If I Begin As an Accounting Certificate Candidate, Can I Apply the Courses Taken To a Degree Program?

accounting2Accounting careers continue to grow in demand as more and more financial requirements are placed on individuals, government agencies, corporations, and businesses. Getting a certificate in accounting is an excellent start for beginning a career in this field. In some cases, accounting certificates are also a start to continuing education.

Types of Certificates

There are several types of certificates that can be pursued. Post-baccalaureate certificates can be earned by students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another area, such as liberal arts or the humanities, and these certificates are offered through public and private universities. Other certificates can be earned prior to completion of any level of post-secondary degree. To earn these certificates, students have several options of institution, including technical schools, community colleges, and some universities.

Accounting Certificate Curriculum and Specializations

A general certification in accounting typically requires 24 to 30 semester credits to complete. Although courses vary based on program and school, courses often include accounting, advanced accounting, cost accounting, auditing, financial statements, corporate taxation, income tax, flow-through organization accounting, and accounting ethics.

The field of accounting is diverse, and certificates offer opportunities in specializing in one area as well as in general accounting. Specialized courses will also vary based on the program, but additional courses that students might complete include payroll, revenues and expenses, federal employment reporting, employment records, depreciation, inventory, and fraud depreciation. Other specialized certificates could offer courses in investments and financial planning.

Additional Certifications

Education programs for accounting certificates can open up opportunities for candidates to enter the workforce, but these programs also prepare graduates with the knowledge needed in order to pass examinations for professional certifications.

In many accounting positions, professional certifications will be required. Some of the common certifications include Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), Enrolled Agent (EA), and Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many of these professional certifications also require for candidates to hold an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Additional information can be found at the National Society of Accountants.

Continuing Education

Certificates are beneficial for getting a head start on completing an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree as well. Most certificate programs require 24 to 30 credits to complete, and a typical associate’s degree can be earned with 60 to 64 credits. Often, community colleges that offer certificate programs allow for the entire number of credits to transfer in to a relevant associate’s degree program in accounting.

The same is also often true for universities offering post-baccalaureate certificates in accounting. Once completed, the credits for this type of accounting certificate can typically be applied toward completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, particularly at the same institution.

It is important to check with each individual school first in order to determine if certificate credits will be accepted as well as how many will count toward completion of a post-secondary degree. Ultimately, a certificate in accounting is a good step to take in order to get started in a career right away or to get started toward furthering education in a degree program.