Accounting is an exciting field for business professionals with upwards of 1.2 million jobs in the United States as of 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the economy continues to recover, opportunities are only expected to grow. Although accounting jobs exist for uncertified professionals, earning an accounting certificate can greatly increase your chance of finding a job while broadening your career possibilities and earning you a higher salary.
Expanded Career Opportunities
An accounting degree is enough to land you an entry-level job, but an accounting certificate gives you credibility with clients and improves your chance of finding an opening. For instance, if a company requires the filing of reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, you must have a Certified Public Accountant accounting certificate. If you are looking to find a job in a certain industry, specific certification programs are available to increase your value in the niche. These accounting certificates lead to roles such as certified fraud examiner, certified internal auditor, certified bank auditor, enrolled agent and many others. If you desire more responsibilities relating to organizational performance measurement, budgeting and financial analysis, you may consider becoming a certified management accountant.
An accounting certificate may take some time and effort to earn, but it can substantially increase earning potential for degree holders. According to the 2012 National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, the average graduate with a bachelor's degree in accounting makes roughly $50,000 per year. However, a CPA makes more than $73,000 on average annually. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of all accountants is approximately $63,000 as of 2012. Most certified accountants enjoy 40-hour work weeks with longer hours at the end of the year and during tax season.
Flexibility for Professionals Switching Careers
Going back to school to learn a new trade generally takes years, and the cost of tuition is no small matter. For professional looking to switch careers, earning an accounting certificate is a wise option, as anyone with a bachelor's degree can complete certain certification programs. For instance, you only need two years of relevant experience, a bachelor's degree and a passing score on the CMA exam to become a certified management accountant. CPAs, on the other hand, must complete additional educational requirements that typically add up to more than 150 semester hours depending on the state.
Even if you already have your accounting degree, earning an accounting certificate is a smart move if you want to find your dream job or increase your value with your current company. Some employers are willing to pay out of pocket for accountants to take the CPA exam, so check with your organization before making your decision.
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