Top 20 Online Accounting Certificate Courses

 Courses that offer an online accounting certificate teach intermediate accounting skills, making them ideal for those looking to start or advance their accounting careers. Nearly 1.5 million accountants work in the United States, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 6% increase in job opportunities for accountants and auditors between 2018 and 2028. Depending on the school and program, accounting certificates typically consist of six to twelve online certification courses. Accounting certificates can be completed in as little as one semester due to their short length. 

 

BEST ONLINE ACCOUNTING CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS FOR 2020

This guide ranks the top online accounting certificates in the country to help students choose the best program for their needs.

 

1. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY (NWU)

Northwestern University is one of the most selective, prestigious, and wealthy universities in the country. Northwestern has been a driving force in the development of Chicago, IL since it was founded in 1851 to serve the Northwest Territory. As Chicago grew up alongside Northwestern, the university rose to prominence as a major research institution, particularly in business and professional education. Northwestern combines excellence and reputation, with a national top-ten endowment and one of the lowest acceptance rates in the country.

While Northwestern has a 9% undergraduate acceptance rate, working adults and professionals can obtain the Northwestern name and quality in another way. The Northwestern School of Professional Studies is the university’s adult education division, offering degrees and credentials to working professionals. Northwestern’s Online Fundamentals of Accounting Certificate Program prepares students for further education or the CPA exam by teaching them the fundamentals of the accounting field. 

Students can continue to work and participate in extracurricular activities while earning life-changing credentials thanks to the online format’s flexibility.

 

2. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY 

The University of California, Berkeley is the state’s flagship public research university and a recognized Public Ivy (a public university as esteemed as the Ivy League). It is frequently ranked as the best public university in the country. While Berkeley is a model undergraduate institution, Berkeley Extension is a model for adult education. Berkeley Extension is ideal for working adults who want challenge and support, as it combines all of Berkeley’s educational excellence with affordable, flexible online accounting courses taught by experienced, expert practitioners.

Berkeley is also home to one of the world’s most prestigious business schools, the Haas School of Business. Graduates of the Haas School have an unrivalled competitive advantage in the job market, and Berkeley Extension’s Certificate Program in Accounting has the Haas School’s seal of approval. The accounting certificate, which consists of six required courses totalling 24 credits, is designed to prepare students to take the CPA exam. The accounting certificate at UC Berkeley Extension is an excellent choice for career-changing professionals and other non-traditional students due to its low cost, flexible online scheduling, and short time frame.

 

3. Northeastern University

Northeastern University, a Carnegie Classification R1 research university, is one of the most admired and imitated institutions in New England. Northeastern University, founded in 1898, has always prioritized nontraditional adult education; in fact, the university began as a night school for working-class students held at the Boston YMCA. Northeastern University is known for its cooperative education, which combines work experience with classroom education, a system that has had an impact on higher education, and is ranked the #40 national university by U.S. News.

Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies houses the university’s adult education programs, including the Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting. This convenient online certificate program is designed to assist working adults in obtaining the credentials required to begin a new career in accounting. Professionals who already work in bookkeeping or other administrative roles may find the certificate useful for skill development and advancement. The online accounting certificate is a valuable credential for the accounting job market because of the trusted Northeastern name.

 

4. COLLEGE OF FOOTHILL

Foothill College is well-known in the Los Altos Hills area for providing high-quality career education. It is recognized as one of California’s top community colleges – a state filled with community colleges that could outrank many national 4-year colleges. Foothill, which was founded in 1957, refused to accept the then-standard “junior college” moniker, instead of devoting its faculty and resources to higher education on its terms. Foothill College now serves over 13,000 students and offers a diverse range of highly regarded certificates and associate’s degrees.

Foothill College provides several levels of accounting certificates online. The Financial Accounting Career Certificate requires 25 credits, while the Career Tax Accounting Certificate requires 27; 40 credits (8 accounting certification courses) are required for the Certificate of Achievement in CPA Examination Preparation. These certificate programs provide students with a broad understanding of the elements of accounting for businesses, individuals, government, and nonprofits, and prepare students to sit for the CPA exam (with a previous bachelor’s degree) or continue their education. 

For more than a half-century, Foothill’s well-known quality, experienced faculty, and convenience have made it a solid choice.

 

5. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, LOWELL 

The University of Massachusetts Lowell, which is part of the nationally ranked and globally recognized UMass system, began as two separate institutions: a teacher training school founded in 1894 and a technical school founded in 1895. When the two merged in 1975, Massachusetts gained a new public research university that was based on practical, career-oriented education for working adults. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, UMass Lowell has risen to national prominence and proven to be one of the fastest-rising institutions in the national rankings of U.S. News & World Report. 

That’s a good sign for future students. UMass Lowell is quickly becoming a regional and national leader in fields such as engineering, health care, and business, and its adult education programs are among the best in the country. The Certificate Program in Accounting, a 5-course, an 18-credit curriculum designed for working adults, is available through the Division of Online & Continuing Education at UMass Lowell. Applicants should already have a bachelor’s degree in another field; the accounting certificate program adds accounting knowledge to a student’s current job. 

For students who want to change careers, the certificate can also fulfil prerequisites for an accounting master’s program. In either case, UMass Lowell is a well-known brand in the job market.

 

6. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY, IDAHO 

Mormon migrants settling the Snake River Plain founded Brigham Young University-Idaho in 1888. The LDS church in Idaho, like the Latter-day Saints in Utah, was fleeing persecution and seeking to establish their own home, and a frontier academy was an important part of that plan. What was then known as Ricks College grew throughout the twentieth century as it expanded programs, particularly for working students, and in 2000 it was renamed Brigham Young University-Idaho in honour of the Mormon leader. 

BYU-I is well-known for its excellent undergraduate education, low tuition, and student outreach, which includes online programs. The online accounting certificate program at BYU-Idaho is designed to prepare students for entry-level accounting positions in corporations, small businesses, and government agencies. The certificate requires at least 15-19 credits, depending on the accounting courses chosen by the student, including fundamentals of Accounting software, communication, and the law are all examples of professions. 

The certificate is also intended to serve as a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree in accounting, as it meets the prerequisites for admission to the majority of accounting programs. BYU-Idaho is widely regarded as the best value due to its low tuition and strong student support, and it is a well-known name throughout the west.

 

7. LINFIELD COLLEGE – Springfield, Massachusetts.

Linfield College, founded in 1858 by members of the Christian Church, is one of the Pacific Northwest’s oldest private colleges. Linfield was a traditional small liberal arts college with a Christian worldview for many years, but the establishment of the Continuing Education division marked the beginning of a new era for Linfield. Linfield has long been known for its academic rigour and excellence, but it has recently become even more well-known for its top-ranked online degree programs.

Linfield College has been named one of the nation’s best online educators by U.S. News & World Report, providing an educational opportunity for residents of Oregon and beyond. The Linfield online Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate is a fully online program designed for working professionals who want to supplement their current bachelor’s degree with accounting credentials. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in another field and have completed any prerequisite courses, such as Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting. 

Accounting students are prepared for careers in business, government, and family or individual accounting. The Linfield online accounting certificate can help you launch a new career or advance in your current one.

 

8. UNIVERSITY OF FRAMINGHAM

Framingham State University is a historic public university dedicated to providing practical, career-oriented education to the people of Massachusetts. Framingham State, founded in 1839, was the nation’s first normal school – a teacher training program that revolutionized teacher preparation. Framingham State set a course for education that meets the needs of society, whether it be one-room schoolhouses of yesteryear or 21st-century urban life, from those auspicious beginnings. 

Framingham State University, known for its excellent nursing, education, and business programs, is also an important part of education for working adults in Massachusetts. The Framingham State online Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting is a 6-course program designed to teach students with a high school diploma or GED the fundamentals of accounting. Students learn the fundamentals of accounting, from teamwork and the accountant’s role in a business to the technical aspects of data analysis and document preparation. 

Students are prepared for entry-level accounting positions or further education, thanks to Framingham State’s reputation for quality and value.

9. VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY

The University of Virginia, one of America’s most illustrious public research universities, was founded in 1819 as an example of President Thomas Jefferson’s educational philosophy. Over the next two centuries, UVA grew to become one of the world’s leading research institutions, as influential in politics, arts, and culture as it is in medicine, science, and entrepreneurship. The UVA name is a competitive advantage in the job market, and according to U.S. News & World Report, UVA is one of the top 25 public universities in the country.

UVA’s online Undergraduate Accounting Certificate provides UVA quality and reputation in a convenient and cost-effective format. Part-time students can complete the 30-credit accounting certificate entirely online in under two years, gaining a foundation in accounting fundamentals that can lead to entry-level accounting jobs. To apply, students only need a high school diploma, but to sit for the CPA exam, students must have a bachelor’s degree in some field (though not necessarily accounting). It’s a UVA credential with all the quality that the name implies, but with the added convenience of an online certificate.

 

10. PENNSYLVANIA STATE WORLD CAMPUS

Since 1855, Pennsylvania State University has been dedicated to the educational needs of Pennsylvanians, ranking among the Public Ivies and being one of the most influential public research universities in the country. While Penn State has always prioritized accessibility and practical value as part of its mission, the university reached a watershed moment in 1998 when it opened the Penn State World Campus. The Penn State World Campus, one of the first fully online divisions established by a top-tier university, is widely regarded as one of the best online educators in the world.

And is now the second-largest college at Penn State, with over 18,000 students. Penn State World Campus, in addition to full degrees, offers a variety of certificate programs, including the Penn State online Graduate Certificate in Accounting. The online accounting certificate can be used as a stand-alone certificate for students with a bachelor’s degree who want to earn accounting credentials. For students with a bachelor’s degree in a non-accounting field, it can also be used as the first step toward a master’s degree in accounting. In either case, the Penn State name and reputation ensure the best education and success in the accounting job market.

 

11. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE

Southern New Hampshire University’s origins can be traced back to a small accounting school founded in 1932 as a for-profit training program, so it’s no surprise that SNHU is a national leader in accounting education. However, the SNHU of yesteryear is a far cry from the SNHU of today, and this is entirely due to online education. Southern New Hampshire has grown from its first online degree programs in 1995 to become one of the most recognizable names in online education. 

Because of its early adoption of online formats, SNHU has been recognized as one of the most innovative institutions in higher education by publications such as U.S. News & World Report and Fast Company. With a flexible online format, the SNHU online Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting brings nearly a century of accounting expertise into the modern age. Students learn the fundamentals of accounting online, from document preparation to managerial skills. 

SNHU is known for its high-quality faculty, student support, and job-market reputability; more than 80,000 online students can attest to the university’s quality and effectiveness. Students can also use the online certificate as a stepping stone to a full bachelor’s degree in accounting or simply go straight into accounting jobs with confidence.

 

12. THE UNIVERSITY OF AUBURN

Auburn University, Alabama’s premier public research university, was founded in 1856 as a Methodist liberal arts college but was taken over by the state in 1872 as the state’s land-grant research university. Auburn, as a land-grant university, combines the highest level of research and education with a commitment to accessibility, practicability, and affordability. The Harbert College of Business, in particular, is one of the most well-known and trusted business schools in the south, with over a century of history and a top 100 ranking by U.S. News & World Report.

Auburn’s online Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting, accredited by the AACSB and designed for convenience, is available through Harbert College. Auburn’s distance program combines recordings of on-campus accounting certification courses with electronic assignments to provide students with the convenience of online learning while also providing them with more classroom experience. Only second-degree students are admitted; applicants must already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, and full-time students may complete the program in as little as a year. 

Auburn’s undergraduate accounting certificate is a top choice because it combines the quality and support of an Auburn degree with the flexibility of online delivery.

 

13. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, DARTMOUTH

In 1962, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth was established as Massachusetts’ public technology school by combining two previous technical schools. With its roots in technical education, particularly in textiles (which was once a major industry in Massachusetts), UMass Dartmouth was well suited to practical programs in applied science, business, management, and architecture. Today, UMass Dartmouth’s significant outreach to working adult students and commitment to accessible, market-ready, career-focused education continue that tradition. 

UMass Dartmouth’s solid reputation has helped it rise from regional to national prominence in recent years, bode well for graduates. For second-degree students, UMass Online offers the UMass Dartmouth online Certificate in Accounting. This 30-credit, one-year program is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in another field who want to advance or change careers in accounting. Students who complete the UMass Online accounting certificate are eligible to sit for the CPA exam in Massachusetts (though non-business degree holders may need some additional accounting credits). 

This blended hybrid program may necessitate some campus visits as well. Whether in business, engineering, or another field, students may find the accounting certificate to be a valuable addition to their resume.

 

14. CALIFONIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO.

Cal State San Bernardino is located in the Inland Empire region of California and is part of the California State University system, which is one of the largest and most accomplished public higher education systems in the United States. CSUCB, which was founded in 1960, has always focused on the educational needs of the people of the Inland Empire, a diverse region; its mission focuses on inclusivity, social justice, and innovation in education With a large Hispanic population and a commitment to social mobility and uplift, Cal State San Bernardino is one of the most diverse colleges in the country.

Online degree programs extend CSUSB’s reach beyond what the university could have achieved otherwise, allowing it to reach a much larger number of students. This includes the Cal State San Bernardino Accounting Certificate, a fully online certificate program designed for working professionals interested in pursuing a career in accounting. The online certificate, which is a 36-credit intensive program, allows students to take the first steps toward a master’s degree in accounting or to prepare for the CPA exam. 

With accelerated terms, students can take two courses at a time and complete their certificate in six months, gaining a head start on their degree or moving into entry-level accounting jobs.

 

15. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Liberty University, founded in 1971 by evangelist Jerry Falwell, began as a small bible college, but today it is one of the nation’s largest, most influential, and far-reaching Christian universities. Much of Liberty’s success in the twenty-first century can be attributed to its embrace of adult education and online degree programs, which helped its student body grow from hundreds to tens of thousands. Liberty now has over 15,000 on-campus students and over 100,000 online students, making it the largest Christian college as well as a political and educational force.

The Liberty Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting is a completely online program offered by Liberty University’s renowned School of Business. The accounting certificate emphasizes not only technical accounting skills such as computer software and document preparation, but also communication, managerial leadership, and ethical decision-making, which is a Liberty priority. The Liberty accounting certificate, which is based on Bible-based Christianity, is part of Liberty’s commitment to developing responsible business leaders and transforming students’ lives for the better.

 

16. CHAMPLAIN COLLEGE 

Since its inception as a small business college in 1878, Champlain College has provided practical adult education, particularly in business and accounting. Throughout the twentieth century, it grew in prominence in Vermont’s largest city (which, by national standards, resembles a small college town) and remained committed to preparing students for successful careers. Champlain entered a new era when it launched its first fully online degree programs in 1993, at a time when online education was almost unthinkable. Champlain is consistently ranked as one of the top online educators in the United States, owing to its enthusiasm for innovation.

Champlain College’s Online Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting is a straightforward, dependable way to enter the accounting profession quickly and easily. Champlain is well-known throughout New England, and its faculty includes some of the world’s best business professors. This 15-credit program is designed specifically for busy adult learners, with flexible scheduling that allows students to complete the program in as little as one year. Graduates are completely prepared for an entry-level accounting job, from financial reports and bookkeeping to income tax, from one of the most prestigious names in business education.

 

17. COLLEGE OF THE LONE STARS

Lone Star College is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing community college systems, centred on the greater Houston, TX metropolitan area. Lone Star, which was founded in 1972, now has six campuses and two centres in the Houston area, with over 80,000 students enrolled in a variety of degree and certificate programs. Lone Star College, as a public community college, is committed to affordability, accessibility, and applicability, focusing on programs that are most needed in Houston and throughout Texas. 

Lone Star’s reputation is growing, and articulation agreements allow Lone Star students to easily transfer to any public Texas university. With Lone Star College’s Accounting Certificate, prospective accountants can get a head start on their careers while also preparing for bachelor’s or master’s programs in accounting. The accounting certificate, which is available on multiple campuses and completely online, is a one-year program that provides workforce training to help working adults get into accounting jobs faster. 

The accounting certificate fulfils the prerequisites for transferring into a bachelor’s program or can be combined with general education courses to earn an AAS degree. Whatever students choose to do with their certificate, it is an inexpensive and convenient way to begin a new life.

 

18. LOUISVILLE UNIVERSITY

The University of Louisville is one of the oldest universities west of the Alleghenies, having been established in 1798 when Kentucky was still a rough frontier and Louisville was just a growing river town. After more than a century and a half as a municipally-owned college, UL joined the Kentucky State University System, leveraging the state’s greater resources to expand its reach and opportunity. Today, UL is an important part of research and professional education, from medicine and engineering to business, and is ranked as one of the top 100 public universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

The University of Louisville has long prioritized opportunities for working adults, and the online UL Certificate in Accounting makes adult education more convenient. This 21-credit, entirely online program is intended to prepare students for the Kentucky CPA exam; however, additional business courses are required to sit for the exam. The Certificate in Accounting is especially beneficial for students who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field but want to work in accounting, whether in the nonprofit, government or private sector.

 

19. UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE 

The University of Baltimore is a comprehensive public university with a focus on programs critical to urban life such as law, applied sciences, and business. UB was founded in 1925 to provide an opportunity to nontraditional students from the start when it began offering night classes for working adults in a row house. For nearly a century, night classes grew into a junior college, college, and university, carrying on the legacy of outreach. UB is now inextricably linked to Baltimore’s government, business, and society, and offers a diverse range of programs ranging from certificates to master’s and professional degrees.

The Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore offers an online Upper-Division Certificate in Accounting, which has been named one of the best online and undergraduate business schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This 24-30 credit program is intended for working professionals with a bachelor’s degree in another field who want to transition into accounting. Graduates of the Certificate in Accounting are prepared to take the Maryland CPA exam and enter the accounting job market with confidence.

 

20. SAINT MARY’S UNIVERSITY OF Minnesota

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, founded in 1912 by the De La Sallian Christian Brothers – a monastic order dedicated to education and service – is a highly regarded Catholic liberal arts university. Saint Mary’s began as a small religious school for men serving only the local area around Winona, MN, but grew throughout the twentieth century to a student body of nearly 6000 US and international students. Saint Mary’s reputation for excellence, academic rigour, and religious commitment attracts students. 

U.S. News & World Report ranks Saint Mary’s as one of the top 50 regional Midwestern universities. The Saint Mary’s Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting online program is designed for working adults who want to supplement their current bachelor’s degree with accounting credentials. Regardless of whether the degree is in business or another field, the 24-30 credit certificate prepares students for accounting careers as well as the CMA and CPA exams. Saint Mary’s generous transfer policy may help to expedite the process even further. 

Saint Mary’s is committed to producing responsible professionals by emphasizing not only technical accounting skills but also business ethics and law.

 

Conclusion

Accounting certificates are frequently offered entirely online by colleges and universities to accommodate working professionals. Some accounting certificates assist non-accounting students in gaining knowledge of the field and advancing their careers in accounting. Others offer current accountants the credits required to sit for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. Some certificate programs also allow students to delve into specialized accounting fields such as forensic accounting or financial accounting. 

Prospective students should compare online accounting certificate programs based on factors such as cost, program outcomes, and prerequisites. Some certificates, for example, require bachelor’s degrees, while others do not. Colleges and universities create online accounting certificates with specific students in mind, and each program offers distinct benefits. 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  • How do I obtain a certificate in accounting?

Students must enrol in an accounting certificate program and complete 6-12 online courses, depending on the program.

 

  • What is the distinction between an accounting certificate and a certification in accounting?

Accounting certificates are offered by colleges and universities to demonstrate graduates’ education. Organizations provide certification to demonstrate the expertise of professionals. Typically, certifications do not necessitate additional coursework.

 

  • What can you do with an accounting certificate?

Accounting certificate holders can work in positions such as bookkeeper and financial clerk. Those who pursue additional education can work as accountants and auditors.

 

  • How much does a certificate program in accounting cost?

Tuition varies depending on the school and program. Applicants should expect to pay $8,000-$10,000 for a certificate.

 

  • Is it worthwhile to pursue an accounting certificate?

Accounting certificates can lead to rewarding careers as well as future accounting education, making them an excellent investment.

 

  • Is a certificate required to work as an accountant?

No. Many accountants, however, choose to earn certificates in order to learn new skills, earn more college credits, and improve their resumes.

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