Certificate in Tax Accounting: Career Education Program Overviews

Certificate programs in tax accounting are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to common coursework in both types of programs, learn about continuing your education, popular career options, salary, and job outlook.

Essential Information

Certificate programs in tax accounting teach students the ins and outs of handling payrolls for businesses, as well as taxation principles for businesses, trusts and individuals. Accounting is a numbers-heavy career that has become highly computerized, so students can expect an emphasis in mathematics and computer software and hardware usage in these certificate programs. Undergraduate degree certificate programs in tax accounting offer basic information in dealing with individual and business taxes, including keeping adequate financial records. The only prerequisite for the undergraduate certificate is possession of a high school diploma.

Post-bachelor's certificate programs offer more advanced accounting training to students who have earned degrees, usually in business administration or a related field. In order to enroll, students must have a bachelor's degree, usually in accounting. Courses in these programs largely cover business taxation and auditing. Generally, an internship or independent study is required.

Undergraduate Certificate in Tax Accounting

The core curriculum of undergraduate tax accounting certificates teach students basic skills in tax accounting, such as recording transactions, preparing financial statements, preparing tax returns and using accounting software. Students also gain knowledge of applicable laws and interpersonal communication skills. Courses may include:

  • General accounting
  • Financial accounting
  • Tax accounting
  • Payroll accounting
  • Business law
  • Microcomputer applications

Graduate Certificate in Tax Accounting

Students who have completed an undergraduate degree program can add an accounting credential to their resume by completing a post-bachelor's certificate in tax accounting or taxation. These programs teach more advanced, professional-level skills and theories behind tax accounting and may also train participants in specific areas, such as estate and gift taxes. Students are generally required to complete about four courses, including both required core courses and electives that allow them to customize their program. Some course topics covered in this tax accounting certificate program include the following:

  • Advanced tax accounting
  • Tax research
  • Income tax assistance
  • Estate planning
  • Tax analysis
  • Federal income tax procedures

Popular Career Options

Since accountants typically need to have at least a bachelor's degree, the pre-associate's degree certificate alone does not qualify graduates for professional-level positions. However, many individuals find entry-level employment in accounting offices after graduation. Here are a few examples of introductory jobs in this field:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Administrative assistant
  • Payroll officer
  • Data entry clerk

In order to hold a professional position as an accountant and file reports with the SEC, one must become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). To become a CPA, accountants must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA Exam) and meet state professional experience and educational requirements. After completing a graduate certificate program and passing the Uniform CPA Exam, graduates can pursue work in the professional tax accounting field.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for all accountants and auditors, including those working in tax accounting, is predicted to increase by 11% from 2014 to 2024. These individuals earned an average salary of $75,280 as of May 2015.

Continuing Education Information

Those who wish to obtain management-related accounting jobs can continue their education with a master's degree in the field. At the graduate level, students can pursue a degree in accounting, or they can pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree that carries a concentration in accounting. CPA's must take continuing education courses to maintain their licenses.

Earning an undergraduate certificate will give students access to entry-level jobs in accounting, while a graduate certificate is for those with an undergraduate degree who would like to specialize in tax accounting. Accountants should see faster-than-average growth in their field over the next decade. Those with a master's degree may increase their job prospects.

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