’t have to commit to specific dates or times for classes. All the resources are available online for you to peruse at your leisure.
Pricing: The prices vary depending on the course you choose.
- The Cooks’ Roadmap, An Introduction – $299.99 ($22 per month).
- Professional Cook – $1299.99 ($73 per month).
- Introduction to Plant-Based Boking – $299.99 ($22 per month).
Find Your Online Learning Platform
MasterClass is a world-class online learning platform, but it’s far from the only one. Depending on what you’re looking for, other alternatives may be more suitable.
Here are our round-up learning platforms to try out:
- Udemy for budget-friendly niche subjects
- CreativeLive for creative courses
- Khan Academy for introductory material
- Coursera for official college-level materials
- LinkedIn Learning for resume-building certificates
- Skillshare for diverse niches and hobbies on a budget
- Great Courses for college-level material and historical courses
- Nas Academy
Why You Can Trust Us
I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines, and online publications, including Forbes and Lifehacker. I’m also a best-selling nonfiction author, a trained journalist, and a copywriter.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars taking writing courses in college and online. As a result, I consider taking courses on platforms like MasterClass, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, Great Courses, and elsewhere a crucial part of my development as a writer and online entrepreneur. I also sometimes commission other writers to review these courses to get another point of view.
Our Testing Criteria
We became a MasterClass customer in 2017. We regularly update this review as new courses are released. Along with the help of a team of writers, we take and review popular courses on mobile and desktop devices and even on TV. We take notes about these courses and consider who they’re for and their strengths and weaknesses.
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