Best Online Certificate in Accounting Programs of 2021

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August 19, 2021

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Many organizations employ professionals with financial knowledge and skills. As the complexity of financial information increases, the demand for accountants should grow as well. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the addition of more than 61,000 accounting-related jobs between 2019 and 2029.

While various accounting degrees can prepare students for entry-level jobs in this field, accounting certificates can achieve similar results. These programs can also enable business professionals to acquire accounting skills and help experienced accountants meet certification requirements.

Read on for a closer look at these programs, the careers they lead to, and the best accounting certificates. Check out ourcertificate in accounting program guide for more information.

What Are the Best Online Certificate in Accounting Programs of 2021? Here Are Our Top 10:

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#1 Southwestern Community College Sylva, NC
#2 Stanly Community College Albemarle, NC
#3 Richmond Community College Hamlet, NC
#4 Central Carolina Community College Sanford, NC
#5 Wayne Community College Goldsboro, NC
#6 William Rainey Harper College Palatine, IL
#7 Lenoir Community College Kinston, NC
#8 Craven Community College New Bern, NC
#9 Kaskaskia College Centralia, IL
#10 James A Rhodes State College Lima, OH

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2021 Best Accredited Online Certificate in Accounting Programs

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Southwestern Community College View School Profile Sylva, NC

Southwestern Community College, located in Sylva, North Carolina, offers several online programs for students. Many of these options are hosted by the college's business school. Among these offerings is the school's 16-credit accounting and finance certificate.

The program features five classes and covers topics like managerial accounting, individual income taxes, and accounting software applications. Participants develop the ability to analyze, assemble, process, and communicate sensitive financial data and accounting information.

The school also recognizes the importance of flexibility, allowing students to attend college while working or raising a family, following a pace that matches their needs. Southwestern Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $86 per credit (in-state); $278 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 16 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum specified
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Stanly Community College View School Profile Albemarle, NC

Based in Albemarle, North Carolina, Stanly Community College offers an online certificate option in accounting and finance. Students take coursework in financial accounting principles, federal income taxes, and payroll accounting. They also learn the basics of management and gain experience with common accounting software applications. The short, eight-month program requires participants to take 18 credits.

Upon completion of their program, students should know how to prepare financial statements and tax treatments, execute managerial accounting reports, use computer accounting tools, and effectively share accounting concepts though verbal and written communications.

Stanly Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 8 months
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Richmond Community College View School Profile Hamlet, NC

Richmond Community College, located in Hamlet, North Carolina, offers an array of accounting and finance certificates. Students interested in business, accounting, and finance careers can pursue an accounting specialist certificate, accounting/bookkeeper certificate, payroll accountant specialist, or tax preparer certificate.

The accounting specialist certificate features 17-18 credits and includes classes like introduction to computers and principles of microeconomics. Students also develop skills related to communication, financial analysis, and critical thinking skills. Graduates can pursue employment in various settings, including manufacturing firms, accounting firms, small businesses, government agencies, banks, hospitals, and schools.

Richmond Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting Specialist Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 17-18 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Central Carolina Community College View School Profile Sanford, NC

Central Carolina Community College, located in Sanford, North Carolina, offers many career preparation certificates, including online accounting and finance certifications. Depending on their goals, students can earn a tax preparer certificate, payroll accounting certificate, or small business financial advisor certificate.

Graduates can pursue employment opportunities in auditing, bookkeeping, income tax preparation, payroll, and accounts receivable/payable. Students who complete accounting coursework learn to analyze financial and nonfinancial business data, use applicable accounting standards, update manual and computerized accounting records with journals and ledgers, and prepare financial statements.

Central Carolina Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Tax Preparer Certificate; Payroll Accounting Certificate; Small Business Financial Advisor Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 15-17 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Wayne Community College View School Profile Goldsboro, NC

Based in Goldsboro, North Carolina, WCC offers students many useful and career-focused degree and certificate programs, including an online accounting and finance/bookkeeping certificate.

Students benefit from an average class size of 15-25 pupils, allowing them to further their studies by working closely with classmates and teachers. A high school diploma is required for admission into this program, which takes two semesters to complete. Coursework explores topics related to business, computers, accounting software applications, and spreadsheets.

Wayne Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting and Finance/Bookkeeping Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 17 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

William Rainey Harper College View School Profile Palatine, IL

Harper College, located in Palatine, Illinois, offers a stackable accounting assistant certificate to prepare students for entry-level accounting career opportunities. Designed for learners interested in pursuing careers as junior accountants in business, the program may be completed in two semesters.

Classes cover topics such as financial and managerial accounting, Quickbooks, payroll accounting, business writing, business organization, business software packages, and spreadsheet software. Harper's accounting certificate program may be completed either in person or online. Students also may elect to join and participate in Harper College's accounting club.

Harper College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting Assistant Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $134 per credit (in-district, in-state); $391 per credit (out-of-district, in-state); $466 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 29 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Lenoir Community College View School Profile Kinston, NC

Based in Kinston, North Carolina, Lenoir Community College provides three accounting certificates to online learners: an accounting essential certificate, an accounting and finance bookkeeping certificate, and a small business accounting certificate. Each program requires 14 or 15 credits for completion.

Students complete coursework covering basic accounting and finance concepts. Depending on their program, classes may discuss principles of accounting, spreadsheets, payroll accounting, and accounting software applications. Other classes cover professional development to support students in their professional job search.

Lenoir Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting and Finance Certificates
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 14-15 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Craven Community College View School Profile New Bern, NC

Craven Community College — located in New Bern, North Carolina — provides flexible academic options for students interested in gaining business knowledge. The community college offers two online accounting and finance certificates: small business and payroll.

Coursework in both certificate programs covers areas like principles of accounting, federal income taxes, accounting software, and an introduction to computers. Certificate classes are stackable, and students can apply their credits to an associate degree program if they would like to.

Craven Community College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting and Finance - Payroll Certificate; Accounting and Finance - Small Business Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $76 per credit (in-state); $268 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 16-18 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Kaskaskia College View School Profile Centralia, IL

Based in Centralia, Illinois, Kaskaskia College offers career and technical certificates, including an online accounting certificate that prepares students to explore accounting and finance careers. Most learners complete this 32-credit program over the course of three semesters, taking three or four classes at a time.

Coursework covers important business and accounting principles, and specific classes include payroll and business taxes, business mathematics, and business technology applications. Students who earn this certificate may pursue a career in general accounting, cost accounting, purchasing, inventory control, accounts receivable, accounts payable, or tax assistance. Students choose from solely online courses, hybrid enrollment, or face-to-face classes.

Kaskaskia College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $162 per credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

James A Rhodes State College View School Profile Lima, OH

Located in Lima, Ohio, Rhodes State College is a two-year school that offers a number of affordable, career-focused certificates and associate degrees. The college provides students a route into the accounting field through its accounting clerk certificate program. Graduates of this program may opt to sit in for a Quickbooks certification.

The entirely online coursework is delivered by faculty who have first-hand accounting experience. Students complete 18 credits of classes, learning about accounting principles and relevant computer applications. Certificate coursework is stackable, and students may apply their credits to an associate program.

Rhodes State College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting Clerk Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $180 per credit (in-state); $360 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Yavapai College View School Profile Prescott, AZ

Based in Prescott, Arizona, and part of the Arizona Community Colleges system, Yavapai College offers an online accounting assistant certificate. This affordable college houses six schools of study, with the accounting certificate offered through its business school.

Students pursuing an accounting certificate learn about basic accounting and business principles while developing communication and computer skills. Coursework includes classes such as basic tax planning, Microsoft Office, principles of accounting, and computer accounting with Quickbooks. Students who take nine credits per semester during the fall and spring can graduate in two years.

Yavapai College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Accounting Assistant Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $95 per credit (in-state); $143-$377 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Iowa Lakes Community College View School Profile Estherville, IA

Designed for students who like numbers, data, and working with people, Iowa Lakes Community College offers a certified professional bookkeeper certificate. The school also provides an accounting diploma and associate degree in accounting, and students can apply certificate credits toward these credentials.

This bookkeeping program prepares students for the national bookkeeper certification exam and helps enrolled students develop financial expertise. The curriculum covers the business aspects of bookkeeping, as well as regulatory guidelines. Students who decide to sit for the bookkeeper exam — administered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers — can boost their job prospects.

Iowa Lakes Community College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Snapshot

Program Name: Certified Professional Bookkeeper Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $195 per credit
Credit Requirements: 28 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT scores may be required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Champlain College View School Profile Burlington, VT

Located in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain College hosts many academic options for distance learners, including an online accounting certificate program.

Earning an accounting certificate is a way to start building knowledge related to the financial and business industries. The coursework is transferable to the other programs at Champlain College, such as its online accounting associate degree and online accounting bachelor's degree.

Certificate courses include classes in financial accounting, managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, and federal taxes. Students also complete a culminating course where they demonstrate their newly developed accounting knowledge.

Champlain College is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Program Snapshot:

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $318 per credit
Credit Requirements: 16 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum recommended
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

North Arkansas College View School Profile Harrison, AR

Based in Harrison, Arkansas, North Arkansas College offers several business and finance programs, including an online accounting certificate program. Students may choose to complete coursework entirely online, through a hybrid format, or in a face-to-face setting, ensuring ample scheduling flexibility.

Graduates of the certificate program learn about accounting principles, financial statements, and ethical business issues. Specific classes include accounting record-keeping, business communications, and financial data application. The 30-credit program can be completed in two semesters, and graduates may apply certificate credits toward an AAS in business administration or general technology.

North Arkansas College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $74 per credit (in-county, in-state); $99 per credit (out-of-county, in-state); $169 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: ACT scores may be required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

Montgomery County Community College View School Profile Blue Bell, PA

Located in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County Community College provides students with several certificate options, including an online accounting certificate.

The 31-credit accounting curriculum delves into finance and accounting, featuring classes like business software essentials, strategic analytics for leaders, and accounting information systems. Students learn to create financial statements, complete payroll tasks, and report accounting information. Graduates may apply for junior accountant roles or apply their certificate credits towards an associate degree in accounting.

Montgomery County Community College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Program Name: Accounting Certificate
School Status: Public
Tuition: $144 per credit (in-county, in-state); $288 per credit (out-of-county, in-state); $432 per credit (out-of-state)
Credit Requirements: 31 credits
Program Length: 1 year
Format: Online

Admission Requirements

GPA: No minimum
Standardized Tests: Not required

Contact the School

Request more information about this program.

What Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Accounting Program?

These programs provide varying coursework and levels of training, making them useful to a diverse collection of students.

The typical accounting certificate comprises 15-45 credits, which students generally complete in less than one year. These programs provide varying coursework and training for students at various educational levels. Coursework may focus on introductory information and lead to entry-level careers or provide advanced training for experienced professionals.

Some certificates offer specialized training for business professionals and current accountants. Students can pursue certificates in fraud examination, internal auditing, tax accounting, and managerial accounting. Each of these certificates provides focused training that builds on foundational accounting skills.

In addition to providing different specializations, accounting certificates can offer varying levels of training. Undergraduate students can take certificates that award credits that transfer into a bachelor's program or contribute to industry certification, such as the certified public accountant (CPA) credential. Learners may also enroll in accounting certificates that award graduate credits, although these programs are rare.

Many accounting certificates feature internships and practical assignments. Before choosing a program, students should select the certificate that best meets their goals. Distance learners considering an online accounting certificate should research on-campus requirements prior to enrolling.

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What Courses Will I Take in an Online Certificate in Accounting Program?

Every online accounting certificate features unique courses for a different group of students. Coursework depends on the level, specialization, and purpose of the certificate. While students should expect to see variety among programs, the following section covers the most common courses.

Financial Accounting

Financial accounting courses teach students how to work with financial statements, identify and understand financial trends, and recognize and solve problems. Learners gain the skills needed to read various types of statements and work with different types of accounting software.

Management Accounting

Management accounting courses explore ways of using financial information to make sound business and management decisions. Students learn how accountants handle pricing, budgeting, and inventory for organizations. They may also learn how to develop presentations and create reports.

Accounting Ethics

Accounting ethics courses familiarize learners with ethical frameworks and principles in the accounting field. Students learn about professional guidelines and the challenges accountants face, along with various codes of conduct and legal responsibilities.

Taxation

Students in taxation courses learn how to complete taxes for individuals and corporations. They explore various rules and guidelines, gain an understanding of different types of income, and find out how professionals can save people and businesses money while following the law.

Government Accounting

In government accounting courses, students learn about the role of the government in the accounting field. Covered topics include taxation, government audits, and the processes involved with establishing guidelines and standards.

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What Can I Do With an Online Certificate in Accounting?

Graduates with an online accounting certificate can access in-demand careers. The BLS projects 4% job growth for accounting professions between 2019 and 2029. While advancements in technology have reduced traditional accounting roles, the need for accounting and financial analysts has grown.

Many business and financial occupations rely on accounting expertise. The BLS projects the creation of more than 475,000 new jobs in these fields between 2019 and 2029. Overall, the outlook appears strong for a field with an enormous workforce.

See where an accounting certificate can take you. Learn more about accounting careers.

true Accountants and Auditors

Accountants handle an organization's financial records, record and analyze data, and help management make sound financial decisions. Auditors look through data to identify errors or detect fraud.

Bookkeepers

Bookkeepers keep records for organizations. They track transactions and complete payroll. They may work with various balance sheets and accounting software.

Financial Clerks

Financial clerks maintain financial records, manage billing and payments, and supervise credit and loan approvals. They may also perform bookkeeping tasks, process insurance claims, and handle payroll and organizational transactions.

Financial Examiners

Financial examiners supervise financial transactions, ensuring all laws are obeyed and consumers receive fair and equal treatment. Some examiners review and evaluate the financial information and health of organizations, whereas others assess consumer protection in their financial activities.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts look at an organization's finances and identify inefficiencies and opportunities. These professionals research market and consumer trends, assess performances and supply chains, and review financial data to create action plans.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Accounting Programs

What is accounting?

Accounting involves managing financial accounts and information. This field deals with recording, processing, and communicating financial data and using that information to make future decisions. Accounting helps organizations track transactions and money flow, identify financial risks and opportunities, and gauge their financial health.

What's the highest-paying job I can get with an accounting certificate?

For entry-level professionals, the highest-paying job is likely bookkeeper and accounting clerk. According to the BLS, these professionals earn a median annual salary of $41,230.

Is an accounting certificate program hard?

Training and difficulty in an accounting certificate can vary considerably. Specialized or graduate-level certificates may feature challenging courses, but should be no more difficult than a bachelor's or master's degree. Students who keep up with assignments do well in these programs.

Is an accounting certificate worth it?

Yes. New students can gain access to entry-level careers, accountants aiming for industry certification can add credits to their undergraduate degrees, and experienced professionals can develop new skills and specializations.

Are accountants in high demand?

Yes. The BLS projects 4% job growth for accountants between 2019 and 2029, roughly equal to the rate for all occupations.

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