Accounting technicians seeking certifications must obtain certification by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants or by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (if they are working within the healthcare industry). While there is no formal education requirement for the former, there is a two-year degree prerequisite for the latter. These certifications are earned via three levels of examination in four different specialized areas.
Certified accounting technician qualification (CAT) offered by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) is a well-respected credential in the accounting field. Accounting technicians working in the healthcare field may qualify for separate credentials by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM).
|Required Education or Training||None for CAT certification
Two-year degree for AAHAM certification
|Exam Requirements|| 3 levels of exams, from introductory to advanced (CAT)
4 possible areas of certification (AAHAM)
|Other Experience||Prior related accounting experience (CAT and AAHAM)
AAHAM Membership (AAHAM)
|Job Outlook* (2014-2024)||8% decrease|
*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
CAT Certification Examination
Technicians who receive CAT certification from the ACCA have demonstrated that they have the skills necessary to provide vital and competent assistance in a professional accounting environment. To become CAT certified, a technician must meet the organization's requirements and a battery of tests must be completed.
In order to qualify for CAT status, accounting technicians must put in at least one year of professional experience. The ACCA allows certification candidates to accumulate this work experience prior to taking the exam or at any time during or after the examination process.
Although the ACCA has no educational requirements to qualify for the CAT exam, work experience may allow some technicians to be exempt from taking certain sections of the exam. Exams are available in three different experience levels, from introductory to advanced. Each level consists of three exams that cover topics such as accounting, finances, IT, and management.
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AAHAM Certification Examinations
AAHAM offers certification for accounting technicians employed in the healthcare field. Two certification designations are available; the Certified Patient Account Manager (CPAM), for techs working in hospital settings, and the Certified Clinic Account Manager (CCAM), for those working in clinics or private practices.
Both tests consist of four distinct sections: patient access, billing, credit/collections, and revenue cycle management. Certification requirements include active AAHAM membership, work experience, and a two-year degree from an accredited educational institution.
Certification Exam Training
For those seeking a CAT certification through the ACCA, interactive study aids and practice tests are available online through the organization's international website. Study materials, such as guides and textbooks, are offered by outside vendors that have been approved by the ACCA (www.accaglobal.com).
The AAHAM offers online training through their website for those accounting technicians desiring certification, which includes sample tests, exercises and online study aids. Training courses are also available online through AAHAM-approved education sites. Online training aids cover both AAHAM certification and recertification exams (www.aaham.org).
Salary Info and Job Outlook
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) does not report information specific to accounting technicians, it does predict that the employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks will shrink by 8% between 2014 and 2024, an average rate when compared to all occupations. The mean annual salary earned by all such clerks was $38,990 in May 2015 per the BLS. Salaries earned can vary, depending on an individual's education, credentials, and experience; those holding CAT qualifications may be eligible for higher salary rates.
Certification for an aspiring accounting technician can come in a variety of forms, whether it's through the AAHAM, or the ACCA. There are a handful of specialized certification options that fall under each of these certification junctures, including the Certified Clinic Account Manager certification.