Professional accounting certificate programs are designed for individuals who already have academic or professional backgrounds in accounting, taxation or financial management. Some programs may offer advanced courses with special prerequisites; students who don't meet these prerequisites may need to take classes that provide the proper background knowledge. Internships may also be required for some programs.
Certificate in Professional Accounting
Curricula include specialized topics in individual and group taxation; students explore the dynamics of commonplace taxation liabilities. Some programs may offer special courses designed for students who want to work for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Through these programs, students learn advanced tax planning and filing techniques. Some programs may also offer internships. Common course titles include:
- Estate taxation and gift taxation
- Personal financial planning
- Shareholder taxation
- Tax advocacy
- Partnership taxation
- International taxation and nonprofit taxation
Popular Career Options
Certificate programs prepare students for work within the accounting field. Work and educational experience gained prior to enrollment may affect employment options. It's also important to note that some accounting and financial positions require licensure or certification; certificate programs don't always prepare individuals for those credentials.
Earning a certificate may lead to work in a variety of environments, including nonprofit organizations, corporations and government agencies, such as the IRS. Some popular career titles are corporate tax manager, financial advisor, tax preparer, and accountant.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates 2% employment growth for tax preparers and 30% growth for personal financial advisors over the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). About average employment growth of 11% is estimated for accountants and auditors during that same decade. The BLS reported that median earnings were $36,450 for tax preparers and $89,160 for personal financial advisors in May 2015. PayScale.com reported that tax accountants earned a median wage of $52,828 in January 2016.
Continuing Education Information
For those interested in developing additional expertise, master's programs in taxation and business taxation are available. These programs may be offered in both part-time and full-time formats. Students who don't hold bachelor's degrees in accounting or related fields may need to complete prerequisite coursework.
Those looking to specialize in taxation within the professional accounting field can study towards a certificate in professional accounting. Typical course content can include estate and gift taxation and partnership taxation.