Professional Certificate in Accounting

Find out about accounting certificates and the courses typically available in them. Get information about the length of these programs along with certification examinations for professional accountants. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Accounting Professional Certificate Program?

A professional certificate program in accounting may cover how to prepare tax returns, track spending, conduct audits and create financial reports. These programs are typically post-baccalaureate level and designed for individuals with experience working with finances or in accounting; however, some programs may admit individuals interested in beginning a career in the field. Most programs require that you have a bachelor's degree and have completed basic accounting coursework prior to admission.

Certificate Level Post-baccalaureate
Key Topics Discussed Forensic accounting, auditing, business statistics, statement analysis, cost accounting
Certification Requirement Voluntary, but Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation may increase career prospects

What Would I Study?

These certificate programs prepare you to track budgets and transactions, maintain financial records, complete tax returns or work with investments. They usually consist of coursework in topics such as financial and managerial accounting, business and individual tax returns, forensic accounting, auditing, financial statement analysis, business statistics, organizational dynamics and cost accounting. Most also include an ethics course, and some may even offer internship opportunities.

Program length ranges from one year to 20 months. The majority of curricula includes a core program of courses, but also allow you to complete several electives. Courses may be available in the daytime, evenings, weekends or online.

Do These Programs Lead to Certification?

CPA certification is not required to work as an accountant, but it may increase your job opportunities. Most states require that you have a bachelor's degree and a certain number of hours of work experience to earn the certification; also, you must have taken and passed the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and work in the field. Therefore, a professional certificate program alone will likely not prepare you to sit for the certification exam. However, most programs boast that, if you have a bachelor's degree, they make you eligible for the exam. The CPA exam consists of four parts, which usually must be completed within an 18-month period.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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