A bookkeeping certification is not a requirement for most firms; however it can help you to land a better pay rate at a larger, more established firm.
It is important to realize that 8 out of 10 bookkeepers are either licensed or at least certified.
If you don’t have the piece of paper to match your skill set many employers won’t even bother interviewing you.
This being said, if you want to go into the bookkeeping career field you should start with obtaining at least a bookkeeper certification and maybe a few others that pertain to the career field.
This is How to Get Certified
There are a couple of different routes one can take to obtain a bookkeeping certification. One of those is to go to college for bookkeeping; many colleges specifically aimed toward bookkeeping will include the cost of testing for the certificate in their program.
However, it is imperative that you keep in mind that college or a technical school can be much more costly than simply taking the exam.
If you have been working in the bookkeeping career field for a lengthy amount of time and are up to date on current practices and programs, it might be best to just take the exam.
You can also go through the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers. They offer courses to help you pass the exam but you are not required to take them to take the exam and receive certification.
Enrolling in Prep Courses
The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers charges $100 for members of NACPB, or if you are not a member they charge $150. The exam covers several different areas including accounting, analyzing business transactions, payroll computations, records, and payment, and several others.
The exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions, and is an online exam. If you do not pass your initial bookkeeping certification test, NACPB charges $50 for members and $75 for non-members to retake the exam.
NACPB also offers several other certification programs such as payroll, QuickBooks, MS Excel 2007 & 2010, and tax certification.
More Accounting Prep Options
The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers also offers courses and examinations. However, their program seems to be much more intense than that of NACPB’s. Bookkeepers must pass a four part exam that is on a national level.
The first two parts of the exam are taken in a brick and mortar building, not online. The first two parts of the test must be taken at a Prometric center, which is a third party testing company, of which there are 300 locations nationwide.
The last two portions of the test might be able to be taken online, but this is uncertain as no information was given.
Getting Certified Looks Good to Employers
In order to up your chances of gaining employment with a household name firm, it is best to obtain as many certifications as possible; you could also look into obtaining a bookkeeping license.
As with all career fields, success generally begins with education. Statistics on several different career fields have shown that those with a formal education, license, or certifications earn much more than those who only have the minimal requirements for the field, or are working off of experience alone.
How Much Will You Get Paid?
Bookkeepers earn on average anywhere from $10 to $24 per hour. Those with certifications and/or bookkeeping licenses usually begin somewhere in the middle of the pay scale.
If you are looking to start out at a higher pay rate, it is important to obtain a certification for bookkeeping. In general to maintain your bookkeeping certification you are required to complete 24 hours of practicum per year.
Practicum is basically training updates on different policies such as tax laws.