Introduction to Stock Options

Introduction to Stock Options

Learn to evaluate, buy, sell, and profit from stocks. This course will arm you with investment tools that were once thought to be only for the pros as you learn how to protect your portfolio and profit in a down market, an up market, or even a flat market.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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If you've ever wanted to learn how to evaluate, buy, sell, and profit from stocks, this course is for you. By the end of it, you will be armed with investment tools that were once thought to be only for the pros!

You will begin by examining the origin of stock options and learn the real risks involved. Then, you will identify the jargon, symbols, and other peculiarities of options in a way that's easy to understand. You will explore exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which offer exciting option investments you may eventually consider.

The course will then give you a look under the hood of option pricing so that you'll understand what contributes to an option's value. You will learn why some options are overpriced and why some are underpriced and know how to tell the difference before you trade. Above all, you will learn how to protect your portfolio and profit in a down market, an up market, or even a flat market. Learn to leverage your investment dollars for potential profits that surpass those possible with stocks.


Are stock options worth your time and effort? You'll find out in this lesson. You'll explore where options originated and whether they are as risky as many people say. Then you'll go over the formal definition of an option so that you'll know exactly what you're dealing with. Finally, you'll look at some easy-to-understand examples to drive home each element of that definition.

What does "GOOG120121C00680000" mean, and why should you care? Every investment specialty has its own jargon, and options are no exception. This lesson will explain option symbols and other peculiarities in a way that's easy to understand. By the end of this lesson, you'll be able to identify any option just by looking at its symbol. You'll also explore exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which offer exciting option investments you may eventually consider.

One of the most important things to consider before you buy anything is its price. In this lesson, you'll learn where to find option prices, what they look like, and how to interpret each element in an option pricing chart. By the end of the lesson, you'll be a good option detective.

It's one thing to know an option's price, but it's quite another to know if that price is reasonable and fair. This lesson gets under the hood of option pricing so that you'll understand what contributes to option value. Knowing what makes one option more expensive than another is one of the essentials of option pricing. After you finish this lesson, you'll be able to make educated decisions when you trade.

This lesson introduces you to an easy graphing system that will show what kind of profit or loss may be possible when you trade any option. These graphs bring clarity to even a complex option strategy. Armed with this knowledge, you'll enter any option trade fully aware of potential risks and rewards. You'll also know precisely where your break-even point is. All this information contributes to a fully informed trading experience.

Get ready to learn about your first basic option strategy—the long call. When you finish this lesson, you'll know the best way to profit when you think a stock price is about to go up. You'll also understand which option to buy depending on how bullish you are about that price movement.

This lesson will tell you where options come from and how you can create them yourself. How? By selling a call option. This is called naked call writing, and it's one way you can use options to profit when you think a stock price is going to hold steady or drop. You'll learn the risk inherent in this strategy and what it means to be assigned.

You'll explore covered calls in this lesson. This strategy involves selling call options on stock you already own. It's a popular way of making a profit even when your stock's price isn't going up. You'll learn the how, when, and why of this essentially conservative strategy in one easy lesson.

Certain options profit when a stock drops. This lesson acquaints you with the put option, which is in many ways the mirror image of the call option. The versatility of the put option is very impressive.

Few investors know the benefits—much less the in and outs—of selling put options, but this lesson will fully acquaint you with both. Known as writing naked puts, this strategy is also a way to buy stock for less. There's something to be said for collecting your profit up front and putting that money to use immediately!

See the beauty of options as you learn about three combination strategies: the bull spread, the bear spread, and the long straddle. This taste of more advanced option strategies may whet your appetite for other, more esoteric combinations—and there are many. After this lesson, you'll have a good sense of how you can use option combo strategies to make profitable trades.

This is the lesson that pulls together everything you've learned into one cohesive overview. You'll also learn about market sentiment and examine how it influences which option strategy is appropriate and when. Finally, the lesson will discuss the concept of risk and how it's an integral consideration for any option investment strategy.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Matt Crabtree

Matt Crabtree, CFP ®, earned his Bachelor of Science in Business, Information Systems Management, in 1999, a mini MBA certificate from The School of Management at Yale University in 2004, a certificate in Financial Planning from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business in 2012 and has received the financial industry's most rigorous and prestigious professional designation of Certified Financial Planner ™. After many years in project management, office management, and business sales, Matt began training individuals and organizations in areas of business finance, leadership development, successful negotiations, sales management, and customer service excellence. Matt has trained individuals and various units within the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as corporate organizations including IBM (technology), Accuray (healthcare-technology), and Gen-Probe (molecular diagnostics). Matt's natural aptitude for explaining his material in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable manner allows each student to gain insights into areas that are often considered challenging.


The instructor, Matthew Crabtree, has been highly responsive and amenable to answering all manner of questions - never losing patience, always willing to repeat something a different way, and answering the questions with a high level of energy and enthusiasm as though your question were the first he’s answered. This ability is so important when you’re a new student to a topic and don’t have the context or background on which to hang the knowledge (ie you don’t have prior knowledge on which to build). Matthew Crabtree is skilled at taking a total novice and setting them within the knowledge in a way that allows them to get their footing. His engagement with the material, the students and the questions never flagged.

I enjoyed this class immensely, simply because you made it as easy as possible to understand this whole new world of stock options. I enrolled in this course because I wanted to learn more about investing my stock shares, and found another avenue altogether. Thank you very much, Mark. I thoroughly enjoyed the course.

Mark has been a great instructor! His real life experiences gave credibility to the whole course. His examples, his warnings, and his lists of reference materials truly helped build my interest and confidence in options trading. I am excited, as he predicted, to be involved in this aspect of investing.

I absolutely love your teaching method, you're not boring, your lessons stay on track without ever becoming monotonous - which is a rare find! Each lesson left me with a notebook full of answers to questions I had from the previous lesson, and many small nuggets of wisdom to tuck away for future application and a notebook full of questions that left me looking forward to the next lesson - I loved it!

Mr. Quinn is very knowledgeable about stock options, yet he has the ability to explain them to novices like me in such a way that I can understand them. This course was exactly what I wanted; it provided an understanding of the options tools as well as clear explanations of the risks and pitfalls with options. Mr. Quinn introduced tools that I intend to use in my further exploration of stock options. A great course!

I absolutely loved this course!!! The instructor's explanations with supporting examples was crucial for me. This can quickly become a complicated subject, but, the instructor's instructional material layout was perfect. I can only hope that Mark chooses to do an advanced options course some day too!

Great course. Tons of information given but in a simple and clear manner. Lots of examples to help illustrate the concepts. Good basic class to help understand the basics and the many different terms and strategies. Definitely recommend.

This course more than exceeded my expectations. The instructor had a refreshing style of writing that seemed so natural. I enjoyed that he put his own investing experiences into the course. I especially appreciated all the supplementary material he provided. He presented the information in a well organized way, making sure not to throw in advanced concepts into the beginning so we can build on our knowledge. This might be the first class I thoroughly enjoyed and wanted to read all the lessons. Keep up the good work.

Mark Quinn is an outstanding teacher. He is professional, quite knowledgeable, and very helpful. He has a way of transforming even the most abstract material into concrete and enjoyable lessons. As a student, I found his sense of organization most beneficial. Finally, his sense of humor is delightful. I recommend this class to anyone who is interested in successful investing. I would love to take his advanced class.

I highly recommend this course. The material is excellent and Mark is a very supportive, knowledgeable teacher. I particularly enjoyed the class discussions. Mark is very responsive to the students' questions and has shared many real life examples of options strategies that have worked for experienced options traders. His supplemental material breathes life to a difficult subject. His material is well organized and his assignments encourage the student to gain trading experience through paper trading, applying the options strategies we learned in class. What an excellent teacher! I cannot say enough good things about the class. I am recommending this class to all my friends who are interested in options trading.

I have been trading options for years but have only been buying calls and puts. I took this course to see if it would expand my knowledge and it definitely did. There were a lot of basic things that I learned that no one had ever explained before. Also, I got a better handle on the concept of selling options and of advanced strategies which have always been confusing to me. I greatly appreciated Mark's style of explaining things. He made complex things seem easier to understand. I would DEFINITELY recommend this course to others...I've never had an instructor make such great use of the discussion area. There was lots of extra info posted there - which was AWESOME! I wish I had taken this course when I first began trading. Thank you so much!

Self-Guided Course Code: T9657
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: iso