Accountants analyze, organize, and manage the financial records of organizations and individuals. They analyze budgets and activities to ensure their organization remains efficient, financially responsible, and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. They also prepare tax forms and send them to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The accounting profession is divided into several subfields. Public accountants serve a range of clients, including businesses, organizations and households. Management accountants concentrate on corporate finance, while government accountants handle financial matters for local, state, and federal agencies. Auditing, a specialized area of accounting, focuses on spotting, tracking, and reporting financial mismanagement. Internal auditors perform this service on behalf of a company or organization, while external auditors report to investors and law enforcement agencies.

The law requires all accountants who file reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to become Certified Professional Accountants (CPAs). Specific CPA requirements vary by state, but often include an exam and 150 credits of college coursework.

Although accounting is a popular field of study for associate and bachelor's students, a growing number of colleges and universities also offer certificates in accounting. Certificate programs are shorter than full degree tracks, and can usually be completed within a year or less. Certificates also concentrate exclusively in accounting, allowing students to focus their studies on one career field. Many of today’s students choose to earn their certificate in accounting online. The asynchronous (or self-paced) schedule and study-from-home format of most online accounting certificate programs prove ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare duties, and other responsibilities that could possibly interfere with campus-based learning.

Learn more about what you can do with an online certificate in accounting and what career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.

Choosing a Program

Will an Online Certificate in Accounting Provide Me With the Skills I Need to Advance My Career?

Students earning an online accounting certificate learn foundational skills essential to their career. Undergraduate accounting certificates often introduce subjects like financial accounting, managerial accounting, corporate finance, and financial reporting and analysis. Graduate-level certificates in accounting cover advanced areas of the field, such as upper-level reporting and analysis, principles of auditing and fraud examination, research in accounting, and integrated accounting.

Will an Online Certificate in Accounting Work With My Schedule?

Online accounting certificate programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional higher learning. Students can download course lectures and readings, participate in virtual discussions with other students, submit written assignments, take exams, and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. Current educational technology also allows them to study away from their home computer using a laptop, tablet, smartphone, and other Wi-Fi-compatible devices.

What Jobs Can I Get With My Certificate in Accounting?

In most states, CPAs must complete 150 credits of college coursework; this typically includes a four-year bachelor’s program, plus 30 or more additional credits. An online certificate in accounting equips students with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to take the next step in their accounting career, which is often a bachelor’s degree. Current finance professionals may also bolster their qualifications by pursuing a certificate in accounting.

What Are the Best Online Accounting Certificate Programs?

Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school’s strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online certificate in accounting programs in the U.S. Before you enroll in an online certificate in accounting program, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific requirements and offerings.

Accredited Online Certificate in Accounting Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Lanier Technical College

Oakwood, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 32%

Lanier Technical College in Oakwood, Georgia, offers more than 155 career-technical education (CTE) programs to meet the workforce development needs of north Georgia. LTC delivers diplomas, certificates, and over 30 associate degrees through in-person and distance learning. In addition to Oakwood, LTC also maintains campuses in Cumming, Winder, Dawsonville, and Commerce, as well as over 20 adult learning centers throughout the region.

LTC offers a diploma, certificate, and a two-year degree in accounting. The 14-hour certificate in office accounting specialist is one of 25 online programs at LTC, and requires that students complete four courses in financial accounting, computerized accounting, and basic computer vocabulary and use. Graduates of this online accounting certificate can qualify for entry-level positions.

All certificate requirements can be completed online and in two semesters. Online learners graduate with a working knowledge of cost accounting, payroll and record-keeping, spreadsheet and database fundamentals, and word processing. LTC accepts new students every semester, based on course and space availability. Additionally, online students at LTC take proctored exams, which they arrange with either an instructor-approved proctor or another technical college.

Similar to other accounting certificate programs online, LTC's online accounting certificate requires students to hold a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must be at least 16 years of age. Also, prospective students must take an ACCUPLACER test or submit their SAT, ACT, CPE, COMPASS, or ASSET test scores to help with college placement. LTC holds regional accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Program Overview
Program Name: Office Accounting Specialist Certificate
Tuition: $89/credit
Credit Requirements: 14 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, CPE, COMPASS, or ASSET

Contact
Phone: (770) 533-7000
Email: info@laniertech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Fairbanks, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

The University of Alaska Fairbanks serves over 8,500 students who represent 50 countries and all 50 states. A regionally accredited public research university, UAF offers more than 145 degrees and 30 certificates in approximately 110 disciplines. The online arm of UAF allows students from anywhere in the world to pursue a college credential without disrupting their busy schedules, or requiring a commute to Fairbanks or one of UAF's six other campuses.

The accounting technician certificate at UAF prepares graduates for entry-level accounting positions that work with payables and receivables, payroll accounting, and bookkeeping. Online learners typically take one year to complete the 30 credit program, which also covers financial decision-making tools used in small businesses. Additionally, this online accounting certificate counts as the first year of training for the AAS in applied accounting.

As one of the best online accounting certificate programs, UAF's accounting technician certificate provides students a comprehensive overview of the accounting skills and knowledge necessary to immediately enter the field. Ten courses comprise this major, where students explore topics such as income tax, business math, microcomputer accounting, and accounting principles. Learners must also complete a course in business communication, as well as a capstone that tests the student's mastery of accounting procedures, the accounting cycle, and payroll computations.

Applicants to this certificate program should possess basic computer skills. Admitted students must earn 15 of the 30 required credits at UAF. Enrolled students must earn a cumulative 2.0 GPA for all major courses in order to graduate.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Technician Certificate
Tuition: $212/credit in-state; $751/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, or ACCUPLACER and ALEKS

Contact
Phone: (907) 455-2060
Email: uaf-ecampus@alaska.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

An accredited evangelical Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University boasts an enrollment of over 100,000 students and 550 programs of study. Students can pursue credentials from the certificate to the doctoral level, while nearly half of Liberty's programs are available to students through the school's online programs. The university's first online program launched in 1985.

The undergraduate certificate in accounting is a fully online program consisting of seven courses and 21 credits. Courses include financial and managerial accounting, cost accounting, taxation, and auditing. Terms at Liberty run for eight weeks, and students can complete all program requirements in one semester; however, students take an average of about one year to finish the program.

The online accounting certificate from Liberty prepares graduates for entry-level jobs in the field, improves upon existing skills in accounting and payroll, or serves as a first step toward an associate or bachelor's degree. Upon program completion, graduates possess a solid understanding of finance, business, and management concepts.

To help defray the cost of attending college, Liberty provides electronic textbooks for all undergraduate courses. The school estimates this no-cost approach can save full-time students as much as $2,000 a year. Furthermore, Liberty University does not automatically raise tuition fees each year.

Applicants to the certificate in accounting must submit for review a high school self-certification form, proof of English proficiency, and transcripts for any college coursework previously done. For college courses, applicants must have a 1.5 combined GPA or better. Founded in 1971, Liberty University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $390/credit
Credit Requirements: 21 credits
Program Length: 1.5 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 1.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (434) 592-7321
Email: schoolofbusiness@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Jacksonville, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Founded in 1965 as Florida Junior College, Florida State College at Jacksonville serves nearly 50,000 students a year. FSCJ offers over 160 programs in 12 areas of study, including architecture and interior design, aviation, business, the culinary arts, public safety, and the sciences. Additionally, students may select from nearly 60 technical certificates, workforce certificates, or associate of science degrees.

The 12 credit accounting technology specialist technical certificate introduces accounting principles and the various duties of a billing clerk, an accounts receivable clerk, and a payroll or auditing clerk. Students learn to keep books, prepare and present business reports, and use accounting software. In total, students complete four courses in five months.

In this online accounting certificate, students must take courses in financial accounting and business basics. Students can then choose courses for an accounting focus and English composition requirements. In the accounting-focus course, students choose between earning a payroll accounting certificate or an online forensic accounting certificate. In forensic accounting, students learn about financial crime and how to detect, prevent, and deter such criminal activity. Topics include cash larceny, check tampering, skimming, and reimbursement schemes.

The school awards this certificate upon a student's completion of all program courses with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0. Note that learners must complete at least 25% of the total hours at FSCJ. The online accounting certificate can lead into the associate of science in accounting technology degree, should students choose to continue their studies in accounting at FSCJ.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Technology Specialist Technical Certificate
Tuition: $105/credit in-state; $219/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 12 credits
Program Length: 5 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Phone: (904) 646-2300
Email: info@fscj.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

University of Alaska Southeast

Juneau, AK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 24%

The University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, Alaska, is a public university and one of three universities that comprise the University of Alaska (UA) system. The smallest of the three UA universities, UAS offers 75 degrees and certifications through both on-campus and online programs. The school serves more than 5,300 students, with 90% working toward their undergraduate degrees. In addition to the main campus in Juneau, UAS also maintains campuses in Ketchikan, Sitka, and online.

The accounting technician certificate at UAS provides intensive training for accounting occupations. This 30-credit online accounting certificate consists of 9-10 credits in general requirements, and 21 credits in the major. Upon program completion, graduates qualify for entry-level jobs in the field.

In the general-requirements portion of this online undergraduate certificate in accounting, students focus on their computational, written, and oral communication skills. Learners can then choose between courses in managerial techniques or the fundamentals of psychology. The major requirements, meanwhile, explore various accounting and business principles, best practices, and tools. Aside from an introduction to business basics, students devote most of their time to mastering the types of accounting, including financial, managerial, and automated.

As an open-enrollment university, the University of Alaska Southeast aims to make an education as accessible as possible to students throughout the state and beyond. On average, students take 15 credits per semester, and students can finish the 30 credit accounting technician certificate in a year. UAS holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Technician Certificate
Tuition: $233/credit in-state; $302/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 30 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (907) 796-6402
Email: arts.sciences@uas.alaska.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Foothill College

Los Altos Hills, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 56%

Founded in 1957, Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, is located on a 122-acre campus. The school's 15,000 students can choose from more than 75 academic programs at the associate-degree level and nearly 70 certificates. Foothill College holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The accounting programs at Foothill prepare graduates for college transfer, to sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, or to enter the workforce. The certificate of achievement in accounting is a comprehensive, 53-credit program which learners can tailor to their specific interest and complete entirely online. Core courses include introduction to advanced accounting, financial statement analysis, auditing, and accounting for the government and nonprofits. Students can also explore topics such as fraud examination, cost accounting, business law, and ethics in accounting through the curriculum's support courses.

With the online certificate in accounting for CPA preparation, students can ready for the CPA exam, as 40 credits are devoted to exam preparation. Students can also add a certificate of proficiency in the areas of bookkeeping, enrolled agent (tax practitioner), tax specialist, or payroll. They may also pursue a career certificate in tax accounting or financial accounting. Prospective students should note that the career certificates are not transferable to a four-year bachelor's program.

Work experience cannot replace any accounting courses for credit, and online learners must receive a grade no lower than a "C" for core and support courses. The school holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Certificate of Achievement
Tuition: $31/credit in-state; $163/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 53 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (650) 949-7483
Email: seyedinsara@foothill.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Georgia Northwestern Technical College

Rome, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rome, Georgia, is a member of the Technical College System of Georgia, and provides technical education and workforce development to support the region. The school delivers student-oriented learning through face-to-face and distance education methods, and gives learners the option of pursuing an associate degree, diploma, or certificate.

The diploma in accounting at GNTC provides students with a well-rounded program that stands among the best online accounting certificate programs. The sequence of 13 courses prepares graduates for entry-level positions in accounting and to excel in a technology-driven workplace. Students develop their academic, technical, and professional knowledge to gain new employment or advance in their current careers.

The 42-43 credit curriculum features to 8-9 credits in basic skills, such as fundamentals of English, mathematics; psychology, professional development, and occupational skills. Students also complete courses in financial accounting, computer literacy, document production, individual tax auditing, and computerized accounting.

Rounding out the fully online accounting certificate are electives in accounting and a specific guided elective. Applicants to GNTC must submit an application and, upon acceptance, arrange a face-to-face interview on campus. All new students -- or returning students who previously attended GNTC more than 12 months earlier -- must attend the school's New Student Orientation. GNTC holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Diploma
Tuition: $89/credit in-state; $178/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: COMPASS, ASSET, or ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (706) 764-3526
Email: swilson@gntc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Stanly Community College

Albemarle, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 36%

Stanly Community College in Albermarle, North Carolina, serves more than 10,000 students annually. The school offers over 30 programs of study in the areas of health, engineering, computers, public service, and business.

The accounting curriculum at SCC prepares graduates to enter the accounting workforce and grow with the profession over time. Accountants work with businesses to assemble, analyze, process, and communicate critical information for its financial operations, business success, and compliance.

Students can choose between the 37-credit accounting diploma or a 17-credit accounting certificate. Both programs are available entirely online, and students can complete all requirements within one year. Learners combine coursework in accounting principles, theories, and practice with those on business and management. In the diploma option, students add coursework on law and economics. Students also explore topics in ethics, and receive an array of soft skills that include communication, and computer, analytical, and critical-thinking skills.

Graduates of the accounting diploma gain comparable skills and knowledge to that of an online forensic accounting certificate. In total, students in the diploma program take 13 courses, while students in the certificate program complete six. Upon program completion, graduates hold the foundational skills to qualify for entry-level accounting positions across a number of fields and settings, from accounting firms to hospitals to small business. SCC holds regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate degrees.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting - Certificate Option
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 17 credits
Program Length: 1 semester

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (704) 991-0335
Email: areeder8468@stanly.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Richmond Community College

Hamlet, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

Based in Hamlet, North Carolina, Richmond Community College offers courses in the daytime, evening, and online to meet the scheduling needs of all students. Over the last decade, the school has invested heavily in online education, and it now offers 75% more online instruction than it did in 2010. Online learners can pursue credentials in such areas as business administration, early childhood, healthcare, software development, and accounting.

The accounting and finance curriculum at RCC includes four programs of study: two degrees and two certificates. The programs at RCC provide students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies to immediately enter the workforce and thrive in the accounting and finance profession.

The accounting specialist certificate requires six courses and 18-19 credits. The first course is a basic introduction to college transfer, while subsequent courses focus on accounting and its use in making business decisions. In financial accounting, students learn to analyze, report, and interpret financial information, while in managerial accounting, students focus on the external and internal analysis of accounting information.

Another option for students looking to earn an online accounting certificate is the certificate in accounting/bookkeeper. This certificate is also 18-19 credits, and coursework is similar to the accounting specialist certificate at RCC; however, it does not focus on managerial accounting. The bookkeeper certificate instead develops computer literacy for accounting and bookkeeping purposes. Neither certificate is comparable to an online certificate in accounting for CPA preparation, but both do introduce students to the fundamentals of accounting.


Program Overview
Program Name: Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (910) 410-1903
Email: madavis@richmondcc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

St Petersburg College

St. Petersburg, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College holds the distinction of being Florida's first two-year college. Today, SPC offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs, along with many workforce certifications. The school's career-focused curriculum prepares graduates to meet the workforce needs of the St. Petersburg area, or to pursue further postsecondary study. SPC also offers more than 20 bachelor's degrees.

Graduates of the 18 credit certificate in accounting technology operations are prepared for entry-level positions as accounting clerks, bookkeepers, or an accounts receivable/payable professionals. Courses include financial accounting, managerial accounting, and accounting using software applications. In the computer applications course, students receive an introduction to the computer as a tool for their daily work, from evaluating documents to creating presentations and conducting research.

After completing nine credits, students must also enroll in a business internship for one to four credits. The purpose of the course is to provide students with practical experience in an actual work setting in order to practice their new skills and knowledge. Students must complete a minimum of 60 on-the-job hours, which is equal to one credit.

Should students wish to continue their studies at SPC, this online accounting certificate articulates into the associate of science in business administration. The online undergraduate certificate in accounting also prepares graduates to sit for industry certification in QuickBooks.

Eight-week sessions at SPC are designed to accommodate the schedules of working adults; in fact, most learners can pursue their degrees or certificates while still working full time. SPC holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Technology Operations Certificate
Tuition: $112/credit in-state; $387/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Phone: (727) 341-7973
Email: przyborowski.marta@spcollege.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Shoreline Community College

Shoreline, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 31%

Shoreline Community College in Shoreline, Washington, serves an estimated 10,000 students each year. The school's transfer-ready degrees prepare graduates for admission to a four-year institution, while SCC's vocational studies programs ready learners to launch their careers. Shoreline offers professional and technical training in more than 20 areas of study.

Degree-seekers in both the AAS in accounting degree and certificate of proficiency at SCC find employment in the public and private accounting sector. Working with local advisory committees and professionals in the industry, Shoreline takes inventory of what skills are currently in demand and designs their curricula accordingly.

The certificate of proficiency requires 55 credits, consisting of 15 credits in general education and 40 credits in core requirements. In the program's accounting core, students gain a comprehensive overview of accounting principles, with three courses assigned to the topic. Online learners also take courses in payroll accounting, computer accounting, and the applications of Word and Excel.

The online accounting certificate curriculum aims to ready students for entry-level positions in accounting and finance. The course in business English, for example, develops a student's ability to communicate well in a business setting, including how to properly format correspondence like email and memos, build resumes, and compose cover letters. As with many accounting certificate programs online and on campus, students must maintain a minimum GPA to advance through the coursework and graduate. For Shoreline, accounting students must earn a minimum 2.0 in all accounting courses.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Certificate of Proficiency
Tuition: $106/credit in-state; $120/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 55 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (206) 546-4665
Email: sccadmis@shoreline.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

Southern New Hampshire University

Manchester, NH Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Located in the southern city of Manchester, Southern New Hampshire University is a private, nonprofit university regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education. SNHU serves more than 3,000 on-campus students and boasts an online enrollment of over 90,000. Founded in 1932, SNHU began as a school of accounting and secretarial science. Today, the rapidly growing university offers over 200 programs. Students can also pursue certification or a doctoral degree at SNHU.

SNHU's certificate in accounting provides graduates with basic accounting skills to succeed in entry-level positions in the field. The online accounting certificate requires students to complete six courses for 18 credits. Required core courses include financial accounting, managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, and federal taxation. Students can round out their program with two electives from remaining available accounting courses.

As one of the best online accounting certificate programs, SNHU provides students with the essential accounting principles and practices. A federal taxation course, for example, explores the background in U.S. tax law and the Internal Revenue Code in order to help individual clients. Students learn to prepare tax returns, as well as how to communicate financial and tax information.

SNHU provides learners with convenience and flexibility of schedule. Terms begin six times a year, and courses run for eight weeks at a time. SNHU also provides ongoing support from dedicated academic and career advisers in the student's area of study.


Program Overview
Program Name: Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $320/credit
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (603) 645-9611
Email: admissions@snhu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Central Carolina Community College

Sanford, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

Highlighting an expansive distance education program, Central Carolina Community College attracts students from around the world. The college features campuses in Harnett, Lee, and Chatham counties and offers a variety of centers to serve those areas. The college offers both certificate and associate programs including an online accounting certificate.

Focusing on a variety of business functions, the program emphasizes learning about the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Throughout the program, students develop their skills in critical thinking and problem solving, build strong communication skills, and adapt to new technologies. All courses in the program feature an online option for students interested in pursuing their certificate remotely.

Since all governments and businesses need professionals with accounting skills, strong emphasis is placed on relating coursework to real-world challenges graduates might encounter. The program also recognizes that accountants often advance to managerial positions, and other key business principles are discussed.

To successfully complete the program, students must finish 38 credits of coursework covering a variety of critical topics including individual income taxes, personal finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, and payroll accounting. Students complete the program within three semesters, typically taking about a year to earn their certificate. The college features affordable tuition rates. In-state students pay $76 per credit while out-of-state students pay $268 per credit.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting and Finance Diploma
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 38 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (919) 718-7272
Email: estai049@cccc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Ogeechee Technical College

Statesboro, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Located in Statesboro, Georgia, Ogeechee Technical College functions as part of the Technical College System of Georgia, and serves Screven, Bulloch, Evans, and surrounding counties. In 1986 the Georgia General Assembly established Ogeechee Technical Institute as a two-year technical, public school.

At Ogeechee, students can pursue a variety of online programs including an online accounting certificate. The accounting program prepares students for a variety of careers in the accounting profession, developing technical, academic, and professional knowledge and skills needed for job retention, acquisition, and advancement. Coursework focuses on combining accounting theory with practical application, using both computerized and manual accounting systems. Once students complete the program, they hold the skills needed for entry-level positions as bookkeepers, business office managers, and accounting technicians.

Graduates can specialize their careers in accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, or inventory management. Professionals can work in a variety of settings including small and large businesses, government agencies, educational institutions, and healthcare providers.


Program Overview
Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
Available Concentrations: Computerized accounting specialist; office accounting specialist; payroll accounting specialist
Tuition: $89/credit in-state; $178/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 60 weeks

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (912) 871-1621
Email: cmills@ogeecheetech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Champlain College

Burlington, VT Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 60%

Boasting an online college with several online certificate and degree programs, Champlain College also offers master's programs. The college features programs in more than 80 subject areas, highlighting a diverse student body with students from 44 different states and 17 countries. Functioning as a nonprofit, private, co-educational undergraduate and graduate college in Burlington, Vermont, Champlain offers a variety of online options for students desiring a more flexible program. Students interested in pursuing entry-level accounting careers can earn their online accounting certificate at Champlain College.

In the online accounting program students complete between 12-24 credits, depending on the type of certificate they pursue. Learners typically complete these programs in less than a year, and enjoy 100% online delivery of course materials. Students can select their preferred area of expertise or discuss their options with their adviser to determine the best fit for their interests and goals. Accounting students can pursue certificate programs at Champlain in accounting, advanced accounting, forensic accounting, or cost accounting. The certificate programs at Champlain prepare students to enter in-demand, high-growth fields with the skills to succeed.

Certificate programs range in credit requirements. With courses designed for adult learners, students can earn their certificate sooner than many other schools offer them. Students can earn their certificates as a stand-alone credential, or as part of their associate or bachelor's program to show proficiency in a specific area. The college does not require any special admissions materials for certificate students, and even highlights a free application.


Program Overview
Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $318/credit
Credit Requirements: 15 credits
Program Length: 1 semester

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact
Phone: (888) 545-3459
Email: champlainonline@champlain.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Central Georgia Technical College

Macon, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Functioning as a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, Central Georgia Technical College provides higher education for an eleven county service area in central Georgia. Boasting accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, CGTC awards associate degrees, and technical certificates. Established in 1962, the school originally focused solely on serving the Macon area, but expanded in 1990 to its current service area. Students can pursue several online opportunities through at CGTC, including a rigorous online accounting certificate designed to prepare them for entry-level careers in the accounting industry.

Students pursuing their accounting certificate through CGTC can specialize their in a number of areas including auditing and assurances specialist, tax preparation specialist, payroll accounting specialist, computerized accounting specialist, and office accounting specialist. Applicants to the programs must hold their GED or high school diploma, and can only apply if they are 16 years of age or older.

Accounting certificate students typically complete their program within 53 weeks. CGTC certificate students enjoy affordable tuition rates with in-state students paying $5,022 for the program, and out-of-state students paying $8,760. Students who pursue the auditing and assurances specialization typically complete the program in 23 weeks, with in-state students paying $2,244 for tuition, and out-of-state students paying $3,846.

Students focusing on computerized accounting typically complete their program in 26 weeks and pay $2,511 for in-state tuition, and $4,380 for out-of-state tuition. Payroll accounting students usually finish within 21 weeks, paying $2,155 for in-state tuition, and $3,668 for out-of-state tuition. Lastly, students following the tax preparation track typically finish their program within 20 weeks, paying $2,066 for in-state tuition, and $3,490 for out-of-state.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Diploma
Available Concentrations: Auditing and assurance specialist; computerized accounting specialist; office accounting specialist; payroll accounting specialist; tax preparation specialist
Tuition: $89/credit in-state; $178/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT, SAT, ASSET, COMPASS, or ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (478) 471-2996
Email: nwaddell@centralgatech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Thomas Edison State University

Trenton, NJ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 45%

Formerly Thomas Edison State College, Thomas Edison State University operates as a public institution for higher education in Trenton, New Jersey. Existing as one of only 11 public universities and colleges in the state, the university offers degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Established in 1972, the university was named after the famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison, and gained university status in 2015. Recognizing the need for flexibility in educational programs, especially for adult learners, the university offers a variety of online program options including one of the best online accounting certificate programs.

An 18-credit program providing students with a solid foundation in the accounting field, the accounting certificate program is offered entirely online and can easily transfer into the accounting degree program at the university. Students must complete a principles of financial accounting course, a principles of managerial accounting course, and two intermediate accounting courses. Additionally, they must complete six credits from their chosen area such as cost accounting, tax accounting/federal income taxation, or advanced accounting.

For non-degree students, at least half of the credits required to earn an undergraduate certificate must be earned at Thomas Edison. Any transferred credits require approval from the dean. Transferred credits can be no more than seven years from the most current date of application to the university.


Program Overview
Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $399/credit in-state; $509/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 2.0 minimum if under age 21
Standardized Tests: ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (609) 984-1130
Email: sbm@tesu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

College of Southern Maryland

La Plata, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 28%

Serving students living in southern Maryland's Calvert, St. Mary's, and Charles counties, the College of Southern Maryland operates as a public community college in La Plata. Offering more than 120 programs of study, the college features more than 60 guaranteed transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities. CSM also offers a variety of career training programs and continuing education certificates, as well as several online program options. Students interested in pursuing entry-level accounting careers can explore the college's accounting certificate programs online.

Students between a basic or advanced certificate in accounting. The basic certificate requires students to complete 18 credits of coursework. Those in this program typically complete their requirements within two semesters, taking around 10 months to finish. Students cover topics including applied business communications, business in a marketing economy, business finance, and automated account systems.

In the advanced accounting certificate program, students must complete 30 credits of coursework, delivered completely online. The advanced program allows students to develop more complex skills than the basic option. Advanced accounting students learn to perform a variety of job functions including bookkeeping, and clerical tasks. Students in this program are encouraged to select electives that coincide with their career goals. Courses in the advanced program can transfer to an associate of business management degree.


Program Overview
Program Name: Certificate of Accounting
Available Concentrations: Basic; advanced
Tuition: $127/credit for students from surrounding counties; $222/credit in-state; $286/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 18-30 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (301) 934-2251
Email: askme@csmd.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

San Francisco, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 56%

Founded in 1901, Golden Gate University functions as a nonprofit, private, non-sectarian university in San Francisco. The university specializes in providing education to professionals through its schools of business, taxation, law, and accounting, and offers undergraduate and graduate programs with a variety of available concentrations. Understanding that many students need to work as they pursue their education, the university offers several online options. Students considering entry-level accounting careers can pursue an online undergraduate certificate in accounting.

A condensed certificate program, the accounting certificate at GGU prepares graduates to earn their CPA, CMA, or enter into a graduate accounting program. Students enjoy the opportunity to pursue a fully online program, a hybrid format, or complete their certificate program on campus. Designed to enhance students' knowledge in the field of accounting, the program expands graduates’ career opportunities and fulfills the accounting requirements for the CPA or CMA examinations.

Additionally, the certificate satisfies the admission requirements for graduate accounting programs at the university. Throughout their coursework, students develop an expansive knowledge of federal and state accounting standards and information systems through practical and theoretical applications.

Costing $660 per unit, the curriculum covers a variety of relevant topics to prepare students for entry-level accounting careers or advanced education. All 18 units must exist as upper-division accounting courses, and students must complete them through GGU with a "C" grade or higher.


Program Overview
Program Name: Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting
Tuition: $660/credit
Credit Requirements: 18 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact
Phone: (415) 442-7800
Email: info@ggu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Seminole State College of Florida

Sanford, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Featuring four campuses, Seminole State College of Florida functions as a public state college. The eighth largest member institution of the Florida College System, the college was established in 1965 as Seminole Junior College by the Florida State Legislature. In 1975 the junior college became Seminole Community College, rapidly increasing enrollment. The college adopted its current name in 2009, when it began offering bachelor's degrees in addition to certificates and online options. Seminole State College of Florida features an online accounting certificate for students interested in pursuing entry level accounting careers after graduation.

Students can choose between three different certification options including accounting applications, accounting operations, and accounting specialist. Students pursuing their accounting applications technical certificate typically plan on seeking employment in the field immediately after program completion. This program benefits individuals employed in the accounting field who want to advance their skills. Students with this certification can pursue employment as accounts payable and receivable clerks, payroll assistants, full charge bookkeepers, and small office accounting assistants. The certificate program is compatible with a variety of associate programs at the college.

The accounting operations technical certificate program prepares students to pursue various entry-level positions, or gain supplemental training. Students must complete 18 credits of coursework covering areas such as business communication, office accounting, and business mathematics.

Students pursuing their accounting specialist technical certificate typically pursue entry-level business and accounting careers and learn to process data entry with accounting software programs. Students in these programs can easily transition to a variety of associate degrees.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Applications Technical Certificate
Available Concentrations: Accounting operations; accounting specialist
Tuition: $104/credit in-state; $382/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 12-27 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (407) 708-2348
Email: mendezm@seminolestate.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Coastal Pines Technical College

Waycross, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Coastal Pines Technical College functions as a community college in Waycross, Georgia. A member of the Technical College System of Georgia, the college serves 13 counties across nearly 7,500 square miles. Coastal Pines features seven instructional sites in the rural towns of Hazelhurst, Brunswick, Jesup, Baxley, Waycross, Kingsland, and Alma. The college also highlights 19 adult education sites and dual enrollment opportunities with 16 high schools. Students enjoy 130 program options including diploma programs, certificate options, and associate degrees. Students at the college enjoy 11 free-tuition programs through the HOPE career grant and access to a variety of scholarships. Many programs are offered online, including an online accounting certificate option.

Students pursuing their office accounting specialist technical certificate develop entry-level office accounting skills, which prepare them to enter the accounting field immediately after program completion. Students must complete 14 credit hours of coursework covering courses such as financial accounting, computerized accounting, and computer literacy. Students can complete their certificate program within two semesters. Students can also pursue their diploma in accounting from Coastal Pines, finishing in three semesters. Additionally, they can transfer into an associate program at the college and earn their degree within six semesters. Students at Coastal Pines enjoy affordable tuition rates, paying $89 per credit.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Diploma
Tuition: $89/credit
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (912) 588-2596
Email: info@coastalpines.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Lenoir Community College

Kinston, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 18%

A public community college in Lenoir County, Lenoir Community College features a main campus in the city of Kinston and satellite institutions in Jones and Greene counties. Boasting accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the college awards associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Students can also pursue a variety of online programs through the college, including an online accounting certificate.

Students pursuing their small business accounting certificate at Lenoir must complete 15 credits of coursework covering topics such as managerial accounting, financial accounting, federal income taxes, payroll accounting, and accounting software. Of their 15 required credits students must satisfy core course requirements, technical core, required subjects, and other major courses.

The certificate program prepares students for entry-level accounting programs. Students typically complete the program between one and two semesters. Applicants to the program do not need to meet extensive or special admissions requirements, but do need to complete an admissions application along with application fee. Online courses are delivered through Moodle. Students can access information about the delivery system on their program's website, and enjoy access to a help desk and troubleshooting support for any issues they may encounter.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting and Finance Diploma
Available Concentrations: Accounting essential certificate; small business accounting certificate
Tuition: $76/credit in-state; $268/credit out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 14-40
Program Length: 1-3 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Contact
Phone: (252) 527-6223
Email: llcox55@lenoircc.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

Albany Technical College

Albany, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Albany Technical College functions as a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia, providing education services for a seven-county service area in southwest Georgia. Established in 1961, the college boasts accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers a variety of programs, including an accounting diploma online.

Students interested in earning an accounting certificate can pursue their accounting diploma, preparing them for various entry-level positions in accounting and business. In their program, students develop technical, academic, and professional knowledge and skills needed for job retention, acquisition, and advancement. Students pursue a variety of careers once they earn their certificate including cost accounting, income tax preparation, governmental accounting, public accounting, auditing, and general accounting.

To complete the program, students must complete 42 credit hours. Typically students take 18 months to finish the program. Coursework covers a variety of topics such as employment law, computerized accounting, payroll accounting, and business regulations and compliance. Students additionally have the option to pursue specialist certificates in office accounting, computerized accounting, and payroll accounting. To apply, students must hold either their high school diploma or GED, and they must complete placement tests.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Technology Diploma
Available Concentrations: Office Accounting; computerized accounting; payroll accounting
Tuition: $1,335/term in-state; $2,670/term out-of-state
Credit Requirements: 42 credits
Program Length: 18 months

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (229) 430-3519
Email: djenkins@albanytech.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Moraine Park Technical College

Fond du Lac, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Boasting more than 100 associate degrees, certificates, and diplomas, Moraine Park Technical College functions as a public technical college, boasting multiple locations throughout Wisconsin. Part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, the college features accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and approval from Wisconsin Technical College System and the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board for Veteran’s Training.

Many programs at the college also hold programmatic accreditation from agencies such as the Department of Safety and Professional Services and the American Culinary Federation. Students requiring more flexibility can pursue online opportunities through the college. Those who hold an interest in pursuing entry-level employment within the accounting industry can enroll in an online accounting certificate program.

The accounting assistant program at Moraine Park prepares students to perform accounting and bookkeeping work on a professional level. Graduates can work in both small businesses and larger corporations. Through their coursework students learn to process financial transactions throughout the accounting cycle. They learn to perform payroll preparation, analysis, and reporting tasks. With this certificate graduates can work as accounts receivable or payable specialists, individual income tax preparers, or payroll specialists.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Assistant
Tuition: $134/credit
Credit Requirements: 35 credits
Program Length: 2 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or ACCUPLACER

Contact
Phone: (800) 472-4554
Email: admissions@morainepark.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Kaskaskia College

Centralia, IL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Located in Centralia, Illinois, Kaskaskia College features a variety of associate and certificate programs that prove ideal for students transitioning to more advanced education down the road. Featuring 50 associate degrees and more than 100 certificates in occupational areas, the college also offers online options for students who require flexibility with their education. The college boasts an online accounting certificate, equipping students with a foundation of financial and managerial accounting principles.

Graduates of the online accounting certificate program leave well-prepared to start entry-level careers in both bookkeeping and accounting, working as accounts payable and receivable clerks, income tax preparers, and payroll clerks or specialists. The curriculum emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience, focusing on purchasing, inventory control, cost accounting, general accounting, tax assisting, accounts receivable, and accounts payable.

Over the course of three semesters, students must complete 32 credits of coursework covering relevant topics such as business mathematics, financial accounting, and tax accounting. The program offers affordable tuition, costing students $6,959 for the entire program. Students who successfully complete their certificate program can explore a variety of related associate programs within Kaskaskia College or elsewhere. Prospective students must hold a high school diploma or GED, and complete an admissions application while paying the application fee.


Program Overview
Program Name: Accounting Certificate
Tuition: $149/credit
Credit Requirements: 32 credits
Program Length: 3 semesters

Delivery
Format: Online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements
Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact
Phone: (618) 545-3240
Email: jpryor@kaskaskia.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Certificate in Accounting Program?

Time to Complete

6 to 12 months

Program Costs

$3,440/year

Core Courses

General business, business administration, finance, management, human resources, economics, statistics, mathematics

Accreditation

There is no formally recognized accreditor for certification programs in this field. Please defer to an individual school’s regional or national accreditation status.

Additional Considerations

A certificate in accounting will not be a sufficient qualification for taking the CPA exam in most states.

Employment Outlook for Certificate in Accounting Graduates

Job Placement: Certificate in Accounting

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the United States employs more than 1.3 million accountants and auditors. The BLS projects that jobs for accountants and auditors will increase by 10% between 2016 and 2026, resulting in more than 139,900 new positions over this 10-year period. As a result, accountants enjoy a strong job outlook and a relatively low unemployment rate of 2.5% nationwide.

The following table uses data from U.S. News & World Report to compare the unemployment rates for accountants and eight other finance-related professions. The table features entries from the Best Business Jobs ranking published by U.S. News in 2016.

Occupation Unemployment Rate (2016)
Financial Analyst 2.1%
Market Research Analyst 3.8%
Management Analyst 3.9%
Accountant 2.5%
Financial Advisor 1.5%
Business Operations Manager 1.7%
Operations Research Analyst 3.3%
Mathematician 1.4%
Statistician 1.4%

Source: U.S. News & World Report

The unemployment rate for accountants is also much lower than the national unemployment rate for all occupations, which currently sits at 3.7%.

Sample Online Certificate in Accounting Courses

The selection of courses shown below exemplifies material generally covered in undergraduate accounting certificate programs. You can expect variations in course titles, requirements, and focus areas, depending on the goals of the program and the school selected. All reputable programs provide a strong basic foundation in principles of financial, managerial, and tax accounting.

  • Financial Accounting: This course provides an introduction to basic concepts and procedures of the accounting cycle, preparation of financial statements, and evaluation of financial information from a user viewpoint. Topics covered include generally accepted accounting principles, analysis of financial statements, valuation, and forecasting. Using case studies, students examine financial reports and information for business decision-making.
  • Federal Taxation: This course surveys basic provisions and applications of federal tax law and principles of federal taxation for individuals, partnerships, and corporations. Topics covered include an overview of common IRS forms, preparation of tax returns, and an introduction to conducting tax research with emphasis placed on compliance, reporting, and tax planning.
  • Managerial Accounting: This course presents methods of using managerial accounting principles to understand internal business operations, improve operational and strategic decision-making, and accurately evaluate performance. Topics covered include cost accumulation, planning and control systems design, cost behavior, and terminology of costing. Students analyze real-world case studies to develop insight into modern performance management techniques.
  • Accounting Information Systems: This course provides an introduction to implementation of information technology for collecting, organizing, and presenting accounting information. Topics covered include transaction flowcharts, revenue and expenditure cycles, internal controls, and an overview of IT terminology and relational databases. Students examine several accounting software applications, with emphasis on enterprise resource planning.
  • Cost Accounting: This course covers basic concepts of costing, including product costs, variable and direct costing, and process cost systems. Using case studies, students apply cost accounting techniques to real-world business situations and conduct an operating decision analysis. Topics covered include flexible budgeting, cost behavior and allocation, activity-based costing, cost-volume-profit analysis, and variance analysis.

How Long Does It Take to Get an Online Certificate in Accounting?

Most students completing accounting classes online take nine months to two years to complete a certificate. A few schools offer intensive programs as short as a single semester. As a general guideline, most programs range from 12-30 credits and require candidates to complete 4-10 courses. If you plan to take online accounting courses for CPA credit, you must accumulate a total of 150 credits to sit for the exam.

Course delivery times and formats also affect the length of time required to complete your studies. The asynchronous, individually paced format provides maximum flexibility for online learners. Cohort learning proceeds at a predetermined pace, with a selected cohort of students completing requirements as a group. Some programs offer only evening and weekend courses to accommodate the schedules of professionals working full time. Students who transfer credits or receive credit for exams can shorten their certificate completion times.

Skills and Competencies Gained in an Online Certificate in Accounting Program

While the specific focus may vary according to the school and program you select, you can expect reputable programs in accounting to provide a strong foundation of competencies in business communication, financial accounting principles, and accounting software applications. The selection below offers a sampling of skill areas covered by typical certificate programs.

  • Bookkeeping: Bookkeeping topics include debits and credits, payroll accounting tasks such as calculating benefits and tax withholding, and spreadsheet maintenance. Some bookkeeping certificate online programs provide training in QuickBooks online, Xero, or FreshBooks.
  • Financial Accounting: Financial accounting skills include recording, summarizing, and reporting financial transactions of business operations. Students learn how to prepare financial statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and income statements.
  • Accounting Information Systems: Online accounting certificates also build skills in accounting information systems such as QuickBooks and NetSuite. Students develop competencies in data storage, recall, and output of financial information to support business decision-making and enterprise resource planning.
  • Business Communication: Accounting coursework teaches critically important business communication skills such as effective writing, teamwork, presentation skills, active listening, understanding of group dynamics, and interpersonal communication. Success in accounting requires accuracy, clarity, and persuasiveness.
  • Auditing: Auditing coursework teaches students how to inspect detailed financial records for accuracy and compliance with specific criteria such as generally accepted accounting principles and proper internal controls.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete an online certificate in accounting program will be prepared to enter the workforce, or move on to a bachelor's degree program if they plan to become CPAs. Below we've outlined the accounting and auditing profession, along with three other popular career pathways in accounting and finance.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants evaluate financial records to ensure their client or company is compliant with tax laws and regulations, while auditors are specialized accountants trained to find errors, discrepancies and other red flags in financial records. These professionals typically work long hours; according to the BLS, a quarter of all accountants and auditors work more than 40 hours per week.

Median Annual Salary: $67,190
Projected Growth: 11%

Management Analysts

Management analysts work with companies and organizations to boost productivity, increase profits and maintain an efficient structure. First they research the company's financial history, and will often interview or survey employees to get a better understanding of how they work. Once the research is complete, analysts will deliver their findings to top executives.

Median Annual Salary: $83,120
Projected Growth: 14%

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

These professionals inspect, evaluate and calculate the value of houses, offices, rental units, public buildings and other types of property. Their findings influence how properties are bought, sold, mortgaged, taxed and insured. Appraisers and assessors who oversee federal transactions must become certified or licensed to practice in most states.

Median Annual Salary: $51,860
Projected Growth: 8%

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts specialize in evaluating and managing organizations with large budgets and sizable financial wealth. They write and review budget proposals, and then work with organizational personnel to ensure these proposals are carried out efficiently. The BLS estimates that 40% of budget analysts are employed by local, state and federal government agencies.

Median Annual Salary: $71,590
Projected Growth: 3%

Professional Organizations

Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to accounting is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for professional accountants. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • The American Accounting Association: Celebrating 100 years in 2016, the AAA is an international organization representing more than 7,000 members in dozens of countries. The association's website features a robust career center with a rotating pool of roughly 200 job openings from across the country, along with a peer-reviewed journal and links to professional development courses.
  • National Society of Accountants: The NSA strives to provide advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and ethical oversight for professional accountants throughout the nation. Members receive access to a range of accounting- and tax-related resources, along with discounts on webinar courses, conference entry fees, and other services.
  • American Institute of CPAs: Considered the world's largest professional organization for accounting professionals, the AICPA represents more than 400,000 members in 144 countries. The institute's website features study guides, practice exams, and other resources for bachelor's graduates who have yet to take their CPA exam, as well as a career center for certified job candidates.

Accreditation for Online Certificate in Accounting

Accreditation for higher learning institutions serves as an indication of legitimacy, high quality, and commitment to continuous improvement. In order to receive accreditation, schools must undergo evaluations and assessments from authoritative bodies. Regional accrediting agencies, such as the Higher Learning Commission and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, evaluate adherence to state and regional standards. National accrediting agencies typically focus on schools offering religious, technical, for-profit, and vocational education. Regional accreditation holds more prestige than national accreditation.

Both types of accrediting agencies operate under the purview of two organizations: the U.S. Department of Education (ED), a government body providing approval for accreditation agencies, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), an authoritative non-governmental organization that advocates for academic self-regulation through accreditation.

To verify the status and quality of accounting programs, look for programmatic accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, or the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.

Since accreditation status may affect your ability to obtain federal financial aid, transfer previous coursework, or secure employment, take time to verify accreditation for all schools of interest before you decide to enroll. While many schools offer online accounting courses, accredited schools and programs offer assurance that your education meets rigorous and well-regarded academic and professional standards. You can find a list of all accredited schools on the ED website or CHEA database.

Earning a Living

In addition to a favorable job outlook and low unemployment rate, accountants and auditors also enjoy relatively high earning potential. The BLS notes that the median annual salary for these professionals is $69,350 — roughly 84% higher than the median earnings of $37,690 for all occupations nationwide.

However, the earning potential for students with an online certificate in accounting varies by specific job title. Other potential factors influencing salary include employer size, certification level, experience, and city/state of employment. The next table looks at salary projections for five of the most common occupations for accounting certification recipients.

Job Title Overall Median Salary Median Salary for Entry-Level Median Salary for Mid-Career Median Salary for Late-Career
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) $56,000 $70,000 $81,000 $93,000
Staff Accountant $46,000 $50,000 $50,000 $51,000
Junior Accountant $40,000 $46,000 $45,000 $48,000
Accounting Manager $57,000 $71,000 $71,000 $67,000

Of the four careers listed, CPAs report the highest career salary growth: an increase of roughly 66% between the entry-level and late-career stages. Accounting managers ranked second with 17.5% growth, followed by junior accountants with 20% growth.

Career Opportunities

Students who complete an online certificate in accounting program can immediately enter the workforce or move on to a bachelor’s degree program if they plan to become CPAs. Below, we’ve outlined jobs in accounting and auditing, along with three other popular career pathways in accounting and finance.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants evaluate financial records to ensure their clients' compliance with tax laws and regulations, while auditors find errors, discrepancies, and other red flags in financial records. These professionals typically work long hours; according to the BLS, a quarter of all accountants and auditors work more than 40 hours per week.

Median Annual Salary: $69,350

Projected Growth: 10%

Management Analysts

Management analysts work with companies and organizations to boost productivity, increase profits, and maintain an efficient structure. First, they research the company’s financial history and often interview or survey employees to get a better understanding of how they work. After the research stage, analysts deliver their findings to top executives.

Median Annual Salary: $82,450

Projected Growth: 14%

Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

These professionals inspect, evaluate, and calculate the value of houses, offices, rental units, public buildings, and other types of property. Their findings influence how properties are bought, sold, mortgaged, taxed, and insured. Appraisers and assessors who oversee federal transactions must become certified or licensed to practice in most states.

Median Annual Salary: $54,010

Projected Growth: 14%

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts specialize in evaluating and managing organizations with large budgets and sizable financial wealth. They write and review budget proposals and then work with organizational personnel to ensure efficient execution of these proposals. The BLS estimates that local, state, and federal government agencies employ 40% of budget analysts.

Median Annual Salary: $75,240

Projected Growth: 7%

Professional Organizations

Networking and continuing education resources provide opportunities for career growth and development. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below, you’ll find three of the country’s most prominent organizations established for professional accountants. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates. Resources like these often prove invaluable as you complete your degree requirements and prepare to enter the job market.

  • The American Accounting Association: Celebrating 100 years in 2016, the AAA represents more than 7,000 members in dozens of countries. The association’s website features a robust career center with a rotating pool of roughly 200 job openings from across the country, along with a peer-reviewed journal and links to professional development courses.
  • National Society of Accountants: The NSA strives to provide advocacy, continuing education opportunities, and ethical oversight for professional accountants throughout the nation. Members receive access to a range of accounting- and tax-related resources, along with discounts on webinar courses, conference entry fees, and other services.
  • American Institute of CPAs: Considered the world’s largest professional organization for accounting professionals, the AICPA represents more than 400,000 members in 144 countries. The institute’s website features study guides, practice exams, and other resources for bachelor’s graduates who have yet to take their CPA exam, as well as a career center for certified job candidates.

Financing Your Online Certificate in Accounting Program

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.

AN OVERVIEW OF FINANCIAL AID

Approximately two-thirds of today’s college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.p>

UNDERSTANDING THE FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.

FINANCIAL AID FOR ONLINE COLLEGE STUDENTS

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR WOMEN

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

SCHOLARSHIPS FOR SINGLE PARENTS

Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.

FINANCIAL AID FOR VETERANS AND ACTIVE MILITARY

Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.