Bookkeeping certificate programs provide critical career skills to aspiring bookkeepers and accounting professionals. Bookkeepers lend an invaluable service to their clients, managing ledgers, balancing the books, and tracking income and expenditures. These professionals often take on multiple roles in their careers, such as administrative and accountancy work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 6% decline in job growth from 2019-2029 for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks; however, these workers develop broad skills for similar occupations through bookkeeping certificate programs. The BLS cites a shift toward automated bookkeeping services and cloud computing as reasons for the decline.
Bookkeepers now require more diverse, adaptable skills in the workforce.
Bookkeeping certificate programs train students in the latest industry software and emphasize soft skills to prepare graduates for entry-level employment.
Earning a certificate can also prepare enrollees to pursue a bachelor’s degree, which could improve their employment prospects.
The following list, updated annually, ranks the nation’s best bookkeeping certificate programs.
Bookkeeping certificate programs can lead to stable careers in business and finance. Students who pursue bookkeeping courses online can earn a certificate in less time than it takes to earn a degree, and often at a lower cost. Bookkeeping certificate programs prepare learners for professional roles as bookkeepers, bill collectors, financial clerks, bank tellers, and administrative assistants.
While employment projections indicate that the field will decline by 6% from 2019-2029, certificate programs prepare students for career opportunities beyond this single role. Graduates can adapt to more demanding bookkeeper roles that require analytical and consulting skills.
Since many bookkeeping jobs do not require formal degrees, students can complete a certificate to quickly enter the field in entry-level roles. Most schools enable students to complete bookkeeping certificate programs online in less than one year.
Should You Get a Certificate or an Associate Degree?
Aspiring bookkeepers may wonder whether a certificate or associate degree best accommodates their career goals. Certificates and associate degrees share some similarities and differences. Generally, both include similar introductory bookkeeping coursework and offer online and in-person enrollment options.
Differences include the credit requirements, length, and cost of each program. Additionally, bookkeeping certificate programs and associate degrees often maintain different admission criteria, with certificates holding fewer and more flexible requirements. The following data outlines the similarities and differences of bookkeeping certificates vs. associate degrees in more detail.
Bookkeeping Associate Degree
Roughly one year
Roughly two years
Minimum Credit Requirement
Course Topics (Sample)
Financial statement analysis
Business tax forms
Potential SAT/ACT scores
High school diploma or GED certificate
Minimum 2.0 GPA
Potential general education prerequisites
Roughly $100-$800 per credit
Online or on-campus
Online or on-campus
15 Best Bookkeeping Certificate Programs 2021
Explore our ranking of the best bookkeeping certificate programs for 2021. Our guide uses criteria like graduation rate, financial aid, return on investment, and acceptance rates to rank programs. Learn more about our methodology by visiting the link below.
Opened in 1967 in Palatine, Illinois, and named after Dr. William Rainey Harper, Harper College is a public community college that prepares its Chicago suburb students for continued education and successful careers through associate and certificate programs.
Harper offers the accounting bookkeeper/clerk certificate to students interested in an entry-level accounting career. Students may pursue this certificate through Harper's accounting program, which allows learners to transition to the accounting associate degree should they decide to continue their education.
Certificate students can choose some of their classes in the eight-credit certificate program. One option allows learners to complete intro to business software packages or choose three credits from other software courses, such as spreadsheet or word processing programs. This gives learners the flexibility to match their coursework with their interests and career goals.
Applying to Harper
Harper applicants must pay a $25 application fee and submit official high school transcripts with their application. Prospective students should register for a MyHarper student portal account to sign up for classes and make payments.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC, ACBSP Tuition: $134/credit (in state); $391/credit (out of district); $466/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 8 credits Delivery Format: On campus
Central Wyoming College provides certificates and two-year degree programs primarily to students located near its main campus in Riverton, Wyoming. Housing one of the area's most popular performing arts centers, CWC hosts music and performance events throughout the year.
CWC offers several business and entrepreneurship programs and certificates, including the accounting-bookkeeping certificate. This certificate prepares enrollees for beginning accounting and bookkeeping careers through general accounting and business math courses, plus classes about spreadsheets, Quickbooks, and business communications. Prospective students eligible for a Wyoming Works grant may pursue this certificate program.
Accounting-bookkeeping certificate learners at CWC choose nine credits of accounting-related electives in addition to their required courses, fine-tuning their certificate to fit their career goals. Elective options include entrepreneurship, communications, economics, business, marketing, management, computing, and additional accounting courses.
Applying to CWC
All prospective students with a high school diploma or equivalent credentials apply to CWC by submitting an online application and official transcripts. Prospective students must register for an orientation after signing up for classes.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $105/credit (in state); $158/credit (Western Undergraduate Exchange students); $315/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 31 credits Program Length: 1 year full time Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous) or hybrid
Although it began its first classes in a high school in 1968, Raritan Valley Community College is now a bustling facility known for its academic programs in business, science and engineering, nursing, arts, and more.
RVCC's 32-credit bookkeeping certificate offers strong foundational coursework to prepare students for bookkeeping careers. Bookkeeping certificate students may apply credits from their accounting and business courses toward the school's associate accounting degree.
Students in RVCC's program may pursue three professional certifications: certified bookkeeper, fundamental payroll certification, or certified QuickBooks user. Each designation requires students to take and pass an exam separate from their course exams.
Applying to RVCC
All RVCC applicants must be high school juniors, seniors, or graduates. First-time college students must pay a $25 application fee. Prospective students should submit transcripts and proof of required immunizations along with their online application.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: MSCHE Tuition: $168/credit (in county); $228/credit (out of county) Required Credits: 32 credits Program Length: 1 year full time Delivery Format: Hybrid
Founded in 1967, McHenry County College became the 28th community college in Illinois. MCC now makes a home for strong student culture and facilities like the Welding Boot Camp, a culinary lab, and a fitness center.
MCC's bookkeeping certificate concisely packages foundational bookkeeping and accounting skills into a 16-week certificate course. Upon graduating from the program, students can further their accounting education with the accounting associate degree or begin careers as entry-level bookkeepers, tax preparers, or clerical clerks.
MCC's certificate program requires only four courses. Classes include financial accounting, basic accounting procedures, computer applications for accounting, and spreadsheet applications I. Many students also earn a tax practitioner certificate or begin a bookkeeping business upon graduating.
Applying to MCC
Prospective MCC students fill out an application and submit a $15 application fee online. Some applicants must also email high school or college transcripts to the admissions office and take placement exams.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $1,338/program (in district); $4,538/program (out of district); $5,642/program (out of state) Required Credits: 12 credits Program Length: 16 weeks Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous)
At the time of its founding in 1912, Moraine Park Technical College first offered classes like cooking and drawing. Now, MPTC offers online and blended education programs to prepare students for more than 100 career options within its five campuses and regional centers.
The bookkeeper technical diploma from MPTC entails five courses split over two semesters. Classes are offered fully online and on-campus. The asynchronous online option allows certificate students to learn at their convenience — advantageous for working professionals.
MPTC's bookkeeper technical diploma equips learners to become business assistants. Students build skills in Microsoft Office and other industry software, and they learn to properly manage data. Upon graduation, students may transfer their diploma credits to other MPTC degree and certificate programs, like the accounting assistant technical diploma.
Applying to MPTC
MPTC accepts recent high school graduates and new college students. Prospective students apply by paying a $30 application fee, submitting an online application, and sending official college or high school transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $139/credit (in state or online); $208/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 15 credits Program Length: 1 year full time Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
Nestled on the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois, Triton College boasts more than 10,000 annual enrollees for over 150 certificate and degree programs. Triton students can join a variety of clubs and organizations, including the Accounting Club and Student Advocacy Club.
Triton's five-course bookkeeping certificate program targets students seeking careers in bookkeeping, accounting, or business finance after learning basic accounting skills and financial software. Learners can study Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office in-depth to learn how to manage workbooks, create financial formulas, and organize company files.
The certificate program's introduction to business course introduces enrollees to functional business practices beyond bookkeeping. Through this course, students will absorb skills in business law, marketing, general management, and financial responsibilities and management. Some courses require both on-campus and online attendance.
Applying to Triton
Triton applicants complete a free application online. Students can take a placement test or submit transcripts and ACT/SAT test scores to determine college-level proficiency.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $133/credit (in district); $347/credit (out of district) Required Credits: 16 credits Program Length: 1 semester full time Delivery Format: Hybrid
Originally founded in 1946 as Moline Community College to educate veterans, Black Hawk College is a public college serving students in nine Illinois counties who take classes in career fields like business, agriculture, and trades.
BHC's accounting clerk certificate curriculum combines basic accounting and business theory with hands-on practice using programs like QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. Students earn 30 credits through classroom lectures and accounting labs, totaling 12 courses over two semesters.
An offering from BHC's Department of Business and Technology, this certificate prepares students to transition to an associate of applied science degree in accounting, administrative assisting, or business. Enrollees gain the necessary skills to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation, practicing with BHC's state-of-the-art computer labs and training.
Applying to BHC
High school students enrolling in dual-credit courses or new, returning, or transfer college students can apply to BHC. Applicants submit an online application and official transcripts, pay a $20 fee, and register for placement testing, if required.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $149/credit (in district); $250/credit (out of district); $255/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 30 credits Program Length: 1 year full time Delivery Format: On campus
Illinois Central College is a public community college with three campuses in Peoria and the surrounding area. ICC offers a multitude of extracurricular opportunities for students, including internships, study abroad programs, and clubs and organizations.
Offered by ICC's Business, Legal, and Information Systems Department, the accounting bookkeeper certificate program gives students a comprehensive education in fundamental accounting principles and skills. The certificate's ten courses cover topics like financial accounting, tax accounting, payroll accounting, and accounting with database software and spreadsheets.
This certificate program prepares enrollees to take the certified bookkeeper exam. Students must complete a capstone requirement examining their knowledge and understanding of key accounting and financial skills before graduating. Students may take asynchronous or synchronous online classes, depending on their learning preferences.
Applying to ICC
ICC applicants fill out a free application and set up a MyICC account online. Students who don't meet minimum GPA or test scores must complete placement testing before meeting with an advisor to schedule classes.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $155/credit (in district, online); $174/credit (out of district/out of state, online) Required Credits: 32 credits Program Length: 2 years full time Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous)
Located near the St. Louis River bay and Lake Superior, Lake Superior College enrolls more than 10,000 learners annually in various degree, certificate, and diploma programs. LSC is an area leader in sustainable practices through its partnerships and collaborations with eco-conscious organizations.
Students seeking to eventually enroll in the associate of applied sciences (AAS) in accounting program from LSC can start with a bookkeeper diploma. The one-year program transfers to the AAS and prepares students to sit for the certified bookkeeper test from the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation.
Enrollees in the bookkeeper diploma program take a total of 10 core courses in foundational math, accounting, and software skills. Students also choose three elective credits from options including business communications, governmental and nonprofit accounting, and business law: commercial topics. Learners may complete their diploma online or in a hybrid format.
Applying to LSC
Prospective students apply to LSC by filling out a paper form or creating a StarID account to complete the online application. LSC requires applicants to pay a $20 fee and submit official high school or college transcripts.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $156/credit (on campus); $193/credit (online) Required Credits: 31 credits Program Length: 1 year full time Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or hybrid
Fox Valley Technical College began as a career training center in 1912. The school continues this tradition today with more than 250 certificates, diplomas, and degree offerings for students across five Wisconsin counties.
The bookkeeping diploma from FVTC is a technical diploma designed to prepare students for entry-level careers in bookkeeping or accounting assisting. Enrollees complete 13 credits of coursework in basic financial accounting to gain hands-on training with spreadsheets, Microsoft Office, and QuickBooks.
Students may use their training to start their own business or expand their business offerings. FVTC's Venture Center provides resources for entrepreneurial learners to attend seminars to grow their business skills. The Business Technology Center's computer labs provide an interactive environment for hands-on computer skill development.
Applying to FVTC
FVTC first-time applicants must pay a $30 application fee and submit an online application to enroll. Bookkeeping diploma enrollees must have a minimum 2.75 high school GPA, a minimum 165 GED score, or hold minimum ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER scores.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $156/credit (in state); $225/credit (out of state); $166/credit (online) Required Credits: 13 credits Program Length: 1 year full time; 2 years part time Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
Northcentral Technical College serves central Wisconsin with academic degrees, certificates, and training programs, preparing students for their future careers. NTC upholds its mission of graduate employability with a 95% employment rate.
Students in NTC's bookkeeping technology certificate program learn fundamental bookkeeping skills, including payroll accounting, QuickBooks proficiency, and formula creation, formatting, and organization in Microsoft Excel. A typing course provides in-depth training on proper hand placement to assist learners with typing speed and accuracy.
Six courses in the program, including Excel level I, Word level I, and accounting fundamentals, can be fulfilled with prior learning credit if a student has taken similar courses in the past. Learners may transfer eligible credits or test out of these courses by taking an exam in NTC's Testing Center.
Applying to NTC
Prospective students interested in the bookkeeping technology certificate program apply online and pay a $30 application fee. NTC contacts applicants if the admissions department requires additional details about their educational background or other information.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $139/credit (in state); $208/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 15 credits Program Length: 1 year Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
A public community college in southeastern Minnesota, Riverland Community College offers career-focused educational and training programs to 4,500 students each year. Student life is surrounded by strong athletic culture and pride in Riverland's Blue Devils.
Riverland's bookkeeping certificate is ideal for students who wish to broaden their skills for future employment or career advancement in bookkeeping. The certificate's seven courses — split over two semesters — allow enrollees to focus on business math, financial accounting, payroll accounting, and software for bookkeepers and clerical assistants.
This program sets itself apart with its computerized accounting with Sage course, which explores the ledger accounting software Sage in depth. Learners also complete a capstone which prepares them for the certified bookkeeper exam.
Applying to Riverland
Riverland applicants fill out an online application or request a paper form online. Prospective students should create a StarID account to complete the application process and submit their high school/college transcripts and ACT/SAT scores.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $197/credit (on campus); $224/credit (online) Required Credits: 21 credits Program Length: 1 year Delivery Format: 100% online (synchronous or asynchronous), hybrid, or on campus
A community college in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the College of DuPage is a hub for its students and community. COD offers carpooling for students, more than 100 clubs and organizations, and its own professional police department.
Students enrolled in COD's bookkeeping certificate program can expect to graduate with the professional financial and recording skills necessary to keep books for businesses or their own businesses' clients. The six-course program covers payroll accounting, basic accounting procedures, spreadsheet creation and editing, Microsoft Office for professional use, and QuickBooks skills.
Upon completion of the program, learners can transfer credits to another certificate program or an associate degree from COD, all available through the school's Business and Applied Technology Division. Students can also work toward an advanced accounting certificate to sit for the certified public accountant exam after earning their bachelor's.
Applying to COD
COD applicants can apply online and pay a $20 application fee through the COD Application Portal. Prospective enrollees of the bookkeeping certificate program should also contact the COD Business and Applied Technology Division for program-specific application information.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $138/credit (in district); $325/credit (in state, out of district); $395/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 18-19 credits Delivery Format: On campus or hybrid
Glendale Community College enrolls more than 25,000 students annually across degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Since its founding in 1926, GCC has continuously adapted to meet the needs of modern learners through diversity, technology, and learning resources.
GCC's bookkeeping certificate program gives students a comprehensive understanding of business accounting, accounting tools and software, tax preparation and planning, business communications, and business computations. The program also dives into business law and marketing to assist learners interested in starting their own business.
Enrolled students must complete an accounting internship at the end of the program. Learners may complete the internship on or off campus under the direction of an approved supervisor. The internship gives students hands-on accounting experience to understand real-life applications of their skills. Internships must be approved by the business department.
Applying to GCC
Prospective GCC students submit an online application to enroll in the bookkeeping certificate program and complete an online orientation. Upon completion, enrollees must meet with a counselor to outline an academic plan and register for classes.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: ACCJC Tuition: $46/credit (in state); $271/credit (out of state) Required Credits: 25-26 credits Delivery Format: Hybrid
Pima Community College serves the Tucson, Arizona, area with certificate and degree programs, preparing students to continue their educational paths. PCC's centers of excellence target specific careers to expand skills for some of the most popular and forward-thinking jobs.
PCC's accounting-bookkeeping certificate program begins with a college success and career-planning course designed to assist in fleshing out and planning for future goals. Students also learn foundational business principles and theory in ethics, communications, and computations throughout the 31-credit, 11-course program.
Learners acquire entry-level accounting knowledge through courses in tax accounting, payroll accounting, computerized accounting, Microsoft Excel, and QuickBooks. Students can transfer these course credits to PCC's accounting associate degree, equipping learners for careers as bookkeepers, accountants, auditors, or budget analysts. The program's curriculum qualifies students to sit for Arizona bookkeeping licensure exams.
Applying to PCC
Prospective students complete a PCC application online. Upon admission, enrollees must register for a MyPima account to register and pay for classes. Transfer students submit official transcripts and some may need to take placement tests before registering.
Program at a Glance
School Type: Public Accreditation: HLC Tuition: $87/credit (in state); $309/credit (out of state); $219/credit (out of state, online) Required Credits: 31 credits Program Length: 32 weeks Delivery Format: 100% online (asynchronous) or on campus
What the Best Bookkeeping Certificates Have in Common
Each bookkeeping certificate program offers a unique experience. However, many top schools and bookkeeping programs share similar characteristics. These include:
They are accredited.
Accreditation denotes the overall quality of a school providing a certificate program for bookkeeping. All programs in our rankings come from accredited schools. Common accrediting bodies for bookkeeping certificate programs and providing schools include:
Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)
Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)
Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
They offer academic excellence.
Students seeking bookkeeping certification want to know the money and time they invest in a program helps them achieve career goals. The best schools ensure that their faculty is suited to teach fundamental bookkeeping skills and ensure their students can successfully transition into entry-level bookkeeping careers or pursue further education.
They are reputable.
The reputation of a school and its certificate programs plays an important role in determining whether that school is a good option. Top bookkeeping programs have an excellent reputation with students, alumni, accrediting agencies, and faculty. This speaks to an institution’s dedication to student success. High retention and graduation rates also factor into a school’s reputation.
They are affordable.
Certificate programs offer affordable solutions for students who want to expand their education but don’t want to take on the expense of a full degree. Though bookkeeping certificate programs rarely offer financial aid, these programs often require relatively few credit hours and offer flexible study options, which keep overall costs low.
What To Expect From a Bookkeeping Certificate
Most bookkeeping certificate programs offer inclusive admission requirements.
In some cases, students can enroll in bookkeeping courses online simply by submitting their official transcripts and paying the application fee.
Schools typically enable students with prior college experience to apply transfer credits toward certificate programs.
While specific elements vary by program, most schools share some commonalities. Enrollees can usually decide to attend classes online or in person. Online bookkeeping certificate programs may offer a choice of enrollment schedules and live or recorded course materials.
Most bookkeeping certificate programs require roughly 20-30 credits and take no more than two years to complete. Many online programs offer lower credit requirements and faster paths to graduation through accelerated schedules. Certificate programs generally do not include internships or practica. Certificates may incur per-credit costs of $100-$800.
Learning how to become a bookkeeper starts with finding a bookkeeping program. While schools vary, students typically follow some common requirements when applying to bookkeeping certificate programs. Many online programs accept applications on a rolling basis, enabling candidates to begin bookkeeping courses online and at their convenience.
Some accelerated online programs only require transcripts and an application fee. Most bookkeeping certificate programs do not require extensive prior education, though some include prerequisites in basic computer skills.
Though most bookkeeping students apply to certificate programs after graduating from high school, most certificates do not specifically require a diploma or GED certificate. Applicants generally do not need bookkeeping experience to apply. Some schools hold minimum GPA requirements or require SAT/ACT scores from recent high school graduates.
Different Certificate Types
Schools offer several types of bookkeeping certificate programs. Students can often choose whether to study in person, online, or through hybrid learning. Online learning may offer greater accommodations to out-of-state or commuter students looking for accelerated bookkeeping certificate programs. Alternately, some learners prefer an immersive campus environment. Others may seek a combination of these learning styles in a hybrid format.
Within an online program, schools may feature synchronous or asynchronous learning options. Some schools alternate these course delivery types. Online students should consider the time-management requirements of their prospective bookkeeping certificate programs.
Certificate programs differ from certifications. While schools bestow certificates, private organizations confer certifications through examination. Common certifications include Quickbooks and certified public bookkeeper (CPB) training. General bookkeeping certificates provide broad skills for entry-level jobs, but Quickbooks or CPB certification dial in more directly for specific professional roles.
Popular Bookkeeping Courses
Bookkeeping certificate programs typically introduce students to accounting, business math, and Quickbooks applications. Core courses emphasize career training in bookkeeping, payroll, ledgers, journals, spreadsheets, and reports. Many programs include electives in economics, computer applications, and business administration. Some programs require general education coursework in writing and foundations courses.
Principles of Accounting
This course introduces students to the basic principles of accounting theory and practice for diverse clients. Graduates become adept in bookkeeping and accounting methods for corporations, sole proprietors, and partnership-based organizations. Many foundational accounting courses follow prerequisites in basic math, such as elementary and intermediate algebra.
Quickbooks skills are essential in any bookkeeping occupation. Bookkeeping certificate programs typically emphasize Quickbooks or Quickbooks Pro coursework, sometimes requiring a two-part class in this subject. Tasks include setting up accounting records and recording transactions in the app.
This course trains students to apply advanced math concepts to practical problem-solving in accounting and business. Many business math courses follow minimum prerequisites in elementary and advanced algebra. Enrollees explore simple and compound interest, payroll, investment opportunities, and graphs and charts.
This course introduces learners to beginner and advanced spreadsheet software and applications. Topics include range names, formulas, functions, and formatting. Students also learn to create and use macros, import and export data, and create charts and templates. While not always required, some programs recommend that candidates possess computer experience before enrolling.
How Much Do Bookkeeping Certificates Cost?
Students should consider several key factors that affect the cost of bookkeeping certificate programs. An enrollee’s preferred type of school, location, and eligibility for financial aid may affect their ability to afford bookkeeping courses. Many online bookkeeping certificate programs help students reduce costs by charging in-state tuition and offering accelerated schedules.
A school’s public or private status, in-state and out-of-state tuition rates, and reputation can affect its tuition cost. Students generally pay more to attend private, nonprofit institutions. Additionally, most colleges assign higher tuition rates and fees to nonresidents. These financial challenges lead many aspiring bookkeepers to forgo associate and bachelor’s degrees for online bookkeeping certificate programs.
Most students need financial aid to pay for any college program. Since certificates are shorter and often more flexible than a degree, most programs offer limited traditional aid in the form of scholarships or grants. Many students qualify for federal student loans through the Department of Education, some of which they can apply toward postgraduate certificates or diplomas.
Bookkeeping Jobs and Salaries
Bookkeeping certificate programs can lead to many different accounting and finance careers. Graduates of bookkeeping certificate programs can pursue positions as accounting clerks or bill collectors, among other accounting occupations.
While BLS projection data indicates a decline in bookkeeping occupations from 2019-2029, this data also demonstrates the availability of broader opportunities for bookkeepers with multifaceted administrative and technology skills. Additionally, graduates of bookkeeping certificate programs may go on to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree on the path toward becoming an accountant, certified public accountant, or financial executive.
Bookkeepers maintain financial accounts for individual clients, corporations, and organizations. They document all transactions, including debits and credits, to a general ledger. Bookkeepers also prepare bank statements and deposits. Many bookkeepers perform payroll, purchasing, and collections services.
– Required Education: Some postsecondary education preferred
These professionals keep financial records and facilitate transactions. Many clerical jobs in finance incorporate a strong customer service component. Industries including insurance, healthcare, and credit intermediation, employ the highest amounts of financial clerks.
– Required Education: At least some postsecondary education preferred
Like bookkeepers, accounting clerks receive much of their education through on-the-job training. They often perform specialized duties, such as accounts payable/receivable, loan monitoring, or balance billing for large companies. Many accounting clerks seek employment experience before pursuing degrees or licensure through certification.
– Required Education: At least some postsecondary education preferred
Bill and account collectors track down and attempt to recover overdue payments from individuals and businesses. They locate consumers and companies with past-due bills to negotiate payment options and refer consumers to debt counselors or consolidators. Bill and account collectors typically undergo on-the-job training in relevant computer software and negotiation techniques.
Our rankings offer a great place to start searching for the right bookkeeping certificate program, but aspiring bookkeepers should consider other factors, including:
All prospective schools must hold accreditation from regional or national accreditation agencies. Regional accreditation carries more prestige than the national form.
Take note of schools that specialize in accounting and bookkeeping programs.
Many schools favor students who complete certificates toward earning higher in-house degrees.
Enrollees may prefer to complete their bookkeeping courses online or on campus.
Required Admission Material/Test Scores
Bookkeeping certificate programs generally offer flexible admission requirements for high school graduates.
Competitiveness/Difficulty of Admission
Most certificate programs accept applicants who demonstrate potential but may hold only minimal college or work experience.
Most bookkeeping certificate programs allow students to graduate in as little as one year.
While some students thrive on personalized attention, others do not need a small class to succeed.
Online bookkeeping certificate programs can lead students to entry-level positions as a stepping stone toward more lucrative roles.
Candidates can offset the cost of an online certificate with loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of degree do you need to be a bookkeeper?
A bookkeeper typically does not need to earn a degree to enter the field, often undergoing on-the-job training instead. Employers often prefer candidates with bookkeeping certificates or associate degrees to those with no education.
How do you get a bookkeeping certificate?
Students can earn a bookkeeping certificate online or in person. Most bookkeeping certificate programs cost less and take less time to complete than an associate degree.
What can you do with a bookkeeping certificate?
Though not always required by employers, a bookkeeping certificate can provide an advantage to job-seekers. Bookkeeping certificate programs emphasize accounting, computer, and administrative skills.
What's the difference between a bookkeeping certificate and certification?
Earning professional bookkeeping certification requires a process separate from completing a bookkeeper certificate. Candidates must pass an exam administered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers, or the National Bookkeepers Association.
Should I get certified as a bookkeeper?
Becoming a certified bookkeeper can lead to broader job prospects. Employers may favor candidates with certification for higher-paying jobs or advancement in fields like accounting, business, and finance.
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