What are the Different Types of Accounting Certificate Programs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2019
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Accounting certificate programs provide the training necessary to work as an accountant. An accountant is someone who is responsible for the financial management of businesses and individuals. In addition to the core accounting certificate programs to become an accountant, there are a series of post-graduate programs that are quite specialized.

In order to become a certified professional accountant (CPA), there is a specific educational program that must be completed. Candidates must complete a specific course of study, have sufficient, relevant working experience, and successfully complete the Uniform CPA Examination. This exam is very difficult and requires years of preparation and study. Upon successful completion, candidates can use the CPA® designation after their name. The certification exam to become a professional accountant is administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants® (AICPA®).

This process from high school graduation to certification as a professional accountant is between five to eight years in length. The first three to four years are dedicated to the completion of post-secondary training in accounting. The remaining years are dedicated to a combination of gaining working experience in accounting and completing additional courses and examinations.

Professional accounting certificate programs are available part time from universities, colleges, and accounting institutions or associations. These programs all have prerequisites, examinations, and assignments. Upon successful completion, the student typically receives either a certificate or graduate degree.


Advanced accounting certificate programs are usually offered as part of a continuing education program. Common options include various areas of specialization such as auditing, computer accounting systems, system implementation, and forensic accounting. The very nature of accounting encourages requirements for certification in the different aspects, to provide assurances to the level of skill and training received.

Many accounting certificate programs offer their courses though the Internet. The student is provided with access to a secured website, where course materials, instructor lectures, and support services are accessible. Students can submit their assignments online and receive their marks through the same tool. In order to access this type of training, students must have a computer and access to the Internet. Many public libraries have computer stations available free of charge.

People who report the greatest satisfaction with these type of accounting programs have a clear outcome in mind. They are focused, dedicated, and determined to absorb the required information. Many accountants sign up for accounting certification programs to further develop their skills and increase their career options and compensation levels.



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Post 2

@Monika - I'm glad the online classes are working out for your friend. Online accounting certificate programs are definitely not for everyone-some people just do better taking classes in person.

I actually had no idea becoming a CPA took so much schooling. I suppose it makes sense because if an account messes up, it can have some seriously bad effects for their customers.

When I was reading through this article, I was thinking that advanced accounting certificates sound like a really great idea. I think something like that could make an accountant more marketable. But after taking all those classes just to become a CPA, I wouldn't blame an accountant who didn't feel taking even more classes!

Post 1

I have a friend who is taking accounting classes online right now. She got her bachelor's degree in accounting, and it working for the accounting department of a large company. She's working towards getting her CPA, which will really help her advance in her field.

However, since she works full-time she doesn't really have time to take classes. The online classes work really well for her because she's very disciplined-she doesn't have any trouble getting her coursework done. And she can work on her classes whenever she wants, which is a huge bonus. Normally she spends part of her lunch hour studying every day and then studies in the evenings too.

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