Bookkeeping: Online Diploma

As opportunities for bookkeepers continue to be plentiful, you may be considering enrolling in an online bookkeeping diploma program. Keep reading to find out requirements for this program, including what to expect once you graduate.

Essential Information

Online bookkeeping diploma programs can be completed entirely online. Though formal education is not always needed to become a bookkeeping clerk, some employers prefer it. Earning optional professional certification is another way bookkeeping clerks can stand out. This typically entails accumulating work experience and passing an exam.

Related Program Options

Students interested in online diploma programs in bookkeeping may also want to consider online diploma programs in accounting. These programs are similar in length and can also be completed entirely online. Accounting diploma programs prepare graduates to become accounting clerks, an occupation similar to that of bookkeeping clerks. The main difference is that accounting clerks typically have more specialized tasks.

Overview of Online Bookkeeping Diploma Programs

Students enrolled in an online diploma program in bookkeeping obtain the skills necessary to work as a bookkeeping clerk or in a similar position. They find out how to prepare basic accounting records, handle a company's payroll, develop financial reports and perform other accounting functions needed in a business environment. In addition to the accounting coursework, the programs focus primarily on business principles and computer skill development.

Students may opt to pursue similar online diploma programs in accounting. Some schools offer online certificate programs in bookkeeping and accounting as well.

Program Information and Requirements

These diploma programs typically take about one year to complete. Students can take the required coursework completely online through the school's course management system. Instructors and class members interact through online discussion board assignments. Tests are also taken through the virtual course site. In addition to having a computer, reliable Internet connection and word processor, schools may require a certain operating system or Internet browser. High-speed Internet is usually recommended.

List of Common Bookkeeping Courses

General education courses are not part of the coursework in these diploma programs because they are designed to provide a specific skillset. Some schools may permit room for a few electives, but even they are likely to be related to the bookkeeping curriculum.

Accounting Principles I

This introductory course teaches students about the accounting cycle and double-entry accounting. They also learn about working in a computerized accounting system.

Accounting Principles II

Students expand their accounting knowledge and skills in this course, which teaches them about management accounting. They also learn more about financial accounting for business partnerships and corporate settings.


This course covers spreadsheet software and how it is used in bookkeeping or accounting. Students obtain skills in creating worksheets and workbooks to manage or analyze data.


Students learn about business organization and managerial principles. Human resources, operations and administrative responsibilities are among the areas discussed.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates with this online diploma may obtain entry-level employment in the field. They are eligible to work as bookkeeping or accounting clerks. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a large number of opportunities are available due to high demand among businesses ( Though some companies outsource this type of work, bookkeeping remains one of the largest occupations in the country, according to the BLS. The national yearly wage for bookkeeping and accounting clerks was $35,340 on average, based on BLS data from 2010.

Continuing Education Information

Bookkeepers can obtain certification through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. In addition to passing an examination, candidates for this credential must have two years of work experience in bookkeeping. Continuing education is required to maintain the Certified Bookkeeper credential. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers several home-study courses that can be used to satisfy this requirement. Some diploma graduates may desire to advance their careers in accounting. Several schools offer online accounting degrees at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree level.

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