Going Zero to Hero with Excel: Finding In-Person Excel Training That Works For You
I’ve been there before. Listlessly typing “Excel classes near me” in my web browser, feeling overwhelmed with the many, many options, and quickly closing the tab. It’s always intimidating to learn a new job skill, but somehow this one felt impossible to even start.
Excel has become a staple of many jobs, especially those handling large volumes of data. And while I thought I knew how to use Excel well enough when I was applying for jobs, I quickly found out that expectations at my new position were way beyond my experience. So what do you do if you realize your Excel skills are not up to snuff? Sure, there might be a helpful Excel whiz on your team willing to lend a hand, but it’s much better to get the skills and confidence for yourself.
Eventually, I found a great course provider that helped me flesh out my more basic knowledge into what I needed to thrive in my role. But getting to that point was tough! Going through provider after provider, confused as to what I needed. Was I a beginner, or should I be looking at intermediate courses? How could I be sure I was learning meaningful skills? I want to help you skip some of that uncertainty, and get straight to finding your ideal Excel training.
In the list below, you’ll find what I learned about in-person learning, how to know if you’re well-suited to in-person classes, and how to choose between online and in-person. I’ll also walk you through the basics of finding Excel training classes, where to look, and how to find a class that matches your specific needs.
Unfortunately, I can’t provide class recommendations for every possible US city and town, but I’ve included in-depth information about Excel training in several key US hubs, including some great providers that have multiple locations across the US. You’ll get information on the classes offered, the average budget for courses, and where the courses are held. Finally, I’ve answered some frequently asked questions about Excel that might be on your mind!
I hope you leave this page feeling a lot more confident about finding an in-person Excel class that suits your exact needs. Good luck!
- In-Person vs. Online Training
- How to Find the Best In-Person Excel Training
- Best Excel In-Person Classes in the USA
- Microsoft Excel In-Person Training FAQ
In-Person vs. Online Training
First up, I want to be clear—there’s nothing wrong with learning Excel online! But every brain is wired differently, and everyone has learning styles that they’re best suited to. Before we move on, let’s go over the seven types of learners. Naturally, it differs where each and every one of us falls on the spectrum of these styles.
- Auditory learners work best listening to lectures, explanations or other audio-based learning materials.
- Verbal/Linguistic learners are closely-associated with auditory learners, but their preferred style involves both listening and speaking/writing through explanations as a way to retain information.
- Visual/spatial learners learn best with visual-heavy material.
- Logical learners prefer systematic learning which involves following steps or procedures
- Physical (kinaesthetic) learners prefer to “take things apart and put them together again” themselves, and struggle if they’re just shown how to do something.
- Social/interpersonal learners thrive in bigger groups where they can bounce their new ideas off other people.
- Solitary/intrapersonal learners prefer to be left alone to digest new information.
Many of us fall into more than one of these categories, but there are also usually at least a few methods of learning that don’t work for someone at all. So, to take it back to in-person versus online Excel training, what’s important is finding a class that caters to how you learn. Consider what your learning strengths and weaknesses are, and choose a class that plays to your strengths to make sure you’re getting the most out of your Excel learning experience.
Why Go For In-Person Excel Training?
We live in the digital age. Online learning resources are everywhere, especially when it comes to software as popular and widely used as Excel. So what still draws people to in-person learning?
The quick answer – Excel is intimidating and learning it from scratch, at home, in front of your own PC, has its limitations. First of all, the physical presence of the instructor makes it easier to ask questions and if you’re a beginner, trust me, you’ll have tons of questions. Raising your hand and getting immediate feedback is almost always preferable to trying to get in touch with your teacher over a digital medium or hoping that your Internet connection doesn’t fail while you try to ask your questions during an online class.
With Excel, just like with many other tools, it’s all about getting things right, from the very start. Having an instructor physically, right in front of you, means that you can ask them to come to your machine and demonstrate concepts that were confusing to you (or make you ask yourself why did you sign up for this Excel class in the first place). Seeing how they do things right in front of you helps with confidence and memorizing, of course. Ultimately, with in-person Excel training, you don’t have to worry whether you clicked on the right icon because the video froze or whether you’ll manage to squeeze in your question before the instructor moves on to the next slide.
Signing up for an in-person Excel class can also help you with developing a relationship with your classmates, who can provide both emotional support and be your study buddies! Trust me, that’s not a small thing to dismiss. In an online environment, once the class is over, everyone clicks the “X” button and that’s it. You don’t even know who else is taking the class, let alone ask someone for their notes. In-person classes, however, offer an environment where fellow Excel students can exchange knowledge and ideas which in turn, all helps with gaining confidence.
Most companies that offer in-person Excel classes have their own classrooms which is another perk to talk about. A physical location lends learning an extra bit of structure. In my case, for instance, having a strict “Excel study” space was very important. Yes, you have to go there by car (or bus, or train) but listening to an online lecture on my PC proved to be highly distracting for me.
What about Online Excel Learning?
I’m focusing on in-person Excel training in this article, but let’s take a brief look at the kinds of online learning available. To sum things up, there are two distinct styles of learning Excel online—self-paced online and “live online”.
Many companies that offer online Excel classes have their lessons structured as self-paced. It’s a classic online format – you get access to course materials and work through them at your own pace. There may be a trained instructor available for questions and feedback, but they’re not leading you through the material directly.
The major benefit of signing up for a self-paced online Excel course is that you can sit down and go through the materials whenever you have free time. Then, there’s the low cost, which is a huge advantage, as well. Of course, the flexibility in terms of time can be a godsend for some, but others will find the lack of structure stops any progress dead in its tracks. As for the material itself, there’s usually plenty for logical and kinaesthetic learners to work through, and a self-paced style is great for solitary learners.
If, however, you’re a social learner, I wouldn’t recommend signing up for such a class. Not to mention that without an instructor present, material that’s not clear to you will lead you straight to Google or YouTube. And if you’re going to study from free Internet sources, why are you even paying for a course in the first place?
This type of learning boomed since the start of the pandemic and many in-person Excel class providers adopted it. The good thing about the “live online” Excel classes, is that you can ask questions and participate in a discussion with the instructor. However, they are scheduled, and the possibility of poor Internet connection ruining things for you is still there.
This type of class can feel less overwhelming than a big classroom for solitary learners, but not always—for some who aren’t tech-savvy or dislike video/audio chats, online can be more of a trade-off than an out and out improvement. Excel beginners might find it hard to communicate their needs if struggling with the pace. In terms of budget, live online classes occupy a space somewhere between in-person and self-paced online classes.
Which is Better: Learning Excel In-Person or Online?
Although I’m highly in favor of in-person learning when it comes to Excel, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what is best for you. Each learning experience has pros and cons, so go for a style that best matches your needs, timeline, and budget. If you have the luxury of time, I would also recommend trying both.
How to Find the Best In-Person Excel Training
While trying to find where to take Excel classes near me, what I noticed was that Google wasn’t actually all that helpful. While it did return results about Excel classes that claimed to be close to my location, it wasn’t very good at understanding that I only wanted in-person classes, at a venue within an easy distance of me, with no online component at all.
As I’ve mentioned, online-only can be a fantastic format for some learners, but I wanted the full classroom experience, with a living, breathing teacher in the room so I could ask questions when needed.
The waters have only gotten muddier since the pandemic hit. With lockdowns all over the country, many in-person classes were moved online. In many cases, this format has stuck around even after lockdowns were lifted, with class pages only mentioning the fact that the course is held online in a single place, with contradictory information elsewhere. You’ll also sometimes find providers who offer actual in-person training in some locations and live online access for others. Some will send an instructor to a physical location to train small groups but offer online-only for individuals.
What all this means is that any search engine results are bound to have a lot of noise to separate from the signal, and it can be confusing to look for in-person Excel courses if you aren’t reading every single line carefully.
It’s worth highlighting the usefulness of Google Maps here. You’ll see map pins in any search for “Microsoft Excel classes near me,” bringing learning centers with physical addresses in your geographical area to your attention. Google Maps will also usually give you a short breakdown of the center and a link to their website if anything looks promising. Of course, Maps still has some of the issues of a regular text search, for example showing centers that used to do in-person but are currently only doing online courses, but it’s a great way to find leads for classes close to you, so don’t forget to check it out!
Libraries and Schools
This is a really good option that I’d like to highlight—because I had no idea how much free learning was at my fingertips when I started my search! A lot of public libraries actually offer free or low-cost training courses within their communities, including ones for job skills like Excel! Obviously, these tend to be more generalized programs that may not go as in-depth as you need. But there’s no better price than free, and if you’re a complete beginner this is a great way to get started.
Plus, your local library probably has resources available to help you find other courses in your community (and those resources include the librarians themselves)!
Workplace Programs and Personal Recommendations
As companies have become aware of how important upskilling and learning opportunities are for their staff, many workplaces have begun offering learning programs on-site or through favored providers. Ask your manager or HR rep if your workplace has anything similar available. You may even get an incentive or discount for your trouble.
And of course, your friends and family may have some valued input on where and how they’ve learned their own skills that you can leverage, so don’t be shy — ask around!
Best Excel In-Person Classes in the USA
While I hope that finding a class feels a little less hopeless now, I know it’s still tough to wade through the information out there. I’d like to offer a possible shortcut. On our blog, we’ve compiled guides to Excel classes in several US hub cities to try to make finding in-person classes less intimidating. You can check the individual city writeups, or see below for a quick overview. Even if you’re not located in any of the locations below, some of the listed providers have offices in multiple states, so if you see a promising class, I suggest taking a quick look at the provider’s website to see if they have a learning center near you.
In-Person Excel Courses in New Jersey
Here is a small selection of the in-person training in Excel available in New Jersey and the surrounding area. There are more options on the list of best in-person Excel classes in New Jersey.
Certstaffix is best known as an online training provider, but they offer some in-person learning opportunities in the New Jersey area. Their main Excel courses focus on generalized skills split into beginner, intermediate, or advanced classes. There are also some niche learning opportunities, however, with courses on dashboards, data analysis, and customizing macros using Visual Basics for Applications (VBA).
Costs: Most 1-day courses are in the $335 range, while 3-day courses cost just under $1000
Location: Certstaffix mostly sends instructors to you, but they have a central location in New Jersey at 991 US Highway 22. They also have learning centers in New York if preferred.
Suitable for: Learners at any level looking to upskill, but with a corporate focus.
Noble Desktop only has in-person classes in the wider NJ/NYC area. They’re a great provider to look at if you’re looking for a wider grounding in Excel rather than any niche skills. You can take their individual level 1, 2, and 3 courses, or get it done in one with a boot camp format.
Costs: $249 for 1-Day courses, and $750 for the boot camp (but promotions are often available)
Location: 185 Madison Avenue, NYC
Suitable for: Learners looking for generalized Excel training with increasing difficulty levels.
New Jersey City University (NJCU)
As a tertiary learning institution, NJCU offers a variety of courses, some of which are highly specialized. This makes NJCU a great option if you’re looking to learn skills for a specific industry like finance, or if you’re already quite skilled at Excel but want to continue training with a really granular learning experience.
Costs: Starting at $395
Location: 2039 Kennedy Blvd, Jersey City, NJ
Suitable for: People who prefer to learn in an academic environment, or those looking for Excel training aimed at a specific field like finance.
In-Person Excel Courses in Denver
Below are three of the providers offering in-person Excel training in Excel in Denver. There are more options on the list of best in-person Excel classes in Denver.
Business Computer Skills
Business Computer Skills offers Excel courses on niche topics with a business focus, as well as introductory and refresher courses if you’re looking for more generalized learning.
Costs: $299 for most courses
Location: Denver Training Center, 600 17th Street, Dominion Plaza Bldg., South Denver
Suitable for: Professionals looking for generalized or more specific job training.
AdvantEdge Training and Consultation
In addition to their general Excel courses (split into beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes), AdvantEdge offers a lot of focused training on topics like macros, dashboards, PivotTables, formulas and functions, and database management. They also offer a boot camp course if you prefer an intensive learning format.
Costs: $250 or $750 for boot camp
Location: Denver and Phoenix
Suitable for: A range of corporate learners with data analysis as a key focus.
LEDET learning has a range of generalized Excel courses split out by skill level, including a beginner-friendly 101 course that starts you off right with a focus on time-saving tips and best practices. They also have a boot camp and a data analysis fundamentals course on offer.
Costs: $399 or $999 for boot camp
Location: Ledet Graphics Training, 3000 South Jamaica Ct., Aurora, Denver
Suitable for: Learners seeking general Excel training with a corporate focus.
In-Person Excel Courses in Seattle
Don’t worry, Seattle, there are some great Excel course providers for you too. Remember, you can find more options on the list of best in-person Excel classes in Seattle.
General Assembly offers a very cost-effective boot camp intensive that’s designed to take raw beginners and turn them into Excel pros over the course of three days. It’s not for everyone, but if you need to get really good at Excel really quickly, it’s an excellent choice.
Location: General Assembly Seattle, 1218 Third Avenue, 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA
Suitable for: People who like intensive formats or who need to learn Excel skills quickly.
New Horizons has a wealth of Excel courses available for you to explore, including courses for advanced users like their introduction to Data Analysis Expressions for the Power BI data model. What I’d particularly like to highlight, however, is the course breakdown by Excel year—this could be very useful to you if your company requires a specific version of Excel.
Location: New Horizons, 800 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4100, Seattle, WA, Office #4285
Suitable for: Learners requiring skills for a specific Excel version; Learners requiring advanced data science skills.
Sonic training is another great provider of Excel classes in Seattle. In addition to more basic Excel training, they also offer courses on PivotTab and adding VBA to the Excel suite for greater automation.
Costs: $300 for 1-Day, $595 for 2-day courses
Location: Yarrow Bay Office Park, 10604 NE 38th Place, Kirkland, WA
Suitable for: Learners wishing to refine their Excel skills; Learners wishing to automate their business processes.
In-Person Excel Courses in Atlanta
Here are three providers offering Excel courses in the Atlanta area. And of course, you can also find more options on the list of best in-person Excel classes in Atlanta.
NetCom Learning is a great place to look for generalized Excel training that covers all skill levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). They also offer focused training for Excel 2016 and 2019.
Location: Netcom Learning Atlanta, The Pinnacle Building, 3455 Peachtree Road North East
Suitable for: Learners seeking corporate-focused Excel courses that offer a broad overview
SkillForge offers private group training at your premises, making it a great option for corporate Excel training for staff needing to further their skill sets. Alongside the basics, they offer courses on Power Pivot and VBA for Excel.
Costs: $295 per person
Location: Onsite at your offices in Atlanta
Suitable for: Corporate training
You’ll see ONLC on several of my lists. They offer a ton of Excel courses, from the basics right through to a wide variety of niche skills, plus a boot camp option. I’d especially recommend them for people who have a great grasp of program fundamentals, but who need to add specific skills to their repertoire.
Costs: $395, or $445 if you sign up within a week of the course start date.
Location: ONLC training center, 3355 Lenox Road, Atlanta
Suitable for: Learners seeking specific Excel job skills.
In-Person Excel Courses in Los Angeles
LA is a global business hub, so there are a lot of options for Excel classes. You can find a few of them below, and there are plenty more on my list of the best in-person Excel courses in LA.
Intelquest Computer Training
Intelquest is a great place to turn if you need a little flexibility in your Excel learning. They offer generalized Excel training for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skill levels, with bundles of multiple skill steps, plus options for full or half-day class formats.
Costs: Dependent on course structure.
Location: 822 S Robertson Blvd, LA
Suitable for: Learners needing flexibility in their class schedules as they learn Excel.
American Graphics Institute
American Graphics Institute has a very attractive boot camp package for learners who prefer intensive formats, or you can spread your learning out through their leveled courses.
Costs: $249 or $749 for boot camp
Location: AGI Training Los Angeles, 830 Traction Ave, LA, or on-site at your offices.
Suitable for: Learners who want to learn Excel best practices and improve their job skills.
Academy X offers private groups in-person training at their premises, making them a perfect choice for corporate training. Courses include introductory and intermediate Excel training, as well as a course focused on often-used features like lookups, functions, and macros.
Costs: You have to request a quote as the cost depends on the size of the class
Location: AcademyX satellite office in LA
Suitable for: Corporate training
In-Person Excel Courses in San Diego
Last, but certainly not least, let’s take a look at what’s on offer for learners in San Diego. Remember, you can also take a look at my focused list of the best in-person Excel courses in San Diego.
As a larger provider, New Horizons has a lot of offerings, so feel free to really explore their course catalog. As mentioned above, their introduction to DAE for Power BI as well as their focus on learning by program year are particularly handy.
Location: 7480 Miramar Road Building B, Suite 202, San Diego
Suitable for: Learners requiring skills for a specific Excel version; Learners requiring advanced data science skills.
ONCL offers a ton of exciting Excel courses, including an intensive and a range of basics. I like to recommend their more advanced courses for anyone looking to explore aspects of Excel in greater depth, with their Excel Forecasting and What-If Analysis course as one specific standout.
Costs: $395, or $445 if you sign up within a week of the course start date.
Location: 12526 High Bluff Drive, San Diego, or 8880 Rio San Diego Drive, San Diego
Suitable for: Learners of all levels; Learners needing specific data analysis and job skills.
LEDET is a course provider with a corporate focus, offering a range of generalized Excel courses divided by skill level. Courses focus on time-saving tips and best practices to help employees perform their job functions with ease and efficiency.
Costs: $399 for 1-day courses, $999 for bootcamp
Location: 3805 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego
Suitable for: Corporate learners requiring data analysis skills; Learners who prefer intensive learning formats.
Microsoft Excel In-Person Training FAQ
It’s very possible you have some lingering questions about in-person Excel training, so I’ve answered some of the most common questions I get asked below.
Do I Need My Own PC?
This depends on the provider you choose. Some will offer you a loaner PC to use while in class, others will ask you to bring your own laptop along. This is usually stated in the course description, but if it isn’t, don’t be scared to ask! However, I suggest you take your own laptop along if you can since that will make it easier to translate your new skills to the environment you’ll be using them in.
You should also make sure you’re super-clear on what operating system a course is based around—Mac and PC are different, and most Excel courses are aimed at a specific OS.
Do I Need to Own My Own Copy of Excel?
Not necessarily, but as with the PC, it’s a definite advantage to work on your own equipment and with your own copy of the program. Many Excel courses teach you to customize your Excel environment as well, so having your own copy available will mean that you can apply the skills immediately. Plus, while Microsoft has made it easier to swap between program versions and many features are applicable across versions of Excel, you should check whether the class you’re taking is based around Excel 2013, 2016, 2019, or the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
How Much Will Excel Classes Near Me Cost?
Tuition costs vary by course, location, and provider, but speaking very roughly, most 1-day courses come in around $200-$400, and most 3-day boot camps are in the $800-900 region.
Will I Get a Certification?
It’s common to get some kind of proof that you successfully completed an Excel training course, and it looks great on your CV, so don’t hesitate to ask! Microsoft certified learning centers offer a direct, Microsoft-branded certification, while others may just offer their own in-house proof of completion. The type might matter if you’re getting reimbursed by your employer, so be sure to clarify certification with both your employer and the service provider.
I Know Absolutely Nothing About Excel—Help!
It’s okay, I’ve been there! We all start from scratch. If you’re completely inexperienced in Excel, to the extent you’re not really sure what to do once you open it, make sure you’re looking at beginner-level courses. Few of these will expect you to know what you’re doing off the bat, and your instructor should be able to help you get set up if you’re really struggling.
Remember to check the recommended experience section for any courses you’re considering to make sure they’re for complete beginners. Also, consider watching an online tutorial or two to familiarize yourself with the interface!
Please note that basic PC skills are needed even for raw beginners, so if you’re not very comfortable using a computer you might need to address that knowledge gap first. But I believe in you!
Can I Request Training From My Employer?
Absolutely! Check with your employer to see if they offer training directly or are willing to reimburse costs for new certifications. You may even get enough interest within your company to arrange for an on-site class at your offices. If you prefer to learn privately for whatever reason, however, it’s of course not mandatory.
How Do I Know My Level?
It’s easy if you’re a complete beginner, but after that, it can be tough to assess your own skill level.
As a rough guide, most Intermediate level courses are for people who are confident with basic Excel skills but haven’t explored advanced features or automation using macros. Advanced level users are very confident in using the program and tend to be looking to fill a specific niche knowledge gap to flesh out their skillset.
Most course providers—and my lists—provide a helpful list of prerequisite skills or a target audience section to help you decide whether a course is appropriate for your level.
I hope this guide has helped you feel at least a little less nervous about obtaining a shiny new skill for your CV. If you end up taking any of the Excel courses above, or any of the ones on the in-depth lists I’ve linked, I’d love to hear how it went, so drop a comment here when you do. Until then, I wish you all the best on your learning journey!