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The Best Profitable Online Course Ideas & Topics [+Examples]

Online courses are a lucrative market, but you need a profitable idea to succeed.  A winning online course requires both your subject-matter expertise and a topic that generates enough demand that potential customers will be lining up to pay to learn it. 

There are so many ideas for profitable online courses, and in this article, we’ll outline some of the best online course ideas grouped by topic and present some real-world examples of online courses in those niches. 

Of course, you should do your own market research to ensure there’s demand for your idea, because you’ll be adapting the ideas presented here to your own specific expertise and target audience. 

How to Find the Right Topic for Your Online Course?

Choosing the right topic is the first step to creating an online course. It’s crucial for the success of your online course and business.  Check out our step-by-step guide to creating an online course here.

Finding the right topic is crucial because if the topic doesn’t address a genuine need or pain point within your target audience, it is useless — both to you and the end user!

You have to find a topic that serves a need, trades on your subject-matter expertise or credibility, and feeds your personal passions. 

online course ideas

Below, we’ve outlined some of the best online course ideas illustrated with examples to help spark your curiosity and creativity. 

Online Course Ideas on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is one of the trendiest topics right now and offers many profitable online course ideas.  There’s a growing interest in AI across many different industries and it’s a promising area to explore if you have interest or expertise.

AI may be a good topic for online courses because the demand for AI skills is skyrocketing as businesses look to leverage its competitive advantage. It has wide applications spanning a variety of industries, which could help ensure a broad audience or a diversity of sub-topics. AI is constantly evolving, ensuring that learners who want to stay ahead will want to invest in education both now and in the future. And due to the demand, AI courses could command premium prices. 

But you should consider the technical complexity and fast-changing nature of AI. You will need to become or collaborate with experts to deliver high-quality content and your content may need to be frequently updated to remain relevant.  You’ll also want to clearly define your target audience and their skill level to avoid frustration. 

Best Online Course Ideas in AI

  1. How to Prompt for Content Creation: Teach learners how to use AI tools like ChatGPT to generate content, improve writing, and streamline content creation processes.
  2. Choose the AI Tools You Need: Guide your audience through the landscape of AI tools, helping them select the right tools for specific tasks such as data analysis, automation, and content generation.
  3. Understand Generative AI: Explain the principles and applications of generative AI, including how it creates new content, art, and solutions based on input data.
  4. Machine Learning: Cover the fundamentals of machine learning, including algorithms, model training, and real-world applications.
  5. AI in Healthcare: Explore how AI is revolutionizing healthcare with applications in diagnostics, personalized medicine, and predictive analytics.
  6. AI in Finance: Discuss the impact of AI on financial services, including risk management, fraud detection, and investment strategies.
  7. Natural Language Processing (NLP): Teach the basics of NLP, its applications in chatbots, sentiment analysis, and language translation.
  8. Robotics and AI: Combine robotics and AI to showcase how intelligent robots are designed, programmed, and used in various industries.
  9. AI Ethics and Policy: Address the ethical considerations and regulatory policies surrounding AI, preparing learners to navigate these critical aspects responsibly.
  10. AI for Marketing and Sales: Demonstrate how AI can enhance marketing strategies, customer segmentation, and sales forecasting.

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Examples of AI Online Courses

Coursera: “AI For Everyone” by Andrew Ng
This course provides a non-technical introduction to AI, aimed at helping learners understand AI concepts and how they can be applied in various fields. AI For Everyone
Udacity: “Intro to Machine Learning with PyTorch and TensorFlow”
This course covers the basics of machine learning using two of the most popular frameworks, PyTorch and TensorFlow, focusing on real-world applications. Intro to Machine Learning
edX: “Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques” by Stanford University
An advanced course that delves into the principles and techniques behind AI, covering algorithms, robotics, and more. Artificial Intelligence: Principles and Techniques

Business & Entrepreneurship Online Course Ideas

The vast majority of businesses in the U.S. are small businesses, and so the realm of business and entrepreneurship is rich with opportunities for creating courses.  

The internet has lowered the barrier to entry for many people to start businesses, and as more aspire to become entrepreneurs, there is a growing demand for education and guidance. 

Business and entrepreneurship could be a prime topic for online courses because of the high demand from a diverse audience.  It’s easy to offer practical, actionable advice and skills in this area that learners can immediately apply, increasing the perceived value of the course.  Plus, business and entrepreneurship can be an umbrella for many different subtopics, allowing you as a creator to specialize and address niche markets to decrease competition.

Of course, you must consider and clearly understand your target audience to create the right content to meet their specific needs and skill levels.  You’ll need to ensure your content is up-to-date and practical, with appropriate interactive elements to keep learners engaged.  To be successful, you’ll want to establish your credibility and experience in your field and present case studies and success stories to illustrate your points. 

Best Online Course Ideas in Business & Entrepreneurship

  1. How to Start a Business: Provide a comprehensive guide on the steps involved in starting a business, from ideation to launch.
  2. How to Franchise a Business: Teach the intricacies of franchising, including legal considerations, operational setup, and marketing strategies.
  3. Develop a Business Plan: Focus on creating a solid business plan that covers market analysis, financial projections, and strategic planning.
  4. Starting an Online Shop: Offer insights into setting up and running a successful e-commerce business, including choosing platforms, managing inventory, and digital marketing.
  5. Financial Management for Small Businesses: Cover essential financial skills such as budgeting, accounting, and financial planning tailored for small business owners.
  6. Marketing Strategies for Entrepreneurs: Teach effective marketing techniques, including digital marketing, content marketing, and social media strategies.
  7. Leadership and Team Management: Focus on developing leadership skills, managing teams, and fostering a positive workplace culture.
  8. Scaling Your Business: Provide strategies for scaling operations, managing growth, and maintaining quality and customer satisfaction.
  9. Innovation and Product Development: Discuss the process of innovating and developing new products, from idea generation to market launch.
  10. Entrepreneurial Mindset and Motivation: Help learners cultivate the mindset and resilience needed for entrepreneurial success.

Examples of Business & Entrepreneurship Online Courses

Coursera: “Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business” by the University of Maryland
This course covers the essentials of starting a business, including opportunity identification, business planning, and financial considerations. Entrepreneurship: Launching an Innovative Business
Udemy: “The Complete Business Plan Course (Includes 50 Templates)”
A comprehensive guide to creating a business plan, this course includes practical templates and examples to help learners develop their own plans. The Complete Business Plan Course
LinkedIn Learning: “Become a Small Business Owner”
This learning path covers various aspects of running a small business, from startup fundamentals to marketing and finance. Become a Small Business Owner

Online Software & IT Course Ideas

If you are an expert in a particular software or platform, you can share your expertise with others through an online course. It’s an especially great place to combine your expertise — in a particular program — with an interested niche to eliminate competition. For example, a course on mastering spreadsheets for HR directors, or how to use a popular email marketing software for yoga instructors. 

Software and IT can be a lucrative online course topic because there’s a high demand for specific instruction, and the pace of change with these tools ensures there’s always a market for education. There’s a wide range of topics under this umbrella and a diverse variety of audiences who might be interested. Plus, many learners pursue skills in software or IT to advance their careers, which is a direct return on investment when buying your course and could allow you to price at a more premium level.

On the other hand, your content must be both technically accurate and easy to understand. You’ll want to include opportunities for hands-on practice and real-world projects so that your learners can see how the skills they’re learning will translate to their real lives.  And because software is always being updated, so too will your course materials need to stay up to date to remain relevant and valuable.

Best Online Course Ideas in Software & IT

  1. Learn UX (User Experience): Teach the principles of UX design, including research methods, wireframing, prototyping, and usability testing.
  2. Learn How to Code: Offer courses in various programming languages such as Python, Java, C++, and JavaScript, catering to different skill levels from beginners to advanced coders.
  3. How to Use Excel: Cover everything from basic spreadsheet functions to advanced data analysis, automation with macros, and visualizations in Excel.
  4. How to Use Photoshop: Provide training on Adobe Photoshop for tasks ranging from photo editing and graphic design to creating marketing materials and digital art.
  5. How to Choose and Use the Right CRM (Customer Relationship Management): Guide learners through selecting, implementing, and effectively using CRM software to manage customer interactions and data.
  6. Choose the Right Online Course Platform: Help aspiring course creators navigate the selection process of online course platforms, comparing features, pricing, and user experience.
  7. Cybersecurity Fundamentals: Teach the basics of cybersecurity, including how to protect systems, networks, and data from digital attacks.
  8. Web Development: Offer comprehensive courses on building websites using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and frameworks like React or Angular.
  9. Data Science and Analytics: Cover data analysis, visualization, and machine learning techniques using tools like Python, R, and SQL.
  10. Cloud Computing: Provide training on cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, focusing on cloud architecture, deployment, and management.
  11. Network Administration: Teach the essentials of setting up, managing, and troubleshooting networks, including hands-on labs and simulations.
  12. Project Management Software: Offer courses on popular project management tools like Jira, Trello, and Asana, focusing on features and best practices for effective project management.

Examples of Software & IT Online Courses

Udacity: “Intro to Programming Nanodegree”
This course is designed for beginners to learn the basics of programming, covering languages like HTML, CSS, and Python. Intro to Programming Nanodegree
Coursera: “Excel Skills for Business” by Macquarie University
A comprehensive course that teaches Excel from basic functions to advanced data analysis, designed for business professionals. Excel Skills for Business
LinkedIn Learning: “Photoshop 2023 Essential Training: The Basics”
This course covers the fundamentals of Photoshop, from basic photo editing to complex graphic design techniques. Photoshop 2023 Essential Training

Online Course Ideas About Finance

The topic of finance presents a wealth of profitable opportunities (pun intended). Not only is it a popular and evergreen subject, but it also addresses a crucial aspect of people’s lives. 

Finance makes a good course topic because there’s perennial demand, and the basics don’t change very much, meaning you may be able to choose a sub-topic that won’t require frequent updating. Finance is also a great niche to combine with a particular demographic or target market; for example, a course on investing for teachers will face less competition than a general course on investing. 

Best Online Course Ideas in Finance

  1. Understanding Crypto: As the crypto market continues to evolve, there is a growing demand for courses that provide a comprehensive understanding of blockchain technology, altcoins, and the intricacies of the crypto landscape.
  2. Manage Your Budget: Personal finance management is a perennial concern for many. A course that educates individuals on budgeting, saving, and making sound financial decisions can be immensely beneficial and in-demand.
  3. Invest in Real Estate: Real estate investment is a popular avenue for wealth creation. An online course that guides participants through the process of real estate investment, property valuation, and market trends can appeal to aspiring investors.
  4. Financial Planning for Retirement: As the population ages, there is a growing need for courses that offer guidance on retirement planning, pension management, and financial security in later years.
  5. Stock Market Fundamentals: Understanding the stock market and investment strategies is a valuable skill. A course that covers stock market basics, investment analysis, and portfolio management can attract both novice and seasoned investors.

Examples of Finance Courses

“Advanced Valuation and Strategy” on Coursera: This course covers the fundamentals of advanced finance in an easy-to-understand manner and provides you with the latest concepts needed to stay ahead in this field(
“Financial Accounting and Budget Planning” on edX: This course dives deep into financial concepts such as portfolio management, credit scores, savings accounts, purchasing a house, and interest rates (
“Leading with Finance” by Harvard Business School Online: This course offers the perfect opportunity to refresh your core finance skills and interact with a global group of colleagues in an online format that is ideal for your schedule (

Online Health, Wellness & Fitness Course Ideas

There are so many profitable online course ideas that fall under the topic umbrella of health, wellness, and fitness, that the list could be practically endless. And it doesn’t seem as though the demand for such courses is likely to decrease any time soon. Our popular western culture is obsessed with health and wellness, and finding an audience for this type of course can be easy. This is another topic area where combining your expertise with a particular group or demographic can help you stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

You’ll want to ensure that the information you provide is accurate, up-to-date, and safe; there may be legal considerations around what is considered “medical advice” so be sure to understand the limits of what you can and cannot say. Your content should also be engaging, moreso for these topics than others, because people can often get bored with repetitive fitness activities. And it’s a great idea to make your content as accessible as possible so that people of all fitness levels and abilities can participate.

Best Online Course Ideas in Health, Wellness & Fitness

  1. Yoga: Offer courses on various yoga styles such as Hatha, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga, focusing on techniques, breathing exercises, and meditation.
  2. Running: Provide training programs for different levels, from beginner runners to marathon preparation, including tips on technique, nutrition, and injury prevention.
  3. Managing Weight After Menopause: Focus on the unique challenges and effective strategies for managing weight and maintaining health post-menopause.
  4. Post-Pregnancy Weight Loss: Guide new mothers through safe and effective post-pregnancy weight loss plans, including nutrition and exercise routines.
  5. Fitness for Seniors: Design fitness programs tailored to seniors, emphasizing mobility, strength, balance, and overall health.
  6. Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Teach techniques for mindfulness, meditation, and stress management to improve mental well-being.
  7. Nutrition and Healthy Eating: Offer courses on balanced diets, meal planning, and nutrition for different health goals and lifestyles.
  8. Strength Training: Provide comprehensive strength training programs for different fitness levels, focusing on technique, routines, and progression.
  9. Holistic Wellness: Combine physical fitness, mental health, and nutrition to offer a holistic approach to wellness.
  10. Cardio Workouts: Create programs that include various cardio exercises such as HIIT, cycling, and aerobics for different fitness levels.
  11. Pilates: Teach the fundamentals and advanced techniques of Pilates for core strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.
  12. Mental Health Awareness: Provide education on mental health topics, including coping strategies, recognizing symptoms, and seeking help.

Examples of Health, Wellness & Fitness Online Courses

Glo: “Beginner Yoga” This course offers a variety of beginner-friendly yoga classes that focus on foundational poses, breathing techniques, and mindfulness practices. It’s designed to help newcomers build a strong base in yoga. Glo Beginner Yoga
Udemy: “Pilates Mat Training Certification” This comprehensive course covers the fundamentals and advanced techniques of Pilates, focusing on mat exercises. It is suitable for both beginners and those looking to become certified Pilates instructors. Udemy Pilates Mat Training Certification
Coursera: “The Science of Well-Being” by Yale University This course focuses on mental wellness, teaching evidence-based strategies for increasing happiness and building healthier habits. It combines insights from psychology and neuroscience to help learners improve their overall well-being. The Science of Well-Being

Online Course Ideas About Parenting

Parents have sought out advice on parenting since the beginning of time, but the internet has made it easier to connect with people facing the same challenges and raising children with similar needs.  There is a wide range of opportunities for online course topics around parenting serving diverse populations within parenting groups.

There’s a high demand for quality content in this sector, with a high probability that you can make a real difference in people’s lives with the right information and courses. Online courses offer parents flexibility and convenience to learn at their own time and pace, making them perfect for people with kids of all ages.

Your course should focus on providing evidence-based content and lean into your particular expertise and certifications. It’s important to embrace a tone of empathy and sensitivity when helping parents overcome their challenges in order to build a bond with your students. And you may find that interactive elements like forums, Q&A sessions, and message boards can help the parents feel heard and part of a community.

Best Online Course Ideas in Parenting

  1. Raising a Kid with Autism: Provide guidance and strategies for parents raising children with autism, covering topics such as communication, behavior management, and educational support.
  2. Co-Parenting After Divorce: Offer advice on navigating co-parenting after divorce, focusing on communication, conflict resolution, and creating a stable environment for children.
  3. Navigating Pregnancy: Guide expecting parents through the stages of pregnancy, including prenatal care, nutrition, preparing for childbirth, and postpartum recovery.
  4. Positive Discipline Techniques: Teach parents effective and positive discipline strategies to manage their children’s behavior and encourage cooperation.
  5. Early Childhood Development: Cover the key milestones and activities to support early childhood development, including cognitive, emotional, and physical growth.
  6. Parenting Teenagers: Provide insights and strategies for parenting teenagers, addressing topics like communication, independence, and navigating adolescence.
  7. Healthy Eating for Kids: Offer guidance on promoting healthy eating habits for children, including meal planning, nutrition education, and dealing with picky eaters.
  8. Work-Life Balance for Parents: Help parents find a balance between their professional responsibilities and family life, offering time management tips and self-care strategies.
  9. Parenting Children with Special Needs: Focus on supporting parents of children with various special needs, providing resources, strategies, and emotional support.
  10. Building Emotional Resilience in Kids: Teach parents how to foster emotional resilience and mental health in their children, covering topics like emotional regulation and coping skills.
  11. Digital Parenting: Provide guidance on managing children’s screen time, online safety, and fostering a healthy relationship with technology.
  12. Mindful Parenting: Introduce mindfulness techniques to help parents stay present and manage stress, creating a calm and nurturing home environment.

Examples of Parenting Online Courses

Positive Parenting Solutions: “7-Step Parenting Success System” This course offers a comprehensive guide to positive parenting, covering discipline strategies, communication techniques, and methods for fostering cooperation and respect. 7-Step Parenting Success System
Udemy: “Stress Reduction for Parents of Special Needs Children” This course provides practical advice and strategies for parents of children with special needs, addressing a range of topics from education to emotional support. Stress Reduction for Parents of Special Needs Children
Coursera: “Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing” by Yale University This course offers evidence-based parenting strategies from Yale University, focusing on behavior management, communication, and fostering positive relationships. Everyday Parenting: The ABCs of Child Rearing

Best Ideas for Online Courses on Art & Crafts

Arts and crafts are such popular topics for online courses that there are entire websites and communities dedicated to providing courses on all sorts of topics.  Using video on the internet is a wonderful way to teach a visual medium when you can’t be in the same room and allows students to learn from teachers all over the world. In this case, it’s more likely that the specific techniques and projects you teach will differentiate you rather than appealing to a particular demographic — though “drawing for teens” or “portrait photography for grandparents” could certainly hold appeal!

There’s a growing interest in creative hobbies and that translates into demand for courses that teach everything from the basics to more advanced techniques. Arts and crafts appeal to a wide range of people in all sorts of demographics and there’s a huge variety of sub-topics you can explore. Plus, courses in this area are just fun and engaging!

If you’re considering a course topic in arts and crafts, you’ll want to ensure you have high quality visuals, clear instructions, and detailed lists of materials. Project-based courses do well, so consider structuring your course — or modules within your course — around individual projects.

Best Online Course Ideas in Art & Crafts

  1. How to Play Piano: Teach piano basics, music theory, and techniques for beginners through advanced players, including reading sheet music and performing.
  2. Photography: Offer courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels, covering topics such as camera settings, composition, lighting, editing, and specific genres like portrait or landscape photography.
  3. Knitting: Provide instructions on knitting techniques, patterns, and projects for all skill levels, from simple scarves to complex sweaters and accessories.
  4. Drawing and Sketching: Teach fundamental drawing skills, perspective, shading, and various styles such as realistic, cartoon, or abstract drawing.
  5. Painting (Watercolor, Acrylic, Oil): Offer courses on different painting techniques and mediums, focusing on color theory, brushwork, and creating various types of artwork.
  6. Pottery and Ceramics: Guide learners through the basics of working with clay, including hand-building techniques, wheel throwing, glazing, and firing.
  7. Jewelry Making: Teach techniques for creating handmade jewelry, including beading, wire wrapping, metalwork, and incorporating different materials.
  8. Scrapbooking and Paper Crafts: Provide ideas and techniques for creating personalized scrapbooks, greeting cards, and other paper crafts.
  9. Sewing and Fashion Design: Cover sewing basics, pattern making, garment construction, and fashion design principles.
  10. Digital Art and Illustration: Offer courses on creating digital art using software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Procreate, including techniques for digital painting, vector art, and illustration.
  11. Calligraphy and Hand Lettering: Teach the art of beautiful writing, including different styles of calligraphy and hand lettering techniques.
  12. DIY Home Decor: Provide ideas and instructions for creating personalized home decor items, including furniture upcycling, wall art, and seasonal decorations.

Examples of Successful Arts & Crafts Online Courses

Craftsy: “Learn How to Knit: Beginner Basics” This course offers step-by-step instructions for beginners to learn knitting basics, including how to cast on, knit, purl, and bind off. Craftsy Learn How to Knit: Beginner Basics
Udemy: “Photography Masterclass: A Complete Guide to Photography” A comprehensive course that covers everything from basic camera settings to advanced photography techniques, including post-processing and editing. Udemy Photography Masterclass
Domestika: “Modern Watercolor Techniques” This course teaches modern watercolor techniques, focusing on color theory, composition, and creating various types of artwork with watercolors. Domestika Modern Watercolor Techniques

Online Courses Ideas in Coaching

Coaching is a growing field and coaches are emerging in all sorts of niches — from business and relationship coaching to general life coaching and more. There’s a high demand for expert guidance across industries and interests. This can make coaching a lucrative niche for online course creators.

Coaching is a great topic because there’s a high demand for personalized support, it covers a versatile range of applications, and it can be very impactful.  Plus, if you develop the right framework, it’s a highly scalable business model; you can train additional coaches in your methodology to grow your practice. 

You’ll want to establish your credibility and expertise right up front and provide clear frameworks and tools for your coaching clients. Emotional intelligence and empathy are key for any coach, and you’ll need to display them even in a course environment. 

Best Online Course Ideas in Coaching

  1. Mastering Professional Interviews: Teach job seekers how to prepare for and excel in professional interviews, including techniques for answering common questions, body language tips, and follow-up strategies.
  2. Relationship Coaching: Offer guidance on building and maintaining healthy relationships, covering communication skills, conflict resolution, and emotional intelligence.
  3. Life Coaching: Provide a comprehensive course on life coaching, helping learners set and achieve personal goals, overcome obstacles, and enhance their overall well-being.
  4. Time Management Coaching: Teach effective time management techniques, including prioritization, goal setting, and productivity hacks to help learners make the most of their time.
  5. Career Coaching: Offer insights and strategies for career development, including resume building, networking, career transitions, and leadership skills.
  6. Health and Wellness Coaching: Guide individuals on improving their health and wellness through lifestyle changes, nutrition, fitness, and stress management.
  7. Executive Coaching: Provide coaching for business leaders and executives, focusing on leadership development, strategic planning, and organizational management.
  8. Financial Coaching: Teach individuals how to manage their finances effectively, covering budgeting, investing, debt management, and financial planning.
  9. Coaching for Parents: Offer strategies and support for parents to navigate the challenges of raising children, including discipline, communication, and work-life balance.
  10. Entrepreneurship Coaching: Help aspiring entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, covering business planning, marketing, funding, and scaling.
  11. Mindfulness and Stress Management Coaching: Teach techniques for mindfulness, meditation, and stress reduction to improve mental well-being and resilience.
  12. Public Speaking Coaching: Provide training on public speaking skills, including speech writing, presentation techniques, and overcoming stage fright.

Examples of Coaching Online Courses

“Introduction to Life Coaching” by Udemy This course offers a comprehensive introduction to life coaching, covering the fundamentals of coaching techniques, goal setting, and client communication. Udemy Introduction to Life Coaching
Udemy: “Time Management Mastery: Do More, Stress Less” This course teaches effective time management strategies to help learners boost productivity and reduce stress, focusing on practical tools and techniques. Udemy Time Management Mastery
Coach Training Alliance: “Certified Coach Program” This program provides professional certification for aspiring coaches, offering comprehensive training on coaching techniques, business development, and client management. Coach Training Alliance Certified Coach Program

Looking for more? Check out all our articles on building an online course.

Lacy Boggs

Lacy Boggs is a content creator with AccessAlly, author of the bestselling Kindle ebook, “Make a Killing With Content,” and the mastermind behind the podcast, “Ace Stone, Marketing Detective.”

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