Bookkeeping Certification and Certificate Programs

Bookkeepers are responsible for keeping a ledger of accounts for small to mid-size businesses. A certificate in bookkeeping can generally be completed in one to one-and-a-half years and is offered by many community colleges.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in the program learn the basics of bookkeeping that includes payroll, tax accounting and computerized accounting, along with the use of bookkeeping software, like Quickbooks. Some certificate programs specifically prepare students for the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) certification exam offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.

Applicants are expected to hold a high school diploma to be eligible for admission into a bookkeeping certificate program. If a prospective student has not completed high school, then many community colleges will accept a GED certificate. Generally, scores for standardized exams, such as the ACT or SAT, aren't required for admission, though some schools will request them.

  • Some Bookkeeping Certification Program Fields: Managerial accounting, Introduction to QuickBooks, Business software applications

Certificate in Bookkeeping

Courses for a bookkeeping certificate primarily focus on the basics of the field and introduce students to the fundamentals of computerized accounting, or other topics such as:

  • Principles of accounting
  • Payroll
  • Property and sales taxes
  • Tax accounting
  • Computerized accounting

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, the employment of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is expected to increase by about 11% for the period between 2012 to 2022. This employment growth rate is roughly the same as the average of all occupations in the U.S. Bookkeepers that have extensive training and many years of experience may have the best chances for employment. As of May 2014, the BLS reports that the annual median salary of a bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerk was $36,430.

Continuing Education and Professional Bookkeeping Certification Information

Certification for bookkeepers in the U.S. is available and is highly recommended for professionals in the field. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers awards the Certified Bookkeeping certification. In order to be eligible for the certification, applicants must have at least two years of experience, demonstrate an understanding of bookkeeping ethics and pass an examination that is administered in four parts. Bookkeepers may find preparatory certification programs offered at community colleges and universities. The CB designation may increase the chances of being hired, as well as possibly opening up advancement opportunities for employed bookkeepers.

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