Which SAS course should I choose?


Newsletter Icon help blueAs an instructor for SAS, I receive a wide variety of queries before, during and after delivering my courses. Most frequently, I am asked questions such as: Should I learn SAS programming or a point and click tool instead? I know lots of code, should I go straight to the advanced programming course?  I need administrator training, should I do the Quick Start or the Fast Track?  I’ve taken these particular courses, what would you recommend I take next? Really, all of these questions can be categorized into one: which SAS course should I choose?

Perhaps you have started a new role which requires you to use SAS and you need training; maybe you have been allocated some training budget to develop your existing SAS skills; possibly the company you work for are transitioning their data platform to SAS; or perhaps you are wanting to reskill into SAS? Formal training is often the best way to quickly gain or grow your SAS knowledge. This is not an exhaustive list of scenarios but all of them lead to that question I mentioned above: which SAS course should I choose?

In my last post How Can I Learn SAS?, I discussed the various training formats SAS offers. Usually individuals do not decide the method of training format first – their initial search is to find a course to attend. If you have looked at the complete course list, it can be an overwhelming starting point. Below I have listed some of the most popular SAS courses and some pointers to help guide you. This is by no means an exhaustive list. For every SAS course offered on the SAS Education website, there is a detailed breakdown, including:


  • Overview which provides a high level synopsis of the course, a summary of what you will learn and a guide to who should attend. Some courses also include a link to an online assessment, Ready for this course?, to determine if you are a good candidate for a particular class.
  • Prerequisites which details what advance knowledge you should have prior to attending the course.
  • Course Outline which lists the content chapters and sections of the course.


I am completely new to SAS and don’t have a specific SAS product in mind, which SAS course should I choose?

It is most likely you will commence your SAS journey with either SAS Programming 1 or SAS Enterprise Guide 1. SAS Programming 1: Essentials is the entry point to learning to write SAS programs. It provides the fundamentals for many other SAS courses. If you’re not interested in becoming a programmer, SAS Enterprise Guide 1: Querying and Reporting will teach you how to use the point and click interface to SAS. The short video What’s a good intro SAS training course? by Stacey Syphus, a SAS instructor, walks you through these SAS training options to help you decide which one is right for you.

I have been told to start using SAS product X, which SAS course should I choose?

Many SAS products have an entry point training course, the most common ones are:

I am already familiar with some SAS code and want to know more, which SAS course should I choose?

If you are confident with the content of SAS Programming 1: Essentials, the logical next course would be SAS Programming 2: Data Manipulation Techniques which expands on data manipulation techniques.

If you are confident with the content of SAS Programming 2: Data Manipulation Techniques, the logical next course would be either SAS Macro Language 1: Essentials to learn how to write reusable and dynamic SAS programs or SAS Programming 3: Advanced Techniques and Efficiencies to understand and compare various programming techniques to create efficient SAS programs.

I am interested in gaining a SAS Certification credential. Am I ready?

The SAS Global Certification program offers credentials that are globally recognized as the premier means to validate SAS knowledge. This short video provides an overview of the SAS Global Certification program. For each credential offered, the exam requirements, a study aid (overview of the exam topics) and a guide to the exam preparation are listed. The latter includes the suggested training courses to complete to help prepare you for the exam.

In addition, there are Learning Paths for all the course curriculum areas. They can help guide you on what courses to take and in what order. Also, do not forget the free online SAS tutorials I mentioned in my last post. These are “how to” videos, tutorials and demos to learn tips and tricks for working with SAS software. If you would like more information about SAS training or have further questions, please contact your local Education department who will be able to assist or can connect you to speak directly with a trainer.


About Author

Samantha Rowland

SAS Education Instructor

Samantha is an Education Instructor for SAS Australia and has been working for SAS Education since joining SAS UK in 2007. Prior to joining SAS, she was employed as an Engineer and holds a Masters of Civil Engineering. Since working with SAS software, she has become certified in SAS Programming, SAS Business Intelligence and SAS Visual Analytics. Aside from ensuring customers have the optimum learning experience from SAS Education, Samantha is busy running after her son.


  1. Hi samantha,
    I'm shekar from India I am already familiar with some SAS code and want to know more ,i want to learn more this course at AUSTRALIA could you please guide me get admission over there and other details .Thanks in advance.

  2. Hi Samantha,

    Can you please let me know the local sas contact in perth where i can meet and discuss bit more on the sas

  3. Hi Samantha

    Like to learn SAS, i am not from IT background - still confused which course to choose , can you please suggest me how to go about it.

  4. Hi All,
    I would like to learn SAS, but I am a Sr Product Manager and into pure functional role. I just want to learn the functionalities of SAS and get into Data Sciences/Data Analytics. Can you please suggest me a course for me?

  5. Hey, Samantha - great article!

    As another SAS trainer, I also find that the choice of training for newer SAS people within an organisation tends to be influenced by the more experienced (and typically more "traditional") SAS users from their workplace - generally Prog1, Prog2, SQL, Macro, etc, whereas there are now many more ways to learn and use SAS, such as Enterprise Guide, SAS/Studio, etc. And now there's Visual Analytics - great results with no programming pre-requisites..

    My point being just because an organisation has done it a certain way doesn't mean it shouldn't evolve as the software evolves.

    This is why it's a great idea for organisations to engage SAS Education beforehand to perform (or re-evaluate) a training needs analysis to make sure the training is relevant (and current).

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