What Is an Accounting Certificate?

An accounting certificate can help you learn the skills you need to become an accountant, and programs are available for graduates and undergraduates. Read more to learn how to earn your accounting certificate and the types of classes you could take. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need an Accounting Certificate?

If you're looking for an entry-level position in the accounting field or you want to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), certificate programs can give you the knowledge you need. Many accounting certificate programs are designed for students who have a bachelor's degree, but some also accept you if you have no prior secondary education.

If you don't have a bachelor's degree, the certificate program won't qualify you to become a CPA. If you have earned a bachelor's degree, an accounting certificate program may fulfill state educational requirements for you to sit for the CPA exam.

How Does It Work?

Many accounting certificate programs don't have any prerequisites, but some require you to have a bachelor's degree. Typically, a program includes 7-10 courses that give you a strong foundation in accounting practices and finance principles. In many cases, you can attend part time, take evening classes or learn online. Many accounting certificate programs require you to complete all of your coursework within five years, and students who work full time while studying may take about 2.5 years to earn the certificate.

What Courses Will I Take?

Your required courses give you a solid understanding of accounting practices and theory. You'll get both an overview and an in-depth understanding of statements, balance sheets and cash flows. Income tax, pension plans and investments are also covered. Advanced concepts discussed in an accounting certificate program include estate planning, retirement planning, international accounting and managerial accounting. You also learn about financial and internal auditing.

Most accounting certificate programs feature elective courses. Some of your choices include business courses in economics, management, law and statistics. You can also learn about accounting for specific types of organizations, such as non-profits, partnerships and international corporations. Other courses cover partnership taxation, financial control and forensic accounting.

How Do I Become a CPA?

Accountants who file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission are required to be CPAs licensed by their state. You have to pass a national exam and attain a certain level of education, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which varies by state (www.bls.gov). Most states require you to complete 30 semester hours past a bachelor's degree, but some require less, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

 More Schools