What Training Is Needed to Become a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers help businesses keep track of their financial transactions, so they need strong skills in math and financial accounting. Read this article to learn more about the education requirements for becoming a bookkeeper. Schools offering Bookkeeping degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), if you intend to pursue a career as a bookkeeper, you're required to hold at least a high school diploma. Many employers, however, may also prefer that you complete some postsecondary coursework or hold an associate degree in business or accounting. Although it isn't necessary, some bookkeepers earn bachelor's degrees to increase their chances of employment and promotion.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014)$36,430 (for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)-8% (for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks)
Similar OccupationsAccountants and auditors, budget analysts, financial clerks
Work EnvironmentOffice

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

On-the-Job Training

Because education requirements aren't extensive, many employers will provide you with on-the-job training. This training could entail acquainting you with computer software or giving you additional responsibilities that are company-specific. For example, along with typical accounting duties, some companies might want you to handle their payroll or track overdue accounts.


The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) offers both members and nonmembers the ability to become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB) by passing a certification exam. When you hold this optional certification, you prove your bookkeeping knowledge and professional status to potential employers. To receive the CB designation, you must have at least two years of full time work experience, or the equivalent in part-time or freelance bookkeeping work (www.aipb.org). You must also sign AIPB's Code of Ethics; as a bookkeeper, you will likely be privy to proprietary information concerning a company's finances.

Certification Testing

AIPB's certification test consists of four parts that includes topics such as financial record adjustments, error correction, payroll procedures, inventory controls and more. Depending on the section, you'll need to score 70% to 75% to pass, although if you're unable to attain the required score, you can retest at another time.

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