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Accounting - Payroll Administrator: Career School Diploma Summary

An accounting diploma program may teach aspiring payroll administrators or bookkeepers how to prepare and process payrolls for a variety of companies and organizations.

Essential Information

Individuals interested in organizing and managing employee time and payroll data may benefit from an accounting diploma program. Typical admission requirements include a high school diploma or GED. These programs focus on learning necessary clerical duties and computerized accounting applications. Business law and communications classes are often included to enhance a student's general business knowledge. Graduates may qualify for professional certification offered through private organizations.


Diploma Programs in Payroll Administration

Courses in an accounting diploma program teach basic accounting and tax principles. Coursework varies depending on the school and may include:

  • Accounting fundamentals
  • Payroll accounting
  • Word processing
  • Computerized accounting
  • Spreadsheets and database management
  • Business law and taxation

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment for payroll and timekeeping clerks would decline by 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). The main cause of this decline is the increasing reliance on computers and advanced software for payroll purposes. Individuals with strong computer skills and an accounting certification may have an advantage over less skilled job applicants. The BLS also noted that payroll and timekeeping clerks earned a mean annual salary of $42,130 in 2015. The top paying states for this occupation were the District of Columbia, Alaska, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California.

Continuing Education

Graduates of an accounting diploma program may seek a professional credential to improve their job opportunities. For example, they may take the Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) exam offered by the American Payroll Association (APA) to demonstrate basic accounting knowledge (www.americanpayroll.org). This exam doesn't require previous accounting experience but it does require a fee.

By earning a diploma in accounting from a career or vocational school, students gain the essential financial background they need to pursue careers as payroll administrators.

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