A Dean College Accounting student researching what they can do with an accounting certificate

While a general accounting degree can take between four and six years to achieve – and that’s just for a bachelor’s degree – a certificate in the subject can be earned in less than a year. This makes it a great option for an adult or other nontraditional student who wants to change careers, enhance their skills, or set off down a new path. The main question is, what can you do with an accounting certificate? What types of classes do you need to take to earn one and how can they translate into a new career? The answers may surprise you.

What Can You Do with an Accounting Certificate?

Whether someone is working towards an accounting certificate in order to enhance their current career and move up in the company or wants to go in an entirely different job trajectory, attending school can help. With an accounting certificate, you can work as an:

Auditing Clerk or Accounting Coordinator – These roles help auditors by finalizing and filing documents, filling out forms, and gathering all of the information needed either to organize an audit in progress or ensure that an upcoming one goes smoothly. Knowledge and familiarity with financial documents are crucial. 

Assistant Accountant – While the main accountant will be the one double-checking the figures and handling things like tax forms and filings, the assistant accountant is there to help with the bulk of the paperwork and organizational tasks. 

Bookkeeper – Bookkeepers tend to work at smaller businesses and nonprofits, tracking expenses, sales, orders, inventory, and more. They handle all of the minor accounting functions as needed, but frequently consult a professional accountant for more detailed work. 

Earning an Accounting Certificate

One of the advantages of an accounting certificate, besides the fact that it takes less time and fewer classes than a traditional accounting degree, is that every class pertains to the subject at hand. This allows learners to focus solely on accounting, rather than having to go through any of the general education courses usually required of someone seeking a degree.

For example, the accounting certificate program at Dean College consists of six classes, for a total of 18 credit hours. Those classes include topics like financial accounting, taxation, intermediate accounting, and a business elective. The elective allows for some flexibility, as students can choose a specific focus that enhances their knowledge even further and allows them to customize a portion of their learning plan. 

Designed for Non-Traditional and Adult Students

Although traditional students, like those majoring in business management, can earn an accounting certificate as a part of their studies, the program is actually designed for students who fall on the non-traditional side of the spectrum. These adult students, many of whom are balancing full-time work with school, enroll in the certificate program offered through the School of Continuing Studies at Dean College, because of the overall course flexibility. Since some courses are offered online, in-person on a part-time basis, or even through traditional in-person means but, in the evenings, it’s easier for them to find the time to attend classes, still balance their other work and family obligations, and change their lives for the better.