Overview of Online Certificate Programs in Accounting
Online certificate programs in accounting allow students to quickly gain valuable skills and knowledge and launch careers in financial services. These programs offer a diverse education that begins with courses in accounting principles before moving on to more nuanced topics like auditing and taxation. Admissions requirements are dependent on individual programs; some programs only require a high school diploma, but there are certain schools that require applicants to have a bachelor's degree.
Accounting certificate programs can be completed entirely online and usually take a minimum of one year to complete. The programs are usually designed to help students meet the requirements of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam (which is a required certification for any accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission); however, other educational requirements, including a bachelor's degree, are also needed. Graduates from an online certificate program in accounting who do not wish to be CPAs can find work as accountants, auditors, financial managers, budget analysts, and financial advisors, among other career paths.
Schools with Online Certificate Programs in Accounting in California
Prospective students looking to earn an online accounting certificate have plenty of options in California. Several universities across the state offer such programs in a fully online format that is convenient and flexible for working professionals with full-time jobs.
The University of California, San Diego
The University of California - San Diego's Extension division offers a professional certificate in accounting that can be completed entirely online. The program features nine required courses that provide training in subjects such as cost accounting, auditing, and federal income taxation. Students who wish to move on to the CPA exam or satisfy other licensure requirements can take additional courses in business law, organizational behavior, and real estate tax. The program can be completed in as little as one year, although students have the option to take up to 36 months depending on the number of courses taken per quarter.
The University of California, Berkeley
Another school in the UC network, UC Berkeley offers a certificate program in accounting through the Extension wing that is available online. It consists of six required courses and 2-3 electives, adding up to 360 hours of instruction. Course topics include managerial accounting, financial accounting, and accounting ethics. Most students finish the program in about two years, and it is recommended that applicants already have a bachelor's degree.
The University of California, Riverside
The University of California campus in Riverside offers an online certificate program in accounting that only requires applicants to have a high school diploma. The program includes 36 credits (32 of which are required, four of which are electives) and takes 12 to 18 months to complete. UCR's curriculum focuses on both fundamental and advanced topics in accounting, such as tax planning, financial reporting, and principles of accounting. Ideal for financial assistants and business students, this certificate program prepares graduates for more senior roles, such as accountants, budget analysts, or financial managers.
The University of California, Los Angeles
Candidates looking to prepare for accounting exams could consider UCLA's certificate program in accounting, which includes coursework that is intended to prepare students for the CPA, CMA, and CFA examinations, among others. The curriculum features courses in financial auditing, accounting theory and practice, and federal income taxation. Applicants to this program should have prior accounting experience, and those who lack such skills can pursue the Accounting Fundamentals certificate, another UCLA program intended for those who are new to accounting.
Career Outcomes for Online Certificate Programs in Accounting
Students who graduate from online certificate programs in accounting may be ready to find work as accountants and auditors. These careers require professionals to have a commanding grasp of the same topics that are covered in an accounting certificate program: accounting principles, taxation, and auditing.
Accounting is a career choice that offers good earning potential and job stability, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reported a median salary of $70,500 per year for accountants and auditors as of 2018 and predicts that job opportunities in this field will increase by 6% from 2018-2028.
Online certificate programs in accounting in California are available at multiple schools across the state. These programs focus on essential and advanced accounting topics as they prepare graduates to sit for the CPA exam or enter careers in accounting and finance.