In an accounting certification program, students learn the basic skills that are standard to the field. Those who are interested in attending these certificate programs must have a high school diploma or a GED. In addition, certifications are often related to a certain area of accounting and usually require a bachelor's degree along with work experience. These programs typically take less than one year to complete.
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Certificate Programs in Accounting
Curricula may focus on topics that are directly related to accounting skills and practices. Some programs might offer courses in business, computer technology, composition and mathematics. The following topics may be included:
- Tax and financial accounting
- Financial statement analysis
- Federal income taxation
- Accounting information systems
- Payroll and business accounting
- Computer applications
Popular Career Options
Graduates may find entry-level employment positions in various organizations, businesses, healthcare facilities and government agencies. Some job titles include:
- Tax preparer
- Accounting assistant
- Payroll clerk
- Forensic accountant
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates may wish to earn bachelor's degrees in accounting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that employers typically prefer to hire accountants and auditors who hold a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field (www.bls.gov). Some accounting clerks, bookkeepers and graduates of junior colleges or business schools who meet their employer's experience and education requirements can obtain junior accounting positions and become accountants by demonstrating skills in accounting on the job.
Individuals whose job responsibilities include filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are required by law to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA); CPAs earn licensure through their state's Board of Accountancy. Most states require CPA candidates to hold college degrees; however, a few states will substitute their degree requirements with a sufficient amount of public accounting work experience. All States use the four part uniform CPA examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Graduates may also qualify for voluntary certifications that enable advantages in the job market. Certifications typically relate to a specialized area of accounting and require varying amounts of education and/or work experience. Examples include the Institute of Management Accountants' Certified Management Accountant designation and the Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Financial Services Auditor designations offered through the Institute of Internal Auditors.
The typical accounting program offered by most colleges and universities takes less than one year to complete, however a bachelor's degree and work experience are usually required. Graduates can find entry level employment in a variety of accounting fields including income tax preparation.