Why This Matters

  • MORE THAN A MILLION JOBS ARE AVAILABLE

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

  • ACCOUNTANTS CAN WORK IN 5+ ENVIRONMENTS

    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.

  • EARN MORE THAN $50,000 PER YEAR

    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 10 Best Accounting Certificate Degree Programs

Framingham State University

Intelligent Pick

Framingham State University’s Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting provides a solid foundation in accounting for students with at least a high school degree or GED. The program consists of six courses, one of which may be waived if you have completed previous accounting work. In addition to four core required courses — Introduction to Financial Accounting, Introduction to Managerial Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I, and Intermediate Accounting II — you also get to choose two of three elective courses: Accounting Information Systems, Cost Accounting, and/or Taxation. This in-person program is a good fit if you live in or near Framingham, Massachusetts.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Framingham, MA
  • Credits required to graduate: 8
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $12,920 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 58%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 508-626-4500

Learn more

Craven Community College

Best for Small Business Accounting

Craven Community College’s Small Business Accounting Certificate program can be taken on its own or in conjunction with another degree or diploma program. The certificate program includes coursework that teaches you accounting skills geared specifically to computing, classifying, and recording numerical data to keep financial records for a small business. In this 18-credit-hour course sequence, you learn generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), accounting software, payroll accounting procedures, and income tax preparation. The curriculum consists of six courses specifically tailored to small business accounting: Principles of Financial Accounting, Federal Income Taxes, Accounting Software Applications, Business Law, Entrepreneurship, and Introduction to Computers. The certificate program is housed on campus in New Bern, North Carolina.

Things to consider:

  • Location: New Bern, NC
  • Cost per credit: $76 (in-state); $268 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 18
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Graduation rate: 28%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 252-638-7370

Learn more

Central Carolina Community College

Best Scholarships

Central Carolina Community College’s Payroll Accounting Certificate is a 17-credit-hour program with an emphasis on payroll accounting. You take six courses in total: Principles of Financial Accounting, Personal Finance, Introduction to Computers, Individual Income Taxes, Payroll Accounting, and Accounting Software Applications. Located in Sanford, North Carolina, Central Carolina Community College offers a range of scholarships within the school as well as resources to help you locate funding beyond the school. These scholarship opportunities help make the already affordable certificate program even more accessible, especially for North Carolina state residents. In addition to the payroll accounting certificate program, Central Carolina offers several other accounting and finance degrees, diplomas, and certificates to pursue.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Sanford, NC
  • Cost per credit: $76 (in-state); $268 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 17
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $6,843 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 32%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 919-718-7201

Learn more

Ogeechee Technical College

Best for Adult Learners

Ogeechee Technical College’s Computerized Accounting Specialist Certificate program focuses on computerized accounting procedures and accounting software. Among the topics you can study are principles of accounting, computerized accounting, spreadsheet fundamentals, and basic computers. The 21-credit certificate program consists of six occupational courses: Financial Accounting I, Financial Accounting II, Computerized Accounting, Spreadsheet Applications, College & Career Success Skills, and one elective. The program is a good fit for adult students who want to increase their confidence and competency with accounting-related computer skills. Located in Statesboro, Georgia, Ogeechee Technical College also offers a more involved Associate of Applied Science in Accounting as well as an accounting diploma.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Statesboro, GA
  • Cost per credit: $100
  • Credits required to graduate: 21
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Graduation rate: 40%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 912-681-5500

Learn more

North Arkansas College

Best for International Students

North Arkansas College’s Accounting Certificate program, located in Harrison, Arkansas, prepares you to work successfully in an accounting department of a large company or to perform most of the accounting functions for a smaller company. The certificate can be completed on its own or as part of an Associate of Applied Science in Accounting. Compared to other similar programs, North Arkansas College requires more credits: 30 total. In your first semester, you will take 15 credit hours in the following courses: Introduction to Business, Business Mathematics, Introduction to Information Technology, Human Relations, and either Introduction to Accounting or Accounting Principles I. In your second semester, you will take 15 credit hours in the following courses: Financial Mathematics, Spreadsheet I, Computerized Accounting, English Composition I, and either Accounting Principles I or Accounting Principles II. International students are particularly welcome.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Harrison, AR
  • Cost per credit: $74 to $124 (in-state); $169 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $4,429 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 36%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 870-391-3505

Learn more

University of Alaska Fairbanks

Best Advisors

University of Alaska Fairbanks’s Accounting Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program is specifically geared toward students who have completed a nonaccounting undergraduate degree and want to prepare to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensure exam. This certificate program is designed to meet the requirements to take the CPA exam in Alaska, so if you plan to practice in another state, you will need to check their requirements. The two-semester program consists of 30 credits divided across a combination of the following courses: Income Tax, Managerial Cost Accounting, Intermediate Accounting I, Intermediate Accounting II, Internal and Government Auditing, Auditing, Accounting Information Systems, Advanced Accounting, Advanced Cost Accounting and Controllership, Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting, Advanced Taxes, Internal and Government Auditing, and Student Investment Fund or Business Analytics. University of Alaska Fairbanks’ advisors can help you make the most of the certificate program and ensure that you meet all the requirements to take the CPA exam.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Fairbanks, AK
  • Cost per credit: $234 (in-state); $800 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 30
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $5,270
  • Graduation rate: 32%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 907-474-7461

Learn more

Northeastern University

Best for Financial Decision-Making

Northeastern University’s Graduate Certificate in Accounting and Financial Decision Making is a short but powerful program that can be completed in eight months through full-time in-person study, eight months to three years through in-person, part-time study, and five months to two years through online study. The program consists of five to six courses that are held live on campus in Boston, Monday through Thursday evenings at 5:20 p.m. and 7:30 p.m, or online when it suits your schedule. If you plan to someday pursue a Masters of Business Administration, 12 to 15 of the credits earned in this graduate certificate program can be applied toward that degree. The curriculum focuses on financial statement preparation and analysis, resource acquisition, capital budgeting and structure, strategic decision-making, risk management, and information technology, and it teaches you the key tenets of high-stakes financial decision-making.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Cost per credit: $1,640
  • Credits required to graduate: 12-15
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $16,930 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 87%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]

Learn more

University of Arizona

Best in the Southwest

University of Arizona’s Summer Accounting Certificate Program is a nine-unit, one-summer program intended for nonaccounting majors at University of Arizona Eller College undergraduates. In order to take part in the summer program, you must have met the requirements for Eller Professional Admission and been accepted into an Eller Business major (BSBA) other than accounting. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 is also required. The summer semester is divided into two seven-week sessions, during which you take the required courses Intermediate Accounting I and Intermediate Accounting II and elective courses Principles of Federal Taxation and Cost and Managerial Accounting.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Tucson, AZ
  • Credits required to graduate: 9
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $13,350 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 73%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

Learn more

University of Massachusetts Lowell

Best in the Northeast

University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell’s Certificate Program in Accounting is a six-course, 12-month program with one of the most affordable tuitions in the nation. UMass Lowell’s program could be a good fit for you if you have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and want to complete the required undergraduate-level courses in accounting required to apply to most graduate-level accounting degree programs. All courses from this program can be used to fulfill the prerequisite course requirements for UMass Lowell’s Master of Science in Accounting, which is available entirely online. The six courses included in the certificate program curriculum are Intermediate Accounting I, Intermediate Accounting II, Cost Accounting, Federal Income Taxes, Accounting Information Systems, and Auditing.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Lowell, MA
  • Cost per credit: $340
  • Credits required to graduate: 18
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Room and board: $13,380 per academic year
  • Graduation rate: 57%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 978-934-2474

Learn more

Wayne Community College

Best Extracurricular Activities

Wayne Community College’s Accounting and Finance/Bookkeeping Certificate program offers small class sizes of 15 to 20 students and a high degree of flexibility. You can choose to complete coursework on campus in Goldsboro, North Carolina, fully online, or in a hybrid format. The 17-credit curriculum consists of the following six courses: Principles of Financial Accounting, Introduction to Business, Introduction to Computers, Payroll Accounting, Accounting Software Applications, and Spreadsheet. Wayne Community College has a number of student groups, activities, and opportunities to get involved with campus government, so if you are looking for a school with a lively extracurricular program, this could be a good fit.

Things to consider:

  • Location: Goldsboro, NC
  • Cost per credit: $76 (in-state); $268 (out of state)
  • Credits required to graduate: 17
  • Academic calendar: Traditional semester
  • Graduation rate: 23%

More program information:

  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCC)
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 919-739-6720

Learn more

Other Accounting Certificate Degree Programs to Consider

Best Accounting Certificate Degree Program
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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.