Bookkeeping Certification and Certificate Programs

A certificate in bookkeeping can generally be completed in 1-1.5 years through many community colleges. Courses generally cover both accounting and business topics and teach students how to use the software needed to keep ledgers of accounts for small to mid-size businesses.

Essential Information

Students enrolled in bookkeeping certificate programs learn the basics of bookkeeping, including payroll and tax accounting, along with how to use 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.


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. Other course topics include:

  • 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 decrease by about 8% between 2014 and 2024. Bookkeepers that have extensive training and many years of experience may have the best chances for employment. As of May 2015, the BLS reports that the annual median salary of a bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerk was $37,250.

Continuing Education and 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.

Students interested in working as bookkeepers can complete a certificate to work in the field. The program covers the basics of bookkeeping and also familiarizes students with software and other tools specific to bookkeeping professionals.

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