Accounting professionals play some of the most vital roles in the world of business and beyond. They are often tasked to record financial transactions that are integral to a company’s economic activities. They also go through financial information that requires them to categorize, analyze, classify, audit, and summarize provided data, which they, in turn, submit to the management, investors, or creditors.
While pursuing a career in accounting often requires a four-year bachelor’s degree, it is also possible for individuals to get an entry-level position by completing an accounting certification program. The starting positions often involve clerking and bookkeeping. Accounting certificate programs are useful for experienced accounting professionals, too. Getting a certificate allows them to meet certain requirements, enhancing their skills and credentials in the process.
The accounting certification may vary. One type is for undergraduate students who wish to qualify for entry-level positions in the accounting field. This usually covers the basics of accounting, providing a way to boost their skills and enhance their knowledge in Finance. Another type of accounting certificate concerns post-baccalaureate graduates. This certificate program provides career-focused courses for those who eye specific positions within a particular industry. A graduate of liberal arts, for example, can take a job as a bookkeeper by taking an accounting certificate.
There are also cases where a certificate program in accounting becomes a stepping stone for preparing for their CPA examinations.
Most accounting certificate programs tackle basic accounting courses such as a broad overview of the accounting principles and foundational skills such as financial record-keeping, payroll administration, and tax preparation.
Where should you earn an Accounting Certificate Program? The quality of an Accounting Certificate Program depends on the institution that offers it, ranging from prestigious universities and community colleges to technical schools. Most brick-and-mortar universities give face-to-face accounting certifications. However, those who wish to enjoy flexibility and convenience can consider getting their accounting certificates online. There are educational institutions that offer certification programs in accounting 100% online.
Online education means one does not need to attend traditional classes and go through the coursework at their own pace. This means that working professionals can juggle their classes with their workloads. That being said, we have listed down ten accounting certificate programs that are available online.
Here at OnlineSchoolsCenter.com, it’s all about helping you make sound decisions when it comes to your education! We did some research-intensive work to put together some our best picks for online Accounting Certificate programs. In making our selection of the top online Accounting certifications, we kept these top considerations in mind:
- 100% online or hybrid learning format, depending on the scope of the program,
- Provides in detail generalized or specialized accounting topics to prepare students for the next steps in their educational goal of pursuing an undergraduate degree, or expanding students’ professional Accounting acumen for career advancement,
- Emphasizes the development of relevant career skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication,
- May allow for Accounting Certificate course credits to be applied to other related programs,
- Fully recognized by academic institutions and relevant industry organizations,
- May offer financial assistance to qualified Accounting Certificate students.
See our Methodology page for more information about our selection process.
Navigate our 10 Best Online Accounting Certificate Programs with ease! Use these quick links:
- University of California – Berkeley Extension
- University of California Davis
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Cornell University
- Northwestern University
- Foothill College
- University of Massachusetts – Lowell
- Northeastern University
- University of Virginia
- Pennsylvania State University World Campus
Tuition Fee: $9,400 estimated cost
The University of California – Berkeley Extension offers a part-time online certificate program in accounting, with an approved curriculum from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Would-be CPAs often use the program to keep up to date with accounting principles, reporting practices, and regulatory requirements. It is integral in helping accounting undergraduates advance their skills and expertise and become more competitive in their accounting positions in the process.
The coursework might be rigorous, but they are applicable. It must be noted that a bachelor’s degree is recommended before taking the certificate. Composed of 6 required courses and six electives that amount to 24-semester units, the program can be completed in two to five years. One must maintain an overall minimum grade point average of 2.5 e the certificate.
Some of the required courses for this certificate program include financial accounting, managerial accounting, intermediate accounting, accounting ethics, and advanced accounting. The electives can be any of the following: Principles of Business Law, Presenting Qualitative Data Effectively, Taxation for Corporations, and Other Flow-Through Entities.
Types of Aid: Private Educational Loans, Loan Deferment, Veterans’ Benefits, Discounts for UC Alumni, AmeriCorps (National Service Trust), and Scholarships.
- Baccalaureate Degree
- Online registration
- Non-refundable registration fee
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
Tuition Fee: $2,992-$3520 Per Credit
Kickstart your career in Accounting with any of the two certificate programs offered by the University of California – Davis. The programs showcase comprehensive training options that will help both fresh graduates and working professionals advance their careers in the field.
The certificate program options include Accounting Principles Certificate and Accounting Specialist Certificate. The university’s Graduate School approves both programs. Students can be assured of quality education because the programs are also taught by professionals in the industry, providing the learning they can easily apply to their jobs. For the Accounting Principles Certificate, one will be able to build their foundational skills in accounting. This involves preparing, interpreting, and presenting financial statements, applying methods to analyze and interpret data, developing, managing, and expanding business through accounting principles. The second certificate, Accounting Specialist, is geared towards working professionals who wish to brush up on their skills and prepare for a senior-level position.
As programs designed for working professionals, both certificates are available 100% online. It can be completed within 12 to 15 months.
Types of Aid: Student Loans, Job Training Funds, Veterans Education Benefits, Tax Credits for Educational Expenses, AmeriCorps Education Awards
- Complete certificate registration form
- Pay the registration fee
- WASC Senior College and University Commission
Tuition Fee: $320 Per Credit
From Southern New Hampshire University comes another online accounting certificate program that can help develop key skills and knowledge in the accounting industry. It is suitable for those who want to achieve an entry-level position in the accounting field or update their career change skills or promotion skills. The program can be a good supplement to an existing bachelor’s degree, providing one with additional training to provide professionals a competitive edge in the workplace.
In this certificate program, one will learn how to interpret and use financial statements. They will also be able to apply Finance, Management, and Accounting principles in practical matters. The certification gives one an option to customize their program by choosing among six electives. Completing the program will help graduates gain a solid foundation in accounting principles and practices, which they can use in real-life work. Some of the roles that this certification can be very useful include bookkeeping, financial reporting, and account payable and receivable administration.
The certification at SNHU is flexible and fully available online. There are no set class meetings. One is free to take the courses at their own pace, with 24/7 access to course materials. It is also more affordable than most programs from other institutions.
Types of Aid: Student Loans, Grants and Scholarships, Federal Work-Study
- Complete application form online
- New England Commission of Higher Education
- Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs
Tuition Fee: $3600 or $950 per month
Cornell University offers a certificate program in accounting that is fully available online. It is a good start for those who want to establish an in-depth understanding of foundational accounting principles. In this program, they will learn how to apply these principles in practice, allowing them to gain a competitive edge in their place of work.
The certification teaches students to construct and interpret accounts of revenue, inventory assets, long-term debt, and many more. They will also learn how to examine the rules of financial statements. Students are expected to develop a strategic decision-making process using relevant financial data relevant to their industry. Some of the program courses include Foundations of Financial Statements, Accruals and Cash Flows, Sales Accounting and Investments, Capital and Financial Forecasting.
The program’s duration takes two months at 5-7 hours every week. It is instructor-led and fully online, with a class size of fewer than 35 students. The certification is most suitable for those who want to enter the field of accounting or auditing. It is also an excellent way for managers in financial forecasting and investments to reinforce their knowledge and skills. Pre-MBA students can also use this certificate as a means to gain an accounting background.
Types of Aid: Grants, Student Loans, Work-Study, Scholarships
- Completed Application Form*
*There is no formal admission process for certificate program enrollment.
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – International
Tuition Fee: $2,054 Per Unit
Ideal for students with no Accounting background, Northwestern University’s Fundamentals of Accounting Certificate aims to help working professionals gain a solid foundation in the field. This includes learning about accounting principles and practices such as cost accounting, taxation, and financial reporting, among many others.
The program is composed of both the introductory and immediate accounting courses that could be of great help to small business owners, entry-level financial accountants, and individuals who wish to learn the ins and outs of accounting information to help them with business decisions. Students can customize the certificate program according to their needs by picking out one of the required courses. Most of the students who earn this certificate are post-baccalaureate graduates. At the end of the program, they are expected to understand the financial accounting process, managerial accounting process, financial information reports, and taxation, focusing on Federal individual income taxation.
Since the certificate program is fully available online, one can enjoy a more flexible schedule.
Types of Aid: Federal Aid, Student Loans, Scholarships, Grants
- Complete online application
- Official transcript from an accredited institution
- Select intended certificate
- Statement of purpose
- Current resume or CV
- Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
Tuition Fee: $224 Per Unit
Another certificate in accounting that can be fully completed online is the one offered by Foothill College. The program covers all aspects of accounting, including audit and tax preparation.
There are three types of certificates for this course. One is a Certificate of Achievement, which is often used by those who want to prepare for the CPA exam. There is also the Certificate of Proficiency, which helps those who want to specialize in bookkeeping, tax, and payroll preparation. Those who want to advance their careers may consider taking the Career Certificate, which focuses more on practical knowledge and skill development. It mainly tackles tax accounting and financial accounting.
Those who want to find a job, get a promotion, or improve their income should consider earning any of those certificate programs. They can even juggle their career and further learning because the programs can be completed fully online.
Types of Aid: Federal Aid, Loans, Grants, Scholarships, Veterans Benefits, Disbursement
- Accomplish online application form
- Determine assessment requirements
- Complete online orientation
- Create an education plan
- Register for classes
- Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Tuition Fee: $385 Per Credit
Offering one of the most affordable tuition costs in the country, the University of Massachusetts Lowell has an Accounting Certificate program that runs for as short as 12 months and fully available online.
The program is suitable for undergraduates of a non-related discipline who are exploring other entry-level jobs in the field of accounting. Students who enrolled in the program are required to complete all courses, both required and electives, while maintaining a 2.0 GPA. The program can be completed within five years, and students are free to go through it at their own pace. Some of the program courses include Intermediate Accounting, Accounting Information Systems, Cost Accounting, Auditing, and Federal Income Taxes.
The courses in this program are eligible for use as prerequisite requirements for the university’s bachelor’s degree in accounting, should students wish to push through with a four-year degree.
Types of Aid: Federal Aid, Student Loans, Scholarships, Grants
- Baccalaureate degree from a US higher education institution in a field other than accounting
- Prerequisites of financial accounting and managerial accounting
- Complete online application form
- New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB)
Tuition Fee: $541 Per Credit
Individuals who want to improve their accounting skills or seek entry-level positions in the said field might want to consider earning a certificate program in accounting from Northeastern University. Like their traditional courses and programs, this online offering employs the university’s signature experience-powered learning model, which combines excellence in academics with professional practice, ensuring students can apply what they learn in the workplace.
The courses are taught by industry-aligned faculty whose experience and expertise help students achieve their goals. Some of the program’s required courses include Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Financial Reporting, Analysis, and Introduction to Corporate Finance. Since the program is fully online, one can take it at their own pace, making it possible for working professionals to balance their career goals in continuing their education.
Types of Aid: Scholarships, Employer Reimbursement, Loans, and Grants, Military benefits
- Accomplished online application form
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges
Tuition Fee: $14,640 Estimated Cost
The University of Virginia has an online Accounting Certificate program designed for those who want to learn more about the accounting professions and professionals who seek career advancement and improve their income. The program only requires one to have a high school diploma. However, students who want to use the program as part of their preparation for the CPA examination must present their undergraduate degree transcript.
The program is composed of 340 undergraduate credits with ten courses. On average, students complete the program within 20 months. The method of learning is online, which offers greater flexibility and convenience to working professionals. Some of the certificate program courses include Introductory Accounting, Intermediate Accounting, Cost Accounting, Introductory Auditing, and many more. They also have several electives to choose from, including Federal Taxation, Advanced Auditing, and Fraud Examination, among many others.
Types of Aid: The program is not eligible for financial aid.
- High school diploma or GED
- Undergraduate degree for those who want to sit on the CPA exam
- Complete application form
- $70 application fee
- Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Tuition Fee: $951 Per Credit
Professionals who wish to gain a broader understanding of accounting principles and certificates can consider earning a certificate program in accounting offered by the Pennsylvania State University. It is specially designed for those who have little to no Accounting background, giving them a solid foundation to seek entry-level jobs in the said field.
Delivered through the Penn State World Campus and in partnership with Penn State Smeal College of Business, this certificate program is a perfect introduction to accounting areas like managerial accounting, financial accounting, auditing, and taxation, among many others. It is designed to allow its graduates to gain marketable skills to give them a competitive edge in their existing career. They can also use it to fulfill a master’s degree requirement. Some of the program courses covered include business transactions recording, U.S. federal taxation foundations, auditing financial statements, and internal accounting information assembly.
Types of Aid: Private Loans, Installment Plans, Third-Party Payments, Employer Reimbursement, and Tuition Deferment Plan
- Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Combined grade point average of 3.0 (minimum)
- Application form with a non-refundable application fee
- Resume or CV
- Statement of Purpose
- Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
- Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Why should I earn an online certificate in Accounting?
Learning does not end once one leaves the university gates. If one wants to advance their career and improve their income prospects, they need to constantly invest in their knowledge and skills to keep them ahead of their competition. An online certificate in accounting could be a great help to those who want to keep up to date with the modern skill sets valued by most employers. While one pursues their chosen career, it can be hard to take time off and return to school to brush up on their skills.
Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier to learn while juggling work and personal responsibilities with further education. Earning one’s accounting certificate online is convenient and flexible. One does not have to attend face-to-face classes. Instead, they can often go through the coursework at their own pace, often enrolling in a course or two per semester. Most important of all, an online accounting certificate is as good as a conventional one. It can equip one just as effectively with the needed skills and training to apply in their workplace, helping them stand out in the process.
How do I determine the right accounting certificate for my goals?
Most accounting certificates provide a baseline education for those who look for entry-level positions in the accounting field. But how can one choose the right accounting certificate for their needs? One should know their goals first.
If one wants to focus on auditing and becoming a specialist, it is only sensible to get an auditing and assurance specialist certificate. This program often covers coursework such as individual accounting, auditing principles, and business tax accounting. They may also be able to encounter business law, payroll accounting, and many more. If one wants a more general program, then an undergraduate certificate in accounting is ideal. Most schools offer this kind of accounting certificate program where the courses tackled are concentrated on foundational accounting topics like financial accounting and taxation.
The key here is to choose a more specialized accounting certificate if one wants to acquire specialized knowledge and skills in specific areas. If they want to grasp accounting principles and practices better, then a general accounting certificate will do.
What work opportunities are there in the field of Accounting?
Accounting is one of the most in-demand professions out there. Those who earned a certificate in accounting can find a wealth of opportunities in business fields and other industries. They can be qualified for entry-level positions like bookkeeping, accounting assistance, and auditing clerks. Other jobs that they can explore include accounts payable administrator, accounting technician, and financial reporting clerk. According to BLS, the median pay for bookkeepers is around $41,230 per year. Additional accounting skills on top of one’s work experience can be valuable to employers, ushering in more career growth opportunities and bigger compensations.
Those who took a more advanced accounting certificate can secure positions at the executive level. They can proceed to a graduate degree or take the CPA examination (for those who need a certificate as part of their requirements). Certified Public Accountants make more than ordinary accountants, so it is something that one might want to consider in terms of career advancement.