Why This Matters


    There were over 1.4 million accountant and auditor jobs in 2019. By 2029, that number will reach almost 1.5 million.


    Only 24% of accountants perform payroll, bookkeeping, or tax preparation. Others work in many other fields, including finance, insurance, government, and management, and still others are self-employed.


    The average salary for someone with an accounting certificate is $55,492. Some positions, such as senior accountant or accounting manager, can earn even more.

Our Research

We reviewed many certificate programs in accounting, most of which are standalone certificates intended to complement a bachelor’s or master’s degree. There are some programs, though, that are pursued concurrently with a degree program.

Program options include on-campus and online programs, although online programs may have a short in-person requirement.

To make sure all of the certificates are quality programs, we included only regionally accredited options. Many of the accounting certificate degrees are also accredited through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 57 hours to write this article
  • 191 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 333 education programs we compared

The Top 50 Accounting Certificate Degree Programs

Best Accounting Certificate Degree Program

What You Should Know About This Degree

Certificate programs provide specialized education that can help develop skills and improve career prospects, but they aren’t necessarily right for everyone.

Most Accounting Certificates are designed for people who already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in accounting or a related field. These certificate programs normally build on what’s learned in an undergraduate or a graduate program.

If you don’t have academic training in accounting, a few undergraduate certificate programs may be available to you. Some undergraduate Accounting Certificates don’t require previous education on the subject, but the opportunities that these certificate programs lead to can be limited. Depending on your career goals, a bachelor’s degree may be more beneficial.

In some cases, students complete certificate programs and later enroll in a degree program. Should you wish to apply a certificate toward a future degree, make sure your certificate program is accredited so that its courses will be recognized by other schools.

Some accounting work requires a professional license or certification, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. Becoming licensed or certified requires completing a minimum amount of coursework, having a minimum amount of experience, and passing an exam. Consider any additional requirements such as these as you evaluate what accounting career might be right for you.

What’s Next?

Here are a couple of questions to ask when considering accounting certificate degree programs:

  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Certificates may deliver courses synchronously or asynchronously. The former format requires attending classes at a specific time, while the latter can be completed on your own schedule. Think about which format would better suit your schedule as you look at certificate options.
  • What tests are required for this online degree? Accounting courses will usually have a final exam, and they may have midterm tests or quizzes. In addition to taking individual course exams, you might have to pass an exam to obtain a specific certification or license after earning your accounting certificate.

Once you know which accounting certificate degree program might work for you, find out what the admissions process entails. Check the admissions requirements and deadlines on a program’s website, or contact each program directly.

Give thought to how you’ll pay for your accounting certificate. Financial aid usually isn’t available for certificates, but programs might have some merit-based scholarships you can access. Additionally, if you’re working, your employer might provide tuition reimbursement.