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Accounting: Online Diploma

Educate yourself on online diploma programs in accounting. Learn about classes, requirements, salary and career prospects to make an informed career choice.

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Essential Information

Online diploma programs in accounting typically don't have any in-person requirements. Often, on-the-job training is all that is needed to become an accounting clerk. However, some employers may prefer some postsecondary education. While a diploma program prepares graduates to become accounting clerks, it is not enough to become an accountant. Students whose career goal is to work as an accountant need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related subject, but some employers prefer to hire applicants who have master's degrees. Depending on the type of accounting that they do, licensure may also be required; this means that additional coursework beyond the typical bachelor's degree requirements must be completed.

Online Diploma in Accounting Overview

Online diploma programs in accounting are relatively common. Classes incorporated into these programs include mathematics, management, economics, business and of course, accounting. Students learn how to read financial statements, create spreadsheets and maintain payroll records. Students may become acquainted with different types of accounting, such as payroll, income tax, financial and management accounting. Similar programs include online business diploma programs.

Program Information and Requirements

Many diploma programs in accounting can be completed exclusively online. Many schools allow flexibility in class scheduling to suit the individual needs of each student. For example, some schools allow students to take one course per month or select from full-time and part-time course loads. Because many students balance their studies with outside commitments, these programs can take 4.5 years to complete; however, it is possible to complete some programs in one year or less. Typically, the only requirements to enroll in these online programs are to have an up-to-date computer with Internet access and word processing software.

List of Common Online Accounting Classes


Accounting classes are taught in progressive levels starting with an introduction course, then progressing to advanced accounting and specialized subjects. Classes cover topics in business transactions, accounts receivables and investments. Accounting standards, such as Financial Accounting Standards (FASB), are also taught.

Fundamentals of Management

Students learn the basic theories and principals of business management. The importance of communication and positive motivation in a business hierarchy is discussed.

Federal Tax

Students are presented with federal tax codes and their implications for both individuals and businesses. Additionally, students learn about state and local tax codes, capital gains and depreciation.

Career Information for Graduates

Many graduates of accounting diploma programs find jobs as accounting clerks, auditing clerks and bookkeepers. Those who continue their educations in accounting can often find positions as accountants or auditors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment opportunities for accounting clerks, auditing clerks and bookkeepers would increase by ten percent between 2008 and 2018, while accountant and auditor positions would grow by 22% over the same decade (

The BLS reported that as of May 2010, there were 1,675,250 auditing clerks, accounting clerks and bookkeepers working in the United States, and they earned an annual mean wage of $35,340. At that time, there were also 1,072,490 accountants and auditors employed, and they earned an annual mean wage of $68,960.

Continuing Education

According to the BLS, accounting clerks, auditing clerks and bookkeepers must hold at least high school diplomas or the equivalent, but many have associate's degrees in business or accounting. Advancement can come from a combination of real-world experience and professional certification. For example, the BLS mentions that qualified bookkeepers and clerks can obtain the Certified Bookkeeper designation through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.

To advance to a career as an accountant or auditor, a bachelor's degree in accounting is usually required. Some employers may look for master's degree holders to fill positions. The BLS reported that accountants who file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) need to meet education and examination requirements to become certified public accountants.

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