Online Accounting Certifications

An online accounting certification can offer the preparation you’ll need to compete in today’s job market.

accounting certificationsWhat are Online Accounting Certifications?

Improve your understanding of accounting principles and practices with an online accounting certification. If a certificate in accounting is your first step on the road to a degree or an effort to climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, an online accounting certificate can offer the preparation you’ll need to compete in today’s job market.

An online accounting certificate program introduces you to the principals of accounting while a certification teaches you the essentials of an area of accounting. It provides an introduction to the budgetary processes and acquaints you with a solid beginning into the world of fiscal management. You will learn the basic skills necessary to compile, analyze, and prepare critical financial information for a range of business initiatives. You will develop basic knowledge and understanding of accounting and its need in a vast scope of professions and industries. An online certificate in accounting can increase your ability for job advancements by being up-to-date with the most recent changes in accounting law and will have the most current insight into today’s ethical accounting standards.

Who is an Online Accounting Certificate for?

This program is for people who are interested in gaining an understanding of current accounting principles and practices. Many who enroll in a certificate program may already have a degree in another major. Many people who are already in accounting vocation will choose to complete a certificate program to meet continuing education requirements.

Entry level accounting positions such as bookkeeper and accounting assistant earn certification primarily to promote to a mid- or-senior level accounting position, along with small business owners who wear many hats and need to understand accounting if they don’t or can’t hire an accountant. This certificate is great for anyone who desires a basic understanding of accounting best practices. It will only help you to improve your bottom-line, whether it be for your personal finance or if you are a CEO of a major company.

Certification vs. Degree

There are so many degrees, certificates, certifications and single courses available it can be difficult to know what the right program to choose is. Many people decide to complete a certificate program to learn a career-specific skill. Many students will choose a certificate program because they wish to enter the vocation of their liking as soon as possible and often a certificate can help to meet hiring requirements for entry level positions. A student might choose to pursue a degree program for a more in-depth education with the opportunity to specialize in a particular field. Often a student who has graduated with a bachelor’s degree in a different field will go back to school and complete a certificate program to acquire the necessary knowledge to advance or make a career change.

Both certificate and degree programs are intended to educate you on a particular subject. The main differences between a certificate and a degree program are that a certificate tends to take less time to complete, cost significantly less and courses will only relate to subject matter.

Certification vs. Degree Length

Most certificate programs take less time to complete than a degree program. The main reason for this is that you do not have general education requirements as you would with a degree program. Certificate programs are comprised of one particular subject area. The average length for a certificate is nine months to one year. The average associate’s degree is two years, and a bachelor’s degree is four years. What if you have completed a bachelor’s degree or already have your master’s degree? Good news. To enter into a graduate certificates program you’ll just need a bachelor’s degree, and you can pursue some graduate certificates to increase your marketability.

Certificate vs. Degree Cost

Most certificate programs consist of 30 credits in a particular subject area; associate’s programs are 60 credits, and a bachelor’s degree is 120. Usually, students will pay per credit hour, making certificate programs one of the most cost-effective educational paths. Depending on the school and program you might be able to transfer some of your certificate credits into a degree program. If you plan to continue with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program check with the admissions office or registrar to see if your certificate credits are transferable.

Certificate vs. Degree Marketability

Many students who already possess a bachelor’s degree or are wanting to change careers will choose to pursue a certificate program. Certificate programs are designed to a particular subject knowledge and will focus on learning a particular skill. Some professions only require a certificate for employment. For example, many medical assistants, accounting clerks and paralegals have certificates in that particular field.

Degree programs will provide a more diverse education; these will help to prepare you for numerous industries as opposed to one specific position. Often jobs will require continuing education credits. Many people in regulated fields like teachers, accountants and health care professionals will pursue a certificate program to maintain and meet licenses or certifications requirements.

Salary and Job Descriptions

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the typical American family income was $53,657 in 2014.

Here are a few entry level accounting position that often only require a certificate:

  • Accounts receivable clerk: Ensures the company receives payment for goods and services, and that transaction are recorded accurately. Clerks can carry out a variety of accounting and bookkeeping duties. Clerks often work with synonymously with attorneys, staff, vendors and clients.
  • Accounts payable clerk: Compiles money owed by the organization to suppliers and vendors. They often collect and maintain charge slips, receipts and purchase orders to prepare and track payments.
  • Bookkeeper: As a bookkeeper, your main responsibility is to maintain checks and balances. You’re often responsible for paying the bills, handling all money and tracking accounts using accounting software. You may be able to fill out tax forms and will often work closely with a CPA to answer any questions about the accuracy of the reports.

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