Choosing between an Accounting Certificate and a Degree

Accounting Certificate Vs. Degree


So you wanna make a choice between an accounting certificate and a degree? Let’s break it down. So we earlier established that accountants are indispensable in any business whether profit or nonprofit. Whether it is a Fortune 500 or a sole proprietorship, their role is highly critical for the smooth running of the business.

We can never emphasize enough that it is a very wise investment decision to become an accountant and there is no need to think twice about it as it guarantees job security and fat paychecks because of the important role they play in the various organizations.

However, an aspiring accountant may be torn between wanting to acquire either an accounting certificate and a degree to make this grand dream come to reality.

There are so many factors to consider in making a choice between whether to go for an accounting certificate or a degree. This ranges from cost to study time and so on.

We will do our best to help you make an informed decision on this thorny subject matter.

 The differences between an accounting certificate and a degree.

A certificate in accounting makes you gain the foundation of the theories and practice needed to kick-start a career in accounting. You are taught everything from balance sheets to cash handling, cost controlling, high-level reporting, SEC requirements etc. You will best fit in for roles as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk, accounting assistant. The starting salary levels range from between $35000 to $50000 annually.

The certificate is best for people who already have a business degree but requires select accounting skills to have a foot in the door or is working towards the Certified Public Accountant Examination.

If your ambitions make you desire to hold mid-level or senior accounting roles then a degree will be the surest route to make that come to pass.

The starting point is the Bachelors Degree Program either in accounting or in business administration with a specialization in accounting. You will take courses in economics, corporate finance, business law, statistics, and marketing.

With the possession of an accounting degree, you can fit into roles as a financial analyst, auditor, general accountant, payroll officer and many more. The starting salary hovers between $40,000 and $65,000 and there are increases with the passage of time and the accumulation of experience. The earning of six figures a year is also a reality and the Bachelor’s program helps in no small measure to the obtaining of the CPA examination.

A step towards obtaining a certificate in accounting without necessarily possessing a degree is to enter the world of managerial accounting through the obtaining of the CMA degree.

Students with a three to four-year degree are allowed to take the examination. It doesn’t really matter what you studied as long as the degree was gotten from an accredited and reputable institution it is fine for it.  A graduate of finance or accounting will find it easier but it doesn’t matter the educational background. With determination and diligence, you can succeed and even excel.

There is also the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA). This is a global accounting qualification that is recognized the world over. ACCA members could take the exam without even holding any Bachelors Degree. You must pass fourteen papers in total but there are some exemptions depending on your educational qualifications.

For the CMA, experienced candidates can plead to the IMA that their past working experience or educational experience makes them qualified to take the CMA without a Bachelors Degree. If this plea is accepted, the Bachelor’s Degree is waived and they are allowed to take the examination without it.

Let us look at some schools which offer certificates in accounting for you to make your choice from.

Strayer University

Strayer University has masters degrees in corporate accounting, international accounting, public accounting, forensic accounting.

The university has a Bachelors Degree in accounting, business administration with a concentration in finance, management.

It has the associate degree program in accounting and business administration.

SU also has diploma programs in acquisition and contract management.

Herzing University

Herzing University has the MBA programs with a concentration in accounting and public safety leadership, accounting and project management, accounting and human resources management, accounting and healthcare management.

It offers a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting.

There is also an associate degree program in accounting and a diploma in bookkeeping and payroll accounting.

Kaplan University

Kaplan University has the masters degree in accounting, concentration is tax, audit, government, finance.

It has Bachelors in accounting, tax accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, forensic accounting, public & general accounting.

It has the associate program in accounting.

Capella University

Capella University has the doctorate degree in business administration with a specialization in accounting. It has a masters degree in accounting, masters in accounting with a CPA pathway.

It has Bachelor programs in accounting, finance and business administration.

Ashford University

It has a masters degree in accounting, finance, business economics, MBA.

It has a Bachelors degree in accounting, business administration, international business.

Some schools offer online programs exclusively. Some of them are:

Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon has a doctoral program in MBA. It has masters in accounting, finance. It has Bachelor degree in accounting, finance, economics, business administration, applied management.

Saint John’s University

Saint John’s University offers a masters degree in accounting, MBA in taxation, interdisciplinary business.

Southern New Hampshire University

Southern New Hampshire has a masters degree in accounting, MBA in accounting, forensic accounting, management accounting, taxation.

The University has a Bachelors degree in accounting, financial planning, organizational leadership, business finance.

They also offer an associate degree in accounting, business administration.

Colorado Technical University

It offers an MBA in accounting, finance.

It also has Bachelors Degree in accounting, organizational behavior, finance, business development.

Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers doctorate degrees in accounting, advanced accounting, management.

It also offers a masters degree in accounting.

Keiser University

Keiser University offers the Bachelor of Arts Degree as well as an associate degree in accounting.

University of Scranton

The University of Scranton have the masters of science degree in accounting as well as the MBA in accounting.

They also have a wide range of online programs.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

It offers the masters degree in accounting and an accelerated MBA with a concentration in accounting.

It has an avalanche of online programs available.