How Much Does Bookkeeping School Cost?
Bookkeeping School Prices
A bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining a company's financial records. The position requires strong math, accounting, and communication skills as well as the ability to use software programs such as QuickBooks. No formal training is required to become a bookkeeper, although some organizations prefer bookkeepers to hold an associate's degree in accounting or a related field. Motivated individuals can choose to become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB).
Here's what prospective bookkeepers should know about the profession:
Salary and Job Prospects
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups bookkeepers together with accounting and auditing clerks. BLS estimates that people working in these professions can expect to earn just over $35,000 per year (or nearly $17.00 per hour). Top-earners in this field bring home more than $54,000 per year.
The number of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerk positions is expected to grow by 14% between 2010 and 2020, a rate that is about as fast as all other occupations. BLS notes that the demand for bookkeepers is closely related to overall economic growth. A stronger economy should therefore produce more bookkeeping positions, while a weakened economy could see a decrease in bookkeeping jobs. Learn more about bookkeeping clerks by reading the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Earning an associate's degree in accounting may improve your job prospects, but isn't necessarily required to become a bookkeeper. Completing the degree takes two years of full-time study. In lieu of a degree you might consider simply taking some accounting courses at a community college. Formal classroom training in software such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel might also be necessary (or at the very least beneficial).
In order to earn the CB distinction a candidate must:
- Have 2 years of work experience
- Pass a 4-part exam
- Sign a Code of Ethics
- Meet a continuing education requirement (3-year interval)
Certification is provided by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeeper (AIPB) as well as the National Bookkeepers Association (NBA).
A certificate in bookkeeping teaches students the skills necessary to become a CB. Certificate programs are offered by colleges and universities, both on-campus and online. They can often be completed in a single semester. Certification requirements vary by school; check with individual institutions to learn more.
Bookkeeping School Costs
- U.S. News estimates that a year of tuition at a community college averages less than $3,000 (or around $6,000 to complete a 2-year associate's degree). This cost, however, may not include additional fees. Room and board also costs extra. Contact schools to find out what types of financial aid are available to students.
- Completing a bookkeeping certificate program might cost $1,500 to $3,000. Again, requirements and costs can vary significantly between schools.
- A QuickBooks training course might cost $500 to $1,000.
- Taking the CB exam costs $225 for AIPB members and $260 for non-members.
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