When I started my career in Community Management, I remember taking a couple of day courses with the inspiring Lizzie Jackson to learn about how to set up and build a new online community. The workshops were incredibly helpful in a world where we didn’t yet have the volume of resources for community managers we have access to now.
Over the years I have seen a few similar courses on offer, but there has been a bit of an explosion lately with training possibilities from free to a few thousand, and courses lasting a few weeks to a year.
Not included in this list are degrees offered by established universities that include units dedicated to Social Media or Community Management. Most Marketing or Media courses now include these, so the list would have been too long. I also didn’t include courses offered by agencies as there were simply too many. You can always get in touch with me if you want agency-led teaching – I provide training courses via my employer eModeration.
I’ve rounded the dedicated courses I know of below with a short description and the price. I haven’t taken any of these so can’t comment on the quality, but they are mainly provided by recognised experts in the field of Community Management.
Reddit University, USA: Online Communities 101 course (taught in English, remote online teaching, 7 weeks, free) – Entry level course covering all the basics in relation to the Community Manager role and the whys and hows of building an online community.
IED, Spain: Community Management & Social Media Summer course (taught in English, 4 week full-time over a summer month, €2,500 + extra for accommodation if needed) – Takes students through theory and practical skills needed for community management culminating in the preparation of a social business plan.
INESE, Spain: Manager Community & Social Networking intensive course (taught in Spanish, 5 half-days, €767) – A crash course on the three main social networks and how to drawn up a Social Media Plan around them.
GetSatisfaction, USA: Online Community Manager Training & Certification Course (taught in English, remote online teaching, 4 weeks, $395) - This course is designed to provide students with the necessary knowledge to both manage and moderate an online community.
Feverbee, UK: Pillar Summit (taught in English, remote online teaching, 18 weeks, £5,000) – Taught by Richard Millington, this is a practitioner-led course that goes into much detail around building, managing and developing an online community. It also includes a mass of side-material such as guides, templates and one to one clinics.
eConsultancy, UK: Online Engagement and Community Management certificate (taught in English, 24 weeks, Manchester, £2,450+VAT) – This certificate is focussed mainly on defining objectives and launching a community, and developing a content and curation plan.
WOMMA / the Community Roundtable, USA: Community Management Certificate program (taught in English, approx. 12 weeks, remote online teaching, approx. $1,650) – Includes a number of Community Management specialists delivering s series of webinars. The program covers both contextual topics like market trends, strategy, and culture as well as specific tactical responsibilities related to content development, moderation, enforcing policies, and measuring success. (Disclaimer: eModeration, who I work for, is involved in the delivery of this program)
USC Annenberg, USA: Online Communities Master’s program (taught in English, approx 7 months, USC Campus, approx $23,000) – A Master’s degree in Online Communities focussed within Communications. Large number of experts guest speakers and the opportunity to create an online community as part of the course.
University of Barcelona, Spain: Social Media Community Manager degree (taught in English, remote online teaching, 1 year, €3,900) – A very theory-led and academic approach to Community Management.
Pacific University, Chile: Community Management Master’s degree (taught in Spanish, seems to be remote online teaching, 1 year, approx. $8500) – A comprehensive in-depth degree in Community and Social Media Management theory and practise, including research modules.
A quick edit: @themaria quite rightly points out I missed out the School Of Hard Knocks – it’s worth saying people have become Community Managers for the past 20-odd years without access to courses like those above. While they are no doubt very helpful, hands-on experience is the most important thing you should aim for. Just needs saying.
I’m sure there are more that I have missed – particularly practitioner-led, and in other languages than English. If you know of any more please do post them in the comments and I’ll update this post.
Have you taken any of these courses? Any good?
[photo by scui3asteveo]