I remember when I first considered going to grad school: I was a freshman in college and was still mostly oblivious to the Smaug-pile-of-gold level of debt that would await me the moment I was handed my degree which literally no employer has ever asked me about subsequently. “More college”, as a concept, seems like a pretty good idea! And don’t get me wrong, it’s vital in certain fields. Still, there was something about the idea that also made me feel like a bit of a mark, and so I left the tumultuous, financially straining world of academia well alone and instead threw myself into the tumultuous, financially straining field of freelance blogging.

But learning is cool! It feels good to acquire skills, especially ones that can help you professionally and economically down the line. The model of post-graduate academia is still living in the past. Now there are all kinds of remote, affordable courses in specific fields that can turn you into a pro in no time. Here are our favorite alternatives to going to grad school because you just don’t know what else to do. Each course has its own professional impressively-accredited instructors, so you know even at these price points, you’re getting a crazy good, crazy convenient deal.