2023 Best Online Bookkeeping Certification Programs [Undergraduate]

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Discover the best bookkeeping certification online programs for 2023. Develop your skills, and enter the world of finance and accounting. Get started today!

Bookkeeping certification can help you demonstrate your professional qualifications and proficiency in this sector. Bookkeepers are professionals who carry out a range of administrative tasks and financial duties for clients and businesses.

Best Online Bookkeeping Certification Programs

If you want to become a bookkeeper, you might have an interest in entering a bookkeeping certificate program to develop your skill sets in this area.

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Online bookkeeping programs can offer flexible class schedules, and a certificate program could help prepare you for a future in bookkeeping and other business finance positions.

Online Bookkeeping Certification Programs

Man getting Bookkeeping Certification online

Bookkeepers are responsible for managing various financial records and assets for individuals or businesses. Bookkeeping positions can be found in a variety of industries, including but not limited to:

  • Healthcare
  • Business
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Government

Bookkeeping certificate programs can provide you with proper career skills and training on a variety of bookkeeping responsibilities.

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Bookkeepers can take on many different roles depending on the office and industry they work in. Some bookkeeping tasks may include other administrative duties outside of finances. Common responsibilities for bookkeeper positions can include:

  • Using accounting software, like QuickBooks
  • Collecting payments and recording financial transactions
  • Balancing debits and credits of accounts
  • Preparing a variety of financial documents

A certificate program in bookkeeping can also be useful for other related positions. It can train individuals to perform accounting tasks or bill collection services.

You have the chance to develop a wide range of finance and computer skills while enrolled in a bookkeeping certificate program. For example, you can learn how to write financial reports, prepare business tax documents, and manage information.

Receiving a bookkeeping certificate may open doors for future educational or job opportunities. Students might enter a bookkeeping position upon completion of a program or pursue a bookkeeping certification. Bookkeeping certificate programs online can offer students a more flexible schedule. Certificate programs also tend to take less time to complete than a degree program.

Bookkeeping Careers & Salaries

Bookkeeping Careers & Salaries

A bookkeeper can often qualify for a variety of other finance and business positions, depending on their experience and education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some of the career paths, along with their median salaries, that are associated with bookkeeping skills or training.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Accountants and Auditors $77,250
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $45,560
Financial Clerks $44,760
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $39,680
Material Recording Clerks $37,870
Bill and Account Collectors $37,700
Information Clerks $37,450
General Office Clerks $37,030
Customer Service Representatives $36,920
Tellers $36,310

Salaries for bookkeepers can depend on different factors, such as where you live, your amount of experience, and your level of education.

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Skills acquired through schooling for bookkeeping are highly versatile and may be useful for other career paths. Some positions related to bookkeeping may require extra training or certification, depending on the employer.

Bookkeeping Certificate Curriculum & Courses

Group of people getting Bookkeeping Certificate

Bookkeeper certificate programs include coursework that can help you develop skills to perform daily bookkeeping tasks.

These common bookkeeping courses may be offered through an online certificate program:

  • Introduction to Bookkeeping: You can learn basic bookkeeping operations and duties and develop knowledge of common bookkeeping tools used.
  • Computer Applications: This course may provide you with an understanding of various computer applications, such as QuickBooks, that are used for bookkeeping.
  • Introduction to Business: You can examine how businesses operate and learn about the financial aspects of a business.
  • Excel for Accounting: Various functions, formulas, and file management practices may be explored in this course to teach you how to use Excel for bookkeeping.
  • Bookkeeping Procedures: This course introduces you to foundational concepts, procedures, and software involved in common bookkeeping practices.
  • Principles of Accounting: You may examine the basic concepts and practices of accounting and learn how to prepare various financial documents.
  • Business Ethics: This course outlines a code of ethics in relation to business practices that teaches you responsible bookkeeping procedures.
  • Payroll Accounting: This course can introduce you to various processes used to carry out payroll functions within a business environment, including payroll taxes and filing.
  • Business Mathematics: This course is designed to help you develop math skills that can be applied to business and finance transactions.
  • Bookkeeping Capstone: You can apply what you’ve learned in the program by completing a project to showcase your bookkeeping skills.

The amount of courses available can differ depending on the bookkeeping program you choose.

How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper

Certified Bookkeeper working in her office

If you’re interested in becoming a certified bookkeeper, you can start by considering the type of education you wish to pursue. Individuals may qualify to enter a bookkeeping position with a high school education.

Bookkeeper certificate programs can help you obtain bookkeeping skills and knowledge before entering the field. This can be a strategic path if you want to have a better understanding of the position before assuming a bookkeeping role.

The following steps can help you achieve your goal in becoming a certified bookkeeper:

  • Receive a high school diploma or GED
  • Gain experience in bookkeeping
  • Complete a bookkeeper certificate program
  • Seek bookkeeper certification through a private organization

Multiple organizations provide bookkeeper certification. Some bookkeeper certificate programs are designed to help you fulfill requirements for certification. Certification organizations might have specific guidelines in order to receive certification. For example, bookkeeping experience is usually a prerequisite to earning professional certification.

You may also be asked to complete an examination. Bookkeeping certificate programs typically prepare students for certification through skill development and training.

Admissions Requirements

Man preparing requirements for Bookkeeping Certificate

Non-degree certificate programs may have different admission requirements than, for example, on-campus or online accounting degree programs. You might want to prepare the following materials in case they are requested when applying for a bookkeeping certificate program:

  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement

Some programs may only request proof of high school or GED completion through official transcripts. Schools may also require an application fee. Additional admission requirements may include a personal statement pertaining to your aspirations and goals and possibly a minimum GPA. Admission requirements can differ depending on the program or school you choose.

Online Bookkeeping Certificate Programs Accreditation

University offering Bookkeeping Certificate

Regional accreditation is important because it verifies that you obtained a certificate from a school that meets quality education standards. It helps to prove your education’s credibility and may impact future job and educational opportunities.

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Some employers prefer candidates who received a certificate from an accredited institution. Accreditation could also improve the chances of your certificate coursework transferring to a degree program. You can find a list of regionally accredited schools and recognized accrediting organizations through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Bookkeeping Certification Programs

Obtaining a bookkeeping certification can be beneficial, but certification isn’t required to become a bookkeeper. Bookkeeping professionals may seek out certification to establish credibility for their knowledge and skills in the field. It can also be a nice addition to a resume or curriculum vitae.

Individuals can pursue a certificate as a certified bookkeeper (CB) through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). The certified public bookkeeper (CPB) is another common bookkeeping certification that professionals seek out. This credential is offered by a professional certification organization, the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB).

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Bookkeeping Certificate financial aid

Financial aid and scholarship opportunities might help you cover some of your program costs and other school fees. Scholarships might be available from private organizations or through specific schools. Some schools offer scholarships for specific programs, including online ones.

To find out if you’re eligible for government aid, you can submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) via the US Department of Education. Some employers even offer tuition assistance for employees who wish to gain more bookkeeping skills through a certificate program.

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Bookkeeping?

Accountants meeting about finance matter of the business

A certificate in bookkeeping can help you enter the business and finance career field. Bookkeeping is considered an entry-level position because it doesn’t usually require prior work experience or a degree.

Bookkeeping certificate programs can help you gain professional business skills in finance, accounting, and computer software. These skills can also apply to other finance careers, such as accounting clerk, financial clerk, auditing clerk, or bill collector.

Bookkeeping certificate coursework can sometimes count toward an associate or bachelors degree program. Those who pursue further education in the field may become accountants or other financial professionals.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bookkeeping Certificate Online?

Woman pursuing her Bookkeeping Certification online

Bookkeeping certificate program lengths can vary depending on how many courses are offered by a school. Most can be completed in 2 years or less.

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Some online bookkeeping certificate programs have fast-track certificate options that allow you to finish in less than 1 year. Part-time or full-time study can also affect the time it takes to complete a bookkeeping certificate program. While a certificate takes less time to earn than an associate or bachelor degree, some students may choose to earn a certificate as a supplement to their degree program.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Bookkeeper?

Although you can become a bookkeeper without a bookkeeping certificate, bookkeeping skills that are desired by employers include:

  • Mathematical skills
  • Computer skills
  • Information management skills
  • Organization skills

Math and computer skills are beneficial skills to have for managing financial records and transactions. A bookkeeping certificate program can help you build these key bookkeeping skills. Individuals can often to enter a bookkeeping position with a high school diploma, but some employers might prefer candidates who have some level of postsecondary education.

What’s the Difference Between Bookkeeping vs. Accounting?

Bookkeepers can perform similar tasks to accountants, but bookkeeping isn’t the same as accounting.

Bookkeeping Accounting
  • Involves receiving and recording financial documents and data
  • Handles financial transactions for clients and businesses
  • Involves interpreting financial data and records provided
  • May consult with clients and businesses about finances and suggest financial goals

Bookkeepers deal with daily administrative tasks that revolve around the finances of a client or business. Accountants may receive financial data from bookkeepers to analyze a client’s or business’s finances.

What’s the Difference Between an Online Bookkeeping Certificate vs. Certification?

Here are some of the differences between an academic bookkeeping certificate and a professional bookkeeping certification.

Bookkeeping Certificate Bookkeeping Certification
  • Achieved through completing an academic certificate program
  • Prerequisites may include a high school diploma or GED
  • Signifies an individual has gained essential bookkeeping knowledge and skills
  • Earned through a certification organization
  • May involve passing examinations and having prior bookkeeping experience
  • Signifies an individual is industry certified in performing bookkeeping practices

Certification isn’t required to be a bookkeeper, but employers may prefer candidates who are certified. A certificate is proof that an individual has completed an educational program to acquire bookkeeping knowledge and skills.

Is a Bookkeeping Certificate Worth It?

Accountants & Auditors working in the office

Yes, a bookkeeping certificate is worth it for many students. Bookkeeping certificates can help you develop or build upon your bookkeeping knowledge and skills. While a certificate isn’t required to become a bookkeeper, it can be helpful when searching for bookkeeping positions.

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Many employers prefer candidates who have completed some college coursework in bookkeeping. Some of the work you complete in a bookkeeping certificate program might also be useful in creating a portfolio to showcase your skills. Plus, credits from a bookkeeping certificate program could possibly be transferred over to a degree program if you wish to further your education in the business and finance field.

Universities Offering Online Bookkeeping Certificate Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Borough of Manhattan Community College campus

The Borough of Manhattan Community College offers an online certified bookkeeper training program. The program prepares students for certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The curriculum is designed to teach students how to perform tasks for businesses, such as handling payroll deposits, recording costs, valuing inventory, and more.

BMCC is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Casper College

Casper College campus

Casper College has an online accounting and bookkeeping program that is designed to fit around students’ schedules. The program has no prerequisites and aims to prepare students for entry-level bookkeeping positions. It requires the completion of 31 credits of courses such as Business Mathematics I, Excel Basics, Computer Information Systems, and more.

Casper College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Lackawanna College

Lackawanna College campus

Lackawanna College offers an online certificate program called Online Bookkeeping Administration Expert. The program allows students to work at their own pace. The curriculum aims to teach students how to analyze business transactions, manage accruals and deferrals, prepare basic financial statements, and more. It is also designed to prepare students for Microsoft Office Suite Professional Certification.

Lackawanna College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Minnesota State College Southeast

Minnesota State College Southeast campus

At Minnesota State College Southeast, students can earn a bookkeeping certification online, in person, or in a hybrid format. The program requires the completion of 21 credits of courses such as Payroll Accounting, Computerized Accounting Applications, Spreadsheets Concepts and Applications, and more. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning and the use of technology.

Minnesota State College Southeast is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

National American University

National American University campus

National American University offers an online certificate program in accounting, bookkeeping, and auditing that is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions. Coursework includes Principles of Accounting I, II, and III, Accounting Software Applications, and Introduction to Business. Students also get one elective. The curriculum aims to teach students how to keep financial records for a business.

National American University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Pima Community College

Pima Community College campus

Pima Community College offers a certificate program in accounting, bookkeeping. The program is available both online and on campus. It requires the completion of 31 credits. Courses include Survey of Accounting, Payroll Accounting, Individual Tax Accounting, Mathematics of Business, Spreadsheets: Microsoft Excel, and more.

Pima Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Temple University

Temple University campus

Temple University offers an online certificate in bookkeeping. The program consists of three courses: Understanding Debits and Credits, General Ledger and Month End Procedures, and Closing Procedures and Financial Statements. It is primarily aimed at entrepreneurs and small business owners who do their own bookkeeping.

Temple University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi campus

Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi offers a 100% online certificate program in bookkeeping with QuickBooks. The program only requires one course. It aims to prepares students for the QuickBooks Certified User Exam. The course requires no prerequisites and has minimal technological requirements. It can be completed on either a Mac or a PC.

Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University campus

Texas Tech University offers a certified bookkeeper course that is 100% online and can be started at any time. It aims to help students meet the certification requirements of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The program requires prospective students to have at least 2 years of related work experience.

Texas Tech University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Truckee Meadows Community College

Truckee Meadows Community College campus

Truckee Meadows Community College offers three different options for pursuing a bookkeeping certificate. The Skills Certificate in Certified Professional Bookkeeping requires 9 credits. The Certificate in Achievement in Bookkeeping requires 30 credits. The Certificate in Bookkeeping Entrepreneurship also requires 30 credits and includes coursework on running a business.

TMCC is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

University of California – Los Angeles

University of California Los Angeles campus

The University of California—Los Angeles offers a bookkeeping specialization through its extension school that requires the completion of 4 courses. The courses include Bookkeeping and Accounting Essentials I and II, Cloud Based QuickBooks, and Payroll Tax and Accounting. Courses are available year-round online and may be completed synchronously or asynchronously.

UCLA is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

University of Georgia

University of Georgia campus

The University of Georgia offers a bookkeeping certification that can be earned online. The certification only requires the completion of one course that can be started at any time. The course covers topics such as bank reconciliation, payroll laws, internal audits, and more. After finishing the course, students receive a voucher to take the AIPB certification exam.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Houston – Clear Lake

University of Houston Clear Lake campus

Students can become certified bookkeepers through the University of Houston – Clear Lake’s 100% online program. The program is intended for those who already have at least 2 years of relevant work experience. It aims to prepare students for the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers certification exam.

The University of Houston – Clear Lake is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

University of Tennessee – Chattanooga

University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus

The University of Tennessee—Chattanooga offers a bookkeeper certification program that requires just one course and is 100% online. Once enrolled, students can access the course for 6 months. The course is intended for students with at least 2 years of related work experience.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Wake Technical Community College

Wake Technical Community College campus

Wake Technical Community College offers a bookkeeping certificate that requires the completion of 18 credits. Courses are available online, in hybrid formats, and in person at multiple campus locations. Scheduling options are available in both the daytime and evening. The curriculum aims to help students become proficient with QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel.

Wake Technical Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Getting Your Bookkeeping Certificate Online

Man completing Bookkeeping Certificate online

An online bookkeeping certificate program can offer a flexible learning environment that focuses on skills that are useful in the field of business and finance. Your training could be beneficial for future educational or professional opportunities.

Individuals interested in bookkeeping might enjoy helping clients or businesses organize their finances and keep track of important documents and transactions. Bookkeeping certificate programs can be a strategic option for those who want to gain bookkeeping skills and knowledge without entering a degree program. Earning a certificate could also help you enter the workforce more quickly.

Why not start looking at accredited schools today? Exploring bookkeeping certificate programs that align with your schedule and goals could be the first step toward a career in bookkeeping.

Ready to start your journey?
Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.