Is there a requirement to earn an accounting degree to become a bookkeeper? This is a very common question asked by individuals who are interested in starting off their careers are entry-level bookkeepers.

While a bookkeeper is a financial record keeper much like an accountant, they are not required to hold a certification or be accredited by a specific organization to practice in any state. While a degree may not be a statewide requirement, employers often set their own qualifications for bookkeeping staff. Read on, and determine whether or not it is in your best interest to earn a certificate or a degree before pursuing a career as a bookkeeper.

No Educational Requirement Does Not Mean a Degree Will Not Benefit You

As a bookkeeper, you will be responsible for keeping accurate records so that you can always stay in good graces with the IRS. You can be self-employed, providing services to several different companies, or work for a mid-sized or large company where you are directly employed. While there are no state laws requiring you to have a certificate or a degree, if you would like to attract companies and show that you are an asset, your educational background is important. This is why taking the time to complete coursework in accounting, business math or finance can benefit you. Completing a degree program will help you even more if you are competing for a position with a large firm that has a great reputation.

Best Educational Paths to Take to Enter the Field

High school students who are in the midst of graduating and adults who are changing career paths all can benefit from studying to enter the field of bookkeeping. The best preparation is entering a reputable and accredited degree program that will help students develop the strong communication skills and technical skills a bookkeeper must possess to succeed. You can choose to either earn a vocational certificate, or to complete a more general Associate’s degree program so that you can land the best positions.

It takes about two years to complete an Associate’s degree program with a focus in accounting to graduate with your degree. If you are intending to secure employment as a bookkeeper, an Associate’s in Applied Science that covers financial accounting and managerial accounting will help you stand out. If you would like to earn your certification through your experience in the field, you can test to become a Certified Bookkeeper through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers by passing an examination. All candidates must have two years of bookkeeping experience to sit for the certification exam. Once you pass this exam, you will be certified for a period of three years.

Related Resource: Become a CPA

The demand for bookkeepers and auditors is on the rise, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth of 10% in the field. If you want to get qualified to enter the field, the best way to earn a reputation is to earn your degree. After you have an entry-level degree, you can gain experience and then move on to testing to become certified through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeeping, who sets the standards within the field. As you can see, there is no requirement for an accounting degree to become a bookkeeper, but having a degree will help you prove that you are an asset.