What Training Does an Accountant Need to Work in a Business?

Pin It

AccountantIf you have a gift for crunching numbers and enjoy creating budgets and financial reports, you might be interested to learn what training an accountant needs to work in a business. Although entry-level positions in accounting are available to individuals with high school diplomas or associate’s degrees in accounting or finance, most accountants are required to complete a four-year degree. Here’s a closer look at available accounting jobs and the required training for each:

Paraprofessional Accounting Jobs

If you want to work in accounting without becoming an accountant, there are a few jobs available in a variety of different businesses. Bookkeepers and clerks are not required to have degrees in accounting, and many only have high school diplomas. However, some companies require clerks to seek certification with the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. To become a certified bookkeeper, you must have a minimum of two years of full-time experience or the part-time equivalent. You must also pass a four-part certification exam and abide by the institute’s code of ethics. A similar certification is also available from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers.

As of May 2012, median pay for bookkeepers and accounting clerks was $35,170, about the same as the median annual salary across all occupations nationwide. In order to advance to positions as auditors or accountants, bookkeepers and clerks need to pursue further education.

Jobs for Accountants

To become an accountant, you need to complete a minimum of a four-year degree program in accounting or a related field. To become a certified public accountant (CPA) you need to complete 150 hours of coursework and pass the certification exam. Some institutions of higher learning have accounting programs that include the entire 150 credit hours required for CPA preparation. You can also become an accountant by completing a 120-hour degree program in accounting and deciding later whether or not to pursue a master’s degree and certification.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants make considerably more money than bookkeepers and clerks. In May 2012, the median salary for accountants and auditors was $63,550 yearly, and only the bottom 10 percent of accountants make less than $40,000 per year. Additionally, projected job growth in this field from 2012 to 2022 is 13 percent, slightly higher than the national average of 11 percent. These statistics indicate that a career in accounting is worth the time and money spent on a four-year degree.

Accountants often achieve upward mobility within companies. Many corporate executives have educational backgrounds in accounting as well as experience working as accountants or auditors. With the right education and a solid work history, accountants can become managers and financial officers within large firms.

Related Resource: What a Bookkeeper Does

Job opportunities within the accounting industry are easily keeping pace with job growth across the nation. As in many career fields, opportunities and earning potential increases for accountants based on education, experience and certifications. Now that you understand the training an accountant needs to work in a business, do you think this career is right for you?

Pin It