Students in a bookkeeping certificate program should expect a mathematics-oriented curriculum with training in business practices, accounting and payroll processing. Other than a high school diploma, the certificate program has no significant prerequisites.
To best prepare students for all employment opportunities, classes in a bookkeeping certificate program focus on standards and practices used by a variety of employers. This may include training in the most popular accounting software tools used by businesses, such as QuickBooks, and courses such as:
- Double-entry bookkeeping
- Computer-based data processing
- Business law
- Sales and payroll
- Business ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks was $37,250 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Employment closely followed state population, with California employing around 178,660 bookkeepers in 2015, followed by Texas, New York and Florida.
The District of Columbia, where the average salary was $54,080, had the highest average pay in 2015. Between 2014 and 2024, employment in this field was expected to decline by 8%, according to BLS figures. The lack of growth stemmed from the increases in technology and automated systems, which caused bookkeepers to be hired per contract basis rather than as an employee.
Continuing Education Information
Upon completing two years of professional experience, a bookkeeper can pursue certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. This is done by passing a 4-part examination and signing a code of ethics. Additionally, the certificate in bookkeeping can be used as a jumping-off point for an associate's degree in accounting.
A certificate sufficiently prepares students to work as bookkeepers through content such as payroll processing, computer software programs and business law. To stay abreast of changes in technology and to be eligible for higher-level positions, students may want to pursue certification or even an associate's degree.