Financial Accounting: Vocational School Diploma Summary

Vocational school diploma programs are usually offered in accounting rather than financial accounting. Keep reading to learn what these technical and community college programs have to offer in terms of the curriculum and employment outcomes.

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Essential Information

Financial accounting vocational school diploma programs will train students to prepare financial statements and perform common accounting tasks with accounting computer applications. Programs are generally one year in length. Students should keep in mind that most accountants and auditors hold at least a bachelor's degree; earning only a diploma may lead to work as a bookkeeper or auditing clerk.

Admissions requirements typically include a high school diploma or GED. Applicants may also be required to take placement exams.


Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Accounting with Computers, General
  • Auditing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Taxation, General

Diploma in Financial Accounting

In total, students in accounting diploma programs need to complete 42 credit hours of coursework. Courses cover fundamental accounting concepts, including cost accounting, ledgers, assets, liabilities, amortization, depreciation and tax liability. Programs train students to perform fundamental accounting tasks, including bank reconciliation, updating ledgers, maintaining accounts receivable and payable, preparing payroll and submitting tax forms. Students learn to perform these tasks manually and by using spreadsheet applications, such as Microsoft Excel, as well as with specialized accounting software, such as QuickBooks and Sage Peachtree.

Unlike accounting degree programs that include broad academic subjects, diploma programs typically limit coursework to such subjects as the following:

  • Managerial and financial accounting
  • Payroll accounting
  • Tax reporting
  • Bookkeeping
  • Accounting computer applications
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Balance sheet

Popular Career Options

Graduates may work in accounting operations of all sizes at banks, accounting firms, corporations, manufacturing companies and government agencies. Specific careers may include the following:

  • Accounting assistant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Payroll clerk
  • Accounts payable or receivable clerk
  • Auditor

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted job growth of 11% for accountants and auditors from 2014 to 2024. An 8% decline in employment over the same period was projected for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks. The former category earned a median annual salary of $67,190 as of May 2015, while the latter took home a median annual income of $37,250, per the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Some programs prepare students for professional certification and accreditation. These may include the Accredited Business Accountant (ABA) offered by the Accreditation Council for Accountancy and Taxation or the Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) offered by the American Payroll Association. Additionally, students may pursue an associate or bachelor's degree in accounting. Some programs allow students to apply accounting diploma coursework towards degree requirements.

Students who aspire to work in the financial industry can pursue a vocational diploma in accounting. This program provides necessary training for entry-level careers and professional certifications as well as an educational background for enrollment in accounting degree programs.

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