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The online marketing world is continually going through transitions. It can be challenging to keep up with all of the new strategies, trends, and Google algorithm workarounds. It’s understandable to fall on either end of the spectrum, either staying vigilant about learning every new change or getting burned out, even trying to keep up. It’s handy to have a go-to way to ensure you’re up to date with the world of inbound marketing — and other digital marketing areas — each year. 

Let me introduce you to HubSpot Academy. It touts itself as the “worldwide leader in free online training for inbound marketing, sales and customer service professionals.” HubSpot Academy consists of narrated videos, how-to tutorials, and hands-on activities. Marketing, sales, and service professionals across the world use it as both foundational and continuing education. 

These courses are growing in popularity each year. According to HubSpot, the certification rate has almost tripled from its first year in 2016 when 55,000 people were awarded. In 2018, HubSpot Academy awarded 140,000 certifications. Here’s what you should know about HubSpot Academy to help you determine whether it’s the right fit for you and your career.

What to expect

A feature of HubSpot Academy that bears repeating is the fact that it’s free. While most courses are at least a three- to four-hour time commitment, that’s all that you spend on them. Of course, if halfway through you don’t feel like you’re getting anything out of it, you’re not obligated to continue.

Loaded with foundational information that you’ll need to know for just about every other course HubSpot offers, the Inbound Marketing course is your first step. If you’re a pretty experienced marketer, you might think you can skip over the Inbound Marketing course. Still, if anything, it’ll be beneficial to brush up on some of the jargon and nitty-gritty aspects of marketing that you might not use in your day-to-day work. 

Other popular certification courses HubSpot offers include Content Marketing, Inbound Sales, Social Media. The Academy also offers “short courses,” which are usually between an hour and three hours long, and dive deep into more specific topics like Twitter Strategy or SEO.

None of the HubSpot Academy courses’ certifications last forever. While some are valid for 25 months, others expire after just 13 months. It seems like a drag to have to retake the test, but it’s the most effective way to ensure you’re up-to-date on the most recent changes to the programs that you’re working with. You don’t have to re-watch the videos, but it doesn’t hurt to brush up.

You get out what you put in

Like most online courses, you can burn through the HubSpot Academy videos pretty quickly and not retain any of the information if you don’t make a real effort. A lot of information gets crammed into each of these classes. It would be almost impossible to watch all of the videos and remember everything that’s said. So pay close attention and take as many detailed notes as you can. That way, you can get the most out of your HubSpot Academy courses.

After each course, you’ll take an exam. Depending on which course you take, it usually takes about an hour to complete. However, you have three hours to do so. To pass each course and become certified in each area, you don’t have to answer each question correctly, but you do have to score 80 percent. 

If you’re having your employees take the Academy courses, you might want to allow study groups or let them take the exam in pairs. Discussing the course and talking about the questions is a way to ensure everyone stays engaged, helping them retain all of the information that they’re taking in.

If you don’t pass the first time you take the test, don’t worry! You can retake it in 12 hours. To up your chances of passing, read the study guide. You can also go back and rewatch videos that focus on the areas of the test that you struggled on. You’ll get it the second time around!

Professional benefits

The main advantage of taking the HubSpot Academy certification courses is the fact that you’ll enhance your skills. If you maintain your certification, you’ll get refreshers each year or two and stay sharp. If you want bragging rights, though, you can also get them here. When you pass a course, you can add a badge to your LinkedIn page (and add it to your resume!)

The HubSpot Academy is a massive asset in the workplace, accelerating onboarding for new employees and giving people transitioning to a new role in the marketing or sales departments a good foundation. It’s not necessary to take every course HubSpot has to offer, so you can focus on just the ones you need. If someone is getting paid advertisements, added to their plate at work, there’s a course for that!