How to Learn Accounting

Instructor: William White
There are several ways to learn accounting, depending on whether you wish to gain a basic understanding of the field or pursue it as a career. Read on to learn about some of the courses and programs available in accounting.

Options for Learning Accounting

If you simply want to gain an understanding of basic accounting principles, you might consider stand-alone courses. If you would rather pursue accounting as a career, you'll need to earn a certificate or degree.

Individual Courses

While stand-alone courses are offered at 4-year universities, you may be able to take courses at a community college without completing an entire degree. You can also learn the basics of accounting by checking out the following Study.com course:

Certificate and Associate Degree Programs

Certificate programs can be completed in as little as one year and generally prepare graduates for entry-level employment as bookkeeping or accounting clerks. While prerequisites aren't common for undergraduate certificate programs, those designed to update individuals' accounting skills may recommend previous accounting courses. In addition to accounting coursework, these programs can include topics in business and computer information systems. Similar courses and career outcomes are also available through associate degree programs in accounting, which take around two years to complete.

Bachelor's and Master's Degree Programs

Bachelor's degree programs are for students interested in working as accountants or auditors and may be offered in accounting or as a concentration within a related major, such as business. Some programs offer further concentrations within specific areas of accounting, like financial or managerial accounting.

Earning an accounting degree can also prepare students to earn the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. According to the American Institute of CPAs, many states now require 150 hours of coursework to sit for the CPA exam. This often makes enrolling in graduate-level coursework necessary.

Master's degree programs in accounting are typically two years in length. These programs may include a mixture of finance and business coursework to supplement the accounting courses. Unlike bachelor's degree programs, master's degrees offer more flexibility, especially with electives.

To get an idea of the topics that might be covered in one of these programs, check out the following course:

Earning College Credit

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To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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