2022 Best Online Accounting Graduate Certificate Programs

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If you’re looking to develop your accounting expertise, you might consider earning a graduate certificate in accounting online.

Best Online Accounting Graduate Certificate Programs

Online programs are typically designed for busy professionals who want to further their education while working. If you have a bachelors in a different area of study, an online graduate certificate in accounting can help you transition into the accounting field.

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In addition to learning accounting principles and practices, you may also gain versatile business skills.

Online Graduate Certificate in Accounting Programs

Online Graduate Certificate in Accounting

Online graduate certificates in accounting programs are available to students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. If you have a bachelors in an unrelated field, an accounting certificate can help you qualify for entry-level roles in this field.

For those looking for degree options, a number of universities offer on-campus and online degree in accounting programs.

Accountants may assess and present financial data, discover opportunities to save costs and increase revenues, and ensure that clients adhere to current rules and regulations.

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Earning a graduate certificate in accounting can potentially be a quick and cost-effective approach to entering into accounting or advancing in the industry. Graduates often pursue work in:

  • Public accounting
  • Corporate accounting
  • Government accounting
  • Nonprofit accounting

Some accounting graduate certificates can be earned entirely online. This is often a more convenient and flexible option for working professionals. With online programming, you can typically schedule your courses around your work and personal commitments.

Here is a list of some of the subjects often studied in an accounting certificate program:

  • Auditing
  • Research and communication
  • Managerial accounting
  • Financial accounting
  • Taxation

Earning a graduate certificate in accounting can also help you work toward professional certification. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is one of the popular and respected credentials in this field.

Accounting Careers & Salaries

Accounting Careers & Salaries

A graduate certificate in accounting can help you qualify for entry-level roles in finance. If you have a bachelors in business or a related field, a graduate certificate can help you qualify for more advanced positions in accounting and finance.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some common occupations related to accounting and finance:

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Financial Managers $131,710
Financial Analysts $81,410
Budget Analysts $79,940
Accountants and Auditors $77,250
Loan Officers $63,380
Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents $56,780
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks $47,610
Tax Preparers
$46,290
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $45,560
Financial Clerks $44,760

Your particular qualifications and potential salary will be based on a number of factors, such as your location, work experience, previous education, and employer.

Accounting Graduate Certificate Curriculum & Courses

Online Graduate Certificate in Accounting Programs

Your courses will vary depending on your program, but these are some common courses that appear in online graduate accounting certificate programs:

  • Federal Taxes: This course discusses income taxation and the concerns of compliance, liability, planning, and reporting.
  • Research and Communication: This class explores CPA research, various tools and resources, and basic communication skills.
  • Intermediate Accounting: This course covers the basics of financial accounting. Topics covered often include accounting information systems, cash controls, receivables, and problem solutions.
  • Cost Accounting: This course covers how to record, categorize, and report cost data. It also explores the influence of cost behavior on management planning and control and examines cost accounting’s special difficulties and budgets.
  • Managerial Accounting: This course focuses on topics related to enhancing an organization’s performance via best practices and using accounting concepts to produce and develop corporate values.
  • Auditing: This course covers the ideas and practices of financial auditing. It typically discusses legal obligations, professional and ethical standards, and audit preparation.
  • Financial Accounting: This course focuses on preparing balance sheets, income statements, and statements of cash flows.
  • Financial Reporting: This class discusses Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
  • Human Resource Accounting: This course focuses on making management decisions on promotions, demotions, VRS plans, transfers, and retrenchment.
  • Financial Statement Analysis: This course focuses on examining and evaluating a company’s financial accounts in order to make better economic choices and generate more money in the future.

These are just some of the courses you may take if you’re looking to get your accounting graduate certificate.

Admissions Requirements

Accounting Graduate Certificate requirements

Admissions requirements will vary from school to school, but here are some common requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Some certificate programs may also prefer applicants who have previous experience in accounting or a related field. While GRE or GMAT scores may be requested, a growing number of schools are no longer requiring them.

Accreditation

Accounting Graduate Certificate accreditation

When selecting an accounting program, it’s beneficial to consider the accreditation status of any prospective school. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) includes a database of regionally accredited schools on its website.

To earn regional accreditation, a school must be reviewed by an accrediting agency to ensure that it meets predetermined standards of academic quality.

Certain forms of financial aid will require you to attend an accredited school in order to qualify. Many employers also have a greater trust in training that comes from accredited institutions.

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In addition, accredited credits are more easily transferred to other degree programs, and most professional certifications require credits from accredited schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Accounting Graduate Certificate financial aid

Many students pursue financial aid opportunities to offset the cost of tuition. Common types of financial aid include government aid, employer programs, and scholarships.

Federal aid often comes in the form of grants and loans. State aid may also be an option for residents of certain states. To determine your eligibility for government aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Employer programs may also be an option for those already working in the field of accounting.

Scholarships may be awarded by schools as well as public or private organizations. They can be based on academic performance or other factors, such as area of study or financial necessity.

What Can You Do with a Graduate Certificate in Accounting?

Accounting Graduate Certificate careers

If you already work in accounting, then a graduate certificate in accounting can help you strengthen your skills and advance your qualifications.

If you have an unrelated bachelor’s, a graduate certificate program can help you develop foundational skills and qualify for entry-level roles in accounting and finance. A graduate certificate may also count toward a master’s degree later on.

Some common accounting and finance careers include:

  • Auditors
  • Budget analysts
  • Accountants
  • Financial analysts
  • Financial clerks
  • Payroll specialists

Whether you’re looking to advance your career or change directions altogether, you may want to consider earning a graduate certificate in accounting.

What’s the Difference between Online Accounting Certifications vs. Certificates?

There are a few key differences between accounting certifications and accounting certificates.

Certifications Certificates
  • Credentials that demonstrate professional qualifications
  • Typically granted by professional organizations
  • Generally requires passing an exam
  • Provide foundational accounting knowledge
  • Typically granted by academic institutions
  • Generally requires completing a certain amount of credit hours

Despite these differences, both online accounting certifications and certificates can be beneficial for those looking to advance in accounting. Both can help you demonstrate your professional knowledge and learned skills.

What’s the Difference between a Graduate Certificate vs. Masters in Accounting?

Here’s a breakdown of the key differences between a graduate certificate in accounting and a masters degree in accounting.

Graduate Certificate in Accounting Masters in Accounting
  • Typically completed in 6 months to 1 year
  • Entails taking classes as a non-degree pursuing student
  • Emphasizes a single subject or skillset
  • Might transfer into a master’s program
  • Typically takes 1 to 2 years to complete
  • Results in the awarding of an academic graduate degree
  • Designed for students to master accounting principles and skills

Whichever educational path is best for you will depend on your short-term and long-term career goals.

Is a Graduate Certificate in Accounting Worth It?

Accounting Graduate Certificate

Yes, a graduate certificate in accounting is worth it for many students. A graduate certificate program can help you develop specialized skills and knowledge in the field.

With an online program, you can often complete your coursework at your own pace and on your schedule.

A graduate certificate can help you advance your current career or move to a new field, depending on your previous education and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 7% over the next ten years.

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So, if you’re looking to improve your career prospects and earning potential, a graduate certificate in accounting is worth considering.

Universities Offering Online Graduate Certificate in Accounting 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.

American Public University

American Public University campus

American Public University offers a Graduate Certificate in Accounting that can be earned fully online. The program consists of 6 courses that cover topics like budgeting, taxes, and financial reporting.

Students may also pursue additional course offerings that cater to their specific interests, such as forensic or international accounting.

American Public University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Auburn University

Auburn University campus

Auburn University offers a Graduate Certificate in Accountancy online program. It is designed to prepare students for their CPA exam, help them launch their accounting careers, and allow them to gain the credentials needed to teach at the college level.

Students can choose any six courses on the approved curriculum list to complete the certificate.

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

City University of Seattle

City University of Seattle campus

City University of Seattle’s Graduate Certificate in Public Accounting is designed for students who currently hold a bachelor’s in accounting and wish to take accredited CPA exam courses.

The 15 credit certificate program is open for rolling admissions year-round, and the fully online format allows students to start at their earliest convenience.

City University of Seattle is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Davenport University

Davenport University campus

Davenport University offers an Accounting and Financial Analysis Certificate program. It aims to help students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to manage accounting records and financial statements.

The program’s courses are offered in a fully online format, and the certificate can typically be completed in as little as 1 academic year.

Davenport University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

DeVry University

Devry University campus

For students who have already earned an accounting degree but would like to continue their education, the Graduate Certificate in Accounting at DeVry University may be an ideal option. The curriculum includes studies in managerial accounting, financial accounting, and corporate finance.

Courses can be completed fully online or in a hybrid format.

DeVry University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Eastern Washington University

Eastern Washington University campus

Eastern Washington University offers a fully online program for a Graduate Certificate in Professional Accounting that can potentially be completed in just 5 months. The program aims to teach students how to analyze data, assess risk, and apply tax regulations.

Core courses include Advanced Accounting Law, Advance Auditing, and Essentials of Taxation.

Eastern Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University campus

Golden Gate University offers a Financial Accounting and Reporting Graduate Certificate. The program aims to help students develop the foundational knowledge needed to gain a competitive edge in the accounting field. This 12 credit certificate program can be taken in person, fully online, or in a hybrid format.

Classes include Fraud Examination, Data Analytics, and Accounting Responsibilities and Ethics.

Golden Gate University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

Pennsylvania State University offers a Graduate Certificate in Accounting. The program is designed to teach students essential accounting concepts, such as auditing theory, tax planning, and cost management.

The fully online program consists of 12 credits. It is often an excellent fit for students preparing for their CPA licensure exams.

Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University’s online Graduate Certificate in Accounting program aims to teach students the core elements of business law, accounting reports, and auditing. It is designed to prepare graduates for their CPA licensure exams and mid-level accounting positions.

The program can typically be completed in 7 months with a full-time course load.

Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire University campus

Southern New Hampshire University offers a Graduate Certificate in Accounting. It is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a different field, those with an accounting degree who desire advanced credentials, or those preparing to sit for their CPA exams.

This certificate program consists of 21 credits and is fully online.

Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Suffolk University

Suffolk University campus

Suffolk University’s Graduate Certificate in Financial Accounting and Reporting program aims to prepare students for the CPA exam or further their existing knowledge. It covers key topics like the foundations of accounting and taxation, business law, and data analytics.

Part-time students can typically complete the certificate program in just one semester. The program is offered both online and on campus.

Suffolk University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Arizona

University of Arizona campus

For students seeking to jump into an accounting career or prepare for CPA licensure exams, the Accounting Graduate Certificate at the University of Arizona may be an excellent first step. This online program can typically be completed in 5 months.

The program’s curriculum covers vital information, such as federal taxation, ethics for accountants, and principles of auditing.

The University of Arizona is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of California – Irvine

University of California Irvine campus

The University of California—Irvine offers a Graduate Certificate in Applied Accounting that can be completed fully online, usually in 12 to 24 months. The curriculum covers how to prepare, analyze, and verify financial documents, which are valuable skills for CPA licensure and any career in the accounting field.

The University of California—Irvine is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.

University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut campus

The University of Connecticut offers an online program for a Certificate in Accounting Fundamentals. Students seeking to build foundational knowledge of accounting, study for CPA exams, or begin working toward a further degree may find this program to be a great fit.

This 12 credit, fully online certificate program spans two semesters and includes courses in financial reporting, assurance services, and federal income tax.

The University of Connecticut is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of St. Francis

University of St Francis campus

The University of St. Francis offers an online program for a Graduate Certificate in Accounting that covers the core knowledge needed to pursue a career in the accounting field.

The four required courses are conveniently available online. They cover topics such as fraud examination, international accounting, financial statement analysis, and governmental accounting.

The University of St. Francis is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Graduate Certificate in Accounting Online

Graduate Certificate in Accounting Online

Whether you’re looking to advance your current career or switch to a new field, you might consider pursuing a graduate certificate in accounting.

Earning your graduate certificate in accounting online is a strategic way to build on your undergraduate degree and improve your career prospects. Many accredited schools also offer certificate programs online, often allowing for more scheduling flexibility.

If you’re interested in advancing your expertise in this field, why not start exploring the various accounting graduate certificates available from accredited institutions?

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Joy Cromwelle
WRITTEN BY
Joy Cromwelle
Joy is pursuing her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Foreign Policy and holds a Master of Business Administration in Strategic Management, as well as a Bachelor's in Business Administration. Joy's focus is helping non-traditional students find accelerated degree options and credit for prior learning opportunities.