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17 Top Accounting Certificate Online Programs Under $3,000

Graduates of accounting certificate online programs

Getting more education improves your job opportunities. One of the most in-demand skills for jobs is to learn accounting. If you are not ready to commit to a longer degree program, or just want quick training to get you a job, then you’ll want to find a top accounting certificate online to get you started. But which certification is best?

Getting an online accounting certificate does not have to take you a long time or cost you a fortune, and it can help you apply for many different entry-level jobs in all types of businesses. Everyone needs to keep track of money, and you can even specialize in something like taxes or doing payroll. But the best thing about getting accounting training is that it is a skill that can get you a job tomorrow, but will help you throughout your whole life, no matter where your career interests take you.

What is an Online Accounting Certificate?

Accounting certificate programs are educational programs that provide training in basic accounting skills. Shorter than a full degree program like an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, accounting certificate online programs can usually be completed quickly and give students real-world skills that are in high demand in the workplace.

If you have a high school diploma or a GED, getting an accounting certificate online can be a terrific way to get training that will qualify you for entry level accountancy jobs like accounting assistant or accounting clerk. More focused on skills than general education, the topics covered in accounting certificate programs can be directly applied in a wide variety of jobs in multiple industries.

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Is an Accounting Certificate Online Worth It?

According to, the average salary for people with an accounting certificate is $54,735. You may not make that much in your first job, but the possibility of making a good salary is much higher with an accounting certification than with just a high school diploma. The training in a certificate program is geared towards skills that are needed every day in all kinds of offices, from small businesses all the way up to large corporations. With an online accounting certificate, you can seek jobs as a tax preparation assistant, an accounts receivable clerk, a bookkeeper, an accounting assistant, and many other titles.

People who enroll in accounting certification programs may have just finished high school and are seeking an extra skill set that will help them get a job. Others may be already working in an office, but wish to gain more knowledge of accounting to help them take on more duties or switch jobs. The skills taught in the best online certificate programs are sought by employers of all types, and they are skills that will help throughout a career in any industry or small business.

Accounting certificates from online programs can prove to an employer that you have successfully learned all the skills that will make you a good hire for an entry level accountancy job. When you are trying to figure out which online certification is best, you may wish to consult your State Board of Accountancy to see if there are any requirements in your state that you will need to meet. In most cases, you will not need a certification from the State Board of Accountancy for jobs, but you may need to become state certified to be a bookkeeper or tax preparer. Some online accounting certificate programs will get you ready to sit for national certification exams that will help you even further with getting a job.

You may have heard the letters “CPA”, which stand for “certified Public Accountant” and you wonder is CPA a degree or diploma? This may be a title you will want to shoot for in the future, but becoming a CPA requires getting a bachelor's degree. You can start now with a certificate and get some job experience to help you decide if you will want to become a CPA in the future.

Accounting Certificate Classes

The advantage to getting accounting certifications rather than enrolling in an associate's degree in accounting is that you will more quickly have a credential that you can present to a potential employer. It is also less expensive to get a certificate than a full degree, and you can often obtain jobs or upgrade your current job with just the certificate. Many accounting certificate programs will count towards an associate’s degree if you decide to pursue one later, but in the meantime, you have provable workplace skills. An associate degree program will also have many general education requirements to give you a well-rounded education, in addition to specific career-ready skills courses. But for getting just the skills you need to get started working in accounting or bookkeeping, a certificate program is your best route.

Most accounting certificate programs can be completed in five months to a year of study, with anywhere from three to seven required courses. Many will allow students to study part time or at their own pace, so you can keep your current work and family commitments while you study. The programs on our list of most affordable accounting certificate programs will have between nine and 21 credits of coursework, with an emphasis on the foundations of accounting along with specific accounting computer programs like QuickBooks, Excel, and Peachtree. There are certification exams in software applications that some of the programs will prepare you to take, which can be an extra credential to add to your resume.

Some accounting online programs will have specialized online accounting courses like tax preparation, forensic accounting, small business accounting, or other special areas you may want to study. In addition to accounting courses, some certificates include one or two courses of basic educational foundations such as English composition, which can help top off your office-ready skills. With some programs, your courses are set, while others will allow you to choose among a set of possible accounting courses.

Prestigious Online Accounting Certificates

Colorado Christian University

The 12-credit online Certificate in Accounting from Colorado Christian University is a great way to get practical skills to apply to a work situation, or to get credits that you can later transfer to a bachelor’s degree in accountancy, business, information systems management, organizational management, HR, or project management. With excellent programs for military-connected families, CCU provides special tuition rates and support services. The program focuses on values-based decision-making, corporate financial accounting, budgeting, and tax, among other topics. Students can customize the program by choosing two electives as part of their certificate program. For applicable job skills, a Christian perspective, and military members, the certificate from CCU is an excellent choice.

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Liberty University

Liberty University’s online Certificate in Accounting offers students focused training in accounting skills without going to the trouble of getting a full degree. The program is 21 credits, with seven courses, and can be completed in as little as two semesters. Online accounting courses are 8 weeks long and completely flexible to fit around your current life. Liberty University is a nonprofit Christian school with a mission to make world-class education affordable and accessible. Tuition pricing includes online textbooks, making this even more affordable and convenient for students from anywhere. As a way to get the in-demand accounting skills that will help you in almost any job field, Liberty offers a convenient, in-depth, and cost-effective program.

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17 Top Accounting Certificate Online Programs Under $3,000

Our list includes the most cost-effective online accounting certificate programs that can be completed for less than $3,000. Some will have costs just a bit over $1,000, so you can get this valuable certification without breaking the bank. Look at your options and consider price, scheduling, and what specific courses you are interested in taking. With online certificate programs, you can study from almost anywhere, so you have more great choices for getting career accounting training that you can put to work right away.

  1. Coastline Community College

    Total Cost (In-State): $414 – $460

    The online Intermediate Accounting Certificate of Specialization from Coastline Community College is nine credits of coursework that covers the topics that are tested in the Financial Accounting and Reporting section of the CPA exam. The Advanced Accounting Certificate of Specialization is just 10 credits long, and covers more advanced topics for students. For students who have some familiarity with accounting, and wish to get more skills in reporting and interpreting financial data, these are perfect short certificate programs to enhance their skills.

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    Intermediate Accounting Certificate of Specialization
    Advanced Accounting Certificate of Specialization


  2. Penn Foster Career School

    Total Cost (In-State): $877

    The online Accounting Essentials Certificate from Penn Foster Career School is self-paced, mobile-friendly, and includes support from success coaches and instructors. This program comes from one of the most experienced career education programs, and includes goal-setting and plenty of help to keep you on track while you are getting the skills to succeed in the workplace. Tuition includes unlimited support and all the study materials you will need, and you can interact with your peers on discussion boards. The flexibility of going at your own pace means you can study when you have time, making this a great program for students who don’t have consistent time to study every week.

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    Accounting Essentials Certificate


  3. Northcentral Technical College

    Total Cost (In-State): $950

    For a good foundation in accounting, the online QuickBooks Certificate program at Northcentral Technical College make a great—and quick—route to take. At just 6-7 credits long, it prepares students for the QuickBooks Certified User exam. Northcentral does offer credit for prior learning, so if you have taken an accounting class before, you may be able to forgo one of the classes. If you want a slightly more involved certificate, Northcentral also offers Bookkeeping Technology and Small Business Bookkeeping certificates. Students who just need to learn QuickBooks and get a brief intro to accounting will love this program.

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    QuickBooks Certificate


  4. Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,398

    The online Accounting Technology Specialist Technical Certificate from Florida State College at Jacksonville is 12 credits long and can be completed in five months. The program covers basic English composition as core competency courses, and then cover principles of accounting, and students can choose to take payroll or forensic accounting courses to complete the program.

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    Accounting Technology Specialist Technical Certificate


  5. Coastal Pines Technical College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,401

    With the successful completion of four courses, you can get your online Office Accounting Specialist Technical Certificate from Coastal Pines Technical College. The program is 14 credits of coursework and covers the basics of accounting and office computer training for entry-level jobs in accounting. A high school diploma or equivalent is required, but the program is open to students as young as 16.

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    Office Accounting Specialist Technical Certificate of Credit


  6. Shoreline Community College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,414

    Shoreline Community College offers a number of different online accounting certificate programs. For short and inexpensive certificates, you can choose from the Accounts Receivable Clerk or Payroll Clerk certificates, which are 20 credits long. Or you can choose the Tax Preparer Certificate at 15 hours of coursework. Accounting online students pay very reasonable tuition prices for these very practical certificates, and any one of them can be applied towards Shoreline’s AAS in Accounting. These programs are a perfect way to get the specific training you can use right now, while also considering continuing on towards an associate’s degree in the future.

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    Accounts Receivable Clerk/Accounts Payable Clerk Certificate of Completion
    Payroll Clerk Certificate of Completion
    Tax Preparer Certificate of Completion


  7. Broward College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,475

    The online Accounting Specialist Certificate is the first stage of the associate’s degree offered by Broward College for students wanting to begin their education in these in-demand skills for business. The certificate includes principles of accounting and computer technology along with foundational courses in English composition and speech. Broward also offers an online accounts payable specialist certification which includes the cost of an exam.

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  8. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,560

    The online Tax Preparer Assistance Certificate from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College can be completed in one year of part time study. The 10-credit program is available as online asynchronous coursework or as web conferencing instruction, or a combination of methods. The certificate includes project-based learning that teaches students to file federal and Wisconsin tax returns for individuals and small businesses. For Wisconsin students, this is a perfect program to prepare for work in tax preparation.

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    Tax Preparer Assistant Pathway Certificate


  9. Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,587

    You can start your education in August or January for the online Accounting Bookkeeper Trainee Certificate from Milwaukee Area Technical College. With just three courses, the program prepares students to take both the QuickBooks Certification Exam and the Microsoft Office Excel Specialist Exam. For a good foundational education in accounting, this certificate gives you the skills to pass two useful exams to give you work credentials that are in demand in the workplace.

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    Accounting Bookkeeper Trainee Certificate


  10. McHenry County College

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,639

    The online Bookkeeping Certificate program at McHenry County College provides students with relevant career training in QuickBooks and Peachtree. At just 12 credits of work, this program can be completed in 16 weeks of study. McHenry has “stackable” career track programs that can add on to this certificate to provide further study in accounting, with an associate’s degree, tax practitioner certificate, or the longer accounting certificate program as possible future programs for budding accountants. The bookkeeping course online is a great way to quickly prepare for a job as an accounting clerk, bookkeeper, or entry level accountancy jobs in many types of accounting departments.

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    Bookkeeping Certificate


  11. Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,692

    Students can earn the online Certificate of Proficiency in Accounting at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in just one semester of study. Designed as an embedded part of the AAS in Accounting, this certificate provides students with a basic knowledge of accounting. Courses include Business Math, Accounting 1, Microcomputing, and Success Strategies. For a great intro to careers in accounting, and the training to get you started, the certificate from CCCUA offers many pathways to success.

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    Could not look up degree for "Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas" using "325445"!


  12. Kentucky Community & Technical College System

    Total Cost (In-State): $1,710

    With 9 credits and just three courses, the online Payroll Accounting Specialist Certificate from Kentucky Community and Technical College System offers a basic accounting certificate that has immediate job applications and a specialization. The online accounting courses cover financial and payroll accounting, as well as computer systems for accounting. With online student success coaches, this program has the support to help you make it through the challenge of studying online so that you can complete the training and move on to a job in the field.

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    Certificate in Payroll Accounting Specialist


  13. Des Moines Area Community College

    Total Cost (In-State): $2,172 – $2,715

    You have your choice of three inexpensive online accounting certificate programs from Des Moines Area Community College: Accounting for Entrepreneurs, Accounting Payroll, or just plain Accounting. Each of these certificates is 12-16 credits of work, and can be competed in two or more semesters. The payroll program prepares students for the Fundamental Payroll Certification exam. With very affordable tuition, and the option of the right combination of courses for entrepreneurs, generalists, or payroll clerks, DMACC offers a practical selection for students entering accounting or furthering their business skills.

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    Accounting for Entrepreneurs Certificate
    Accounting Payroll Certificate
    Accounting Certificate


  14. Washtenaw Community College

    Total Cost (In-State): $2,520

    Washtenaw Community College’s online Accounting for Business Certificate is perfect for those looking to get accounting training for entry-level jobs in a wide variety of settings. This 21-credit program covers payroll, QuickBooks, spreadsheets, taxes, computer information systems, and principles of accounting. This good basic foundation in accounting is perfect for students looking to get to work, or who may later want to apply these credits towards an associate’s degree.

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    Certificate in Accounting for Business


  15. Penn Foster College

    Total Cost (In-State): $2,524

    For a thorough yet affordable accounting certificate, the online Undergraduate Certificate in Accounting from Penn Foster offers a terrific program. Mobile-friendly courses with support either by email, phone, or text from instructors ensures that students can get their questions answered. The program is self-paced with goal-setting tools and flexibility to change according to a student’s needs. This program offers an in-depth accounting education that is adjustable and supportive for students to get a good basic understanding of accounting.

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    Could not look up school using "23944"!


  16. Fort Hays State University

    Total Cost (In-State): $2,560

    The online Certificate in Accounting from Fort Hays State University allows students to customize their credential with two required courses and then two electives in accounting. Perfect for people from any industry, this certificate is designed to offer a credential in accounting that is useful for many types of jobs and industries.

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    Certificate in Accounting


  17. Lone Star College System

    Total Cost (In-State): $2,566

    For the fundamentals of accounting, the online Accounting Assistant/Bookkeeping Assistant Certificate from the Lone Star College System might be just the right training. The non-credit fast-track program is intended for students who want to get to work without bothering with admissions testing, and it includes courses in computer basics, QuickBooks, Excel, and accounting functions.

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    Accounting Certificate

Get Started Today!

No matter where you end up in your long career, getting an accounting certificate online is a great place to start. Accounting certifications are a great way to boost your job opportunities right now, but also have lasting positive impact on your employability. If you want to learn accounting, an online certificate is the quickest and cheapest way to get you started. All you have to do is choose which accounting certification is best for you!

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