How to Earn a Public Speaking Certificate

A public speaking certificate can increase your value as an employee or open new career opportunities.

portrait of Alison Plaut
by Alison Plaut

Updated June 2, 2022

Edited by Madison Hoehn
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How to Earn a Public Speaking Certificate
Feature Image: Luis Alvarez / DigitalVision / Getty Images


In 2009, Warren Buffet famously told graduates of Columbia University’s school of business that they could increase their career value by 50% by learning public speaking and communication skills. Public speaking skills can impress potential employers, increase career opportunities, and build credibility in and out of the office.

Nearly 90% of people experience some degree of anxiety around public speaking. In one study, 95% of participants agreed that public speaking fears could be overcome with courses and counseling.

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Ready to start your journey?

The ability to effectively convey a message or to inspire change in an audience can develop while earning a public speaking certificate. Mastering public speaking can also open new career opportunities. The average hourly pay for public speakers is $187.50, according to PayScale.

Public speaking courses focus on word use, vocal tones, body language, and authenticity. Each element matters. Even a 10% variation in vocal variety or tone can significantly increase audiences’ attention and retention. Courses also draw on skills from actors and singers to help public speakers set the scene in their minds and focus on breath control and tone.

Someone who enjoys public speaking can pursue a career as a public relations expert, motivational speaker, religious leader, speechwriter, professor, or news presenter. But public speaking skills are not only for those who love it — they can benefit nearly any career.

What Are the Requirements for a Public Speaking Certificate?

Public speaking does not have standard certification. Most public speaking certification online courses require a set number of hours. The University of Washington’s public speaking course requires about 60 hours of study within five months, while The Rochester Institute of Technology’s online public speaking course requires only 12 to 18 hours of study within three weeks.

For an even shorter course, Alison offers a public speaking course that takes just one and a half to three hours to complete. The University of North Dakota offers an online public speaking course for college credit with a certificate.

Udemy, EdX, Coursera, and Class Central all offer highly-rated public speaking courses and confer professional certificates. Most courses require participants to pass a final exam to earn their certificate. Other courses only require students to complete the coursework. There are no minimum education requirements.

What Skills Will I Learn With a Public Speaking Certificate?

Students earning public speaking certificates learn to construct speeches for different purposes and audiences. Students also gain an understanding of types of arguments and how to effectively communicate to the audience.

Public speaking certificates may teach voice control, movement, and gestures. Graduates build essential breath control, tone, body position, and vocabulary skills. A public speaking certificate will help students increase their skills and confidence to become effective, dynamic speakers.

Skills gained in a public speaking certificate:

Is a Public Speaking Certificate Worth It?

Public speaking is a valuable skill for career advancement. Those with good public speaking skills are perceived as more confident and competent. Confident public speakers are also often good listeners. They can understand the needs of their audience and inspire change. However, the exact financial benefit is difficult to quantify.

According to Warren Buffet's estimation, those with public speaking skills could earn 50% more over the course of their careers. While the exact value of public speaking certification programs varies, common benefits include higher pay, greater opportunities for advancement, and a competitive edge in the job market.

Proficiency in public speaking can open new opportunities in your current position or in a different career. For example, paid speakers at a conference can earn $500 to $10,000 per talk, depending on the experience level of the speaker.

What Jobs Can I Get With a Public Speaking Certificate?

A public speaking certificate can open new career paths. Some require a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree, but other public speaking jobs have no minimum education requirements.

Public Speaker

Median Annual Salary: $91,020

Projected Job Growth (2020-2024): 4.1%

Public speakers work in various settings and are skilled at educating, entertaining, and motivating an audience. They can be self-employed, work for the government, or a company. Activities include writing and delivering speeches. Public speakers may also offer private or corporate public speaking workshops.

There is no minimum degree required, although some positions may require a bachelor’s degree or higher.


Public Relations Specialist

Median Annual Salary: $62,810

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 11%

A public relations specialist frames and maintains the public image of the clients they represent. Employment opportunities range from large corporations to small companies. While public relations specialists usually work from an office, there are opportunities to attend events, give speeches, and travel for events. A bachelor’s degree is usually required.


Tour Guide

Median Annual Salary: $29,780

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 9.8%

Tour guides work at historical sites, points of attraction, museums, or metropolitan areas. Tour guides act as educators and use their public speaking skills to inform and inspire tourists. This career requires a significant amount of time walking and standing. There is no minimum education requirement.


Speechwriter

Median Annual Salary: $67,120

Projected Job Growth (2020-2030): 9%

Learning public speaking can help you work as a speechwriter. Responsibilities include writing and developing speeches and preparing delivery with the speaker. This career is available in many settings, from politics to private companies and corporations. Although some positions may require a bachelor’s degree, there are no minimum education requirements.

How Much Money Can I Make With a Public Speaking Certificate?

A public speaking certificate can open a variety of career options. Public speakers make a median annual salary of $91,260. Professional speakers can charge $500 to $10,000 or more per talk.

At those levels, a public speaker who gives 20 talks a year could earn $10,000 to $200,000 per year. Public speaking could be a side hustle or a lucrative full-time career.

Average salaries of related careers:

Frequently Asked Questions About Public Speaking Certificates

Which is the best online public speaking course?

The best public speaking course will depend on individual specifications. There are many public speaking courses available online. On Udemy, there are more than 4,500 public speaking courses available.

Some individuals have limited time and want to earn a certification. In that case, courses from LinkedIn, Alison, or a short course from Udemy are some of the best options.

Others want to earn college credit for an online public speaking course. The course from the University of North Dakota is one of the best options with college credit. For longer courses, one of the most comprehensive and highly rated options is the Dynamic Public Speaking Specialization from the University of Washington.

How can I practice public speaking online?

Most online public speaking courses include a practice element. Virtual Speech is one of the best online options for practicing public speaking.

You can also practice public speaking online through social media. Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube all have options to invite a live audience and practice speaking.

In addition, many online courses allow students to network and create practice groups. By connecting with classmates, you gain practice and insight into their techniques. EdX, Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn, and Alison all offer courses where you can meet other students and join study groups to practice public speaking online.

How can I become a dynamic public speaker?

Dynamic public speakers have mastered most aspects of public speaking to deliver a motivational presentation that inspires change. Elements of public speaking include tone, vocabulary, body language, speech length, and use of humor or anecdotes.

Dynamic public speakers radiate confidence. They use self-deprecating humor, storytelling, tone, and body language to create a tone appropriate to the audience. With consistent practice, dynamic public speaking skills can improve.

Becoming a dynamic public speaker requires practice, even in front of the mirror. Watch videos of past speeches and see how you can improve. Ask for feedback from professors, colleagues, or friends.

Do TED speakers get paid?

TED speakers do not get paid for speaking. However, they receive several non-monetary benefits. Speakers benefit from the TED platform and the exposure they receive, networking opportunities, and the prestige of TED events.

TED aims to create a special experience for its speakers. The TED organization provides speakers with excellent accommodations and covers all travel expenses. Speakers are given a pass to all five days of TED conferences.

They also receive coaching and training before their presentation. There are special networking events for speakers. They receive a gift bag and a full web archive of the conference.

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