If you wish to be your own boss and work with a variety of different clients, and if you wish to do all of this while helping other people and businesses with their finances, then bookkeeping might be the best career choice for you.

The best news? You can achieve all of this without having to spend years and thousands of both your precious time and money. Bookkeepers are responsible for updating and maintaining financial records for individuals or organizations.

This is why bookkeepers are in high demand since they are known to be the backbone of any organization and they help them stay afloat financially.

Wondering how you can excel as a valuable candidate and stand apart from the crowd in this career?

You can do that by becoming certified as a bookkeeper. Obtaining certification for any profession lets employers know that you are passionate about your role and hence will always be preferred as a potential candidate.  However, it is very important that you pick the right training program for your certification.

Let us look at a list of the best schools and certification courses for bookkeepers, what you should look for while deciding on a program, and our methodology.

Top Pick

Key Highlights

  • Thorough curriculum
  • Online classes
  • Lowest tuition fee
  • University Certificate
  • Beginner friendly
  • Externship opportunities
Check out Preppy's Bookkeeper Certification Program ->>

Preppy is an online education platform that is in partnership with Auburn University, which is a nonprofit university. If you wish to enter the field of bookkeeping without any experience, Preppy is the perfect choice for you!

This program offers you the opportunity to learn at your own pace and time schedule, as opposed to scheduled classes.

Preppy offers a 100% online bookkeeping course wherein individuals get to combine their analytical skills and knowledge of bookkeeping.

This course is in partnership with an accredited university (Auburn University) and offers thorough and relevant classes related to bookkeeping that are self-paced.

This course can be completed in just 4 months and has the lowest tuition costs of all other alternatives. Preppy offers great advantages over other programs, making it the most recommended program to enroll in, such as:

  • Offers the cheapest tuition fee (can also be paid in monthly installments)
  • Certificate of Completion from Accredited University
  • Fully online and self-paced
  • FREE LAPTOPS for individuals who pay in full
  • 1-year free access to QuickBooks software for practical application and practice
  • An Externship after course completion for experience and to build your resume

>> Click Here To Learn More About Preppy’s Program

UCLA Extension

Key Highlights

  • Thorough curriculum
  • Online classes
  • Accredited Course
  • Externship opportunities
  • Mid-Level tuition fee

UCLA Extension is a public continuing education institution that is based in Westwood, Los Angeles. This institution is based on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The UCLA Extension program offers online classes by the UCLA curriculum. This course offers candidates the opportunity and skills to incorporate analytical tools and the latest technologies that are used in bookkeeping.

Additionally, the coursework is also made relevant to the industry certification, with a thorough understanding of payroll, bookkeeping, and tax accounting.

This certification program provides candidates with courses on the essentials of accounting and bookkeeping, cloud-based QuickBooks, and payroll taxes.

The best part about this course is that it can be completed both online or in a classroom, and while not the most affordable on the list, the tuition fee is affordable. However, there are still a few cons that we feel should be mentioned:

While the tuition fee is on the lower end, and the course can be completed online, this program does not offer the opportunity for internships or any industry experience after completion of the course.

Loyola Marymount University (LMU)

LMU - Bookkeeper School

Key Highlights

  • Thorough curriculum
  • Online classes
  • Accredited Course
  • Mid-Level tuition fee
  • Lengthy course
  • Not Beginner friendly

Loyola Marymount University is a private organization that is based in Los Angeles, California.  LMU offers candidates any online bookkeeping certification course that can be completed in 6 months. This course prepares the candidates for the certification exam held by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB).

This certification course is designed for bookkeepers with a minimum of two years of experience in accounting or bookkeeping. Although not the lowest-priced option, one of the major advantages of this course is that it is comparatively affordable.

This bookkeeping course provides candidates with the basics of bookkeeping, such as accruals, deferrals, and the adjusted trial balance, correcting any accounting errors and bank reconciliation, payroll, depreciation, inventory, and internal controls in addition to fraud depreciation.

This certification program evidently helps experienced bookkeepers sit for and clear the national certification (AIPB), and we do like how interactive this program is.

This course includes videos, practice quizzes, mock exams, and strategies showing concepts and bookkeeping scenarios, and examples to prepare you best for the upcoming exam.

Again, a big disadvantage that is apparent is that this course is not designed for beginners; only experienced bookkeepers are allowed to enroll in this program.

Triton College

Key Highlights

  • Accredited Course
  • Online classes
  • Short duration of completion
  • Higher tuition fee
  • Not Beginner-friendly
  • No Externship

Triton College is a public community college based in Illinois. They offer online certification courses for professional bookkeepers who want to sit for and clear the national certification exam (AIPB).

Triton College is on the higher end of tuition in this group due to non-resident tuition rates, and one can complete this course in 6 months.

This course is self-paced and offers resources such as videos and hands-on exercises, in addition to mock exams, practice quizzes, and other strategies.

This online certification course helps prepare students for the AIPB exam, accrual accounting, how to identify and correct accounting errors, how to handle tax depreciation, the basics of payroll, and how to use basic internal controls.

This online bookkeeping certification is self-paced nature, completion in a shorter time, interactive classes, two exam vouchers in addition to the necessary workbooks for the AIPB exam, both of which cover the full cost of part one and part two of the Certified Bookkeeper exam.

The biggest disadvantage is that this course does not offer any type of industry experience in the form of internships or externships.

Another disadvantage is that this program is not beginner friendly; an individual wanting to enroll needs to have a prior experience of at least 2 years.

Kennesaw State University

Key Highlights

  • Short duration of completion
  • Interactive sessions
  • Hybrid only classes
  • Not Beginner friendly
  • Externship opportunities

Kennesaw State University is a public research university that is based in Georgia.

This program provides candidates with hands-on QuickBooks practice from inside or outside the classroom. The curriculum also includes general ledgers, assets and liabilities, equity accounts, balance sheets, and income statements.

You will also learn how to compute and record basic tax depreciation and books, manage invoices and bills, reconcile bank and credit card accounts, and provide financial statements for tax preparations.

This certification program is among the cheapest. However, the biggest disadvantage is that it is a hybrid program, which means you will need to attend some scheduled classes in Ohio. This can be especially bothersome for working adults or people with other responsibilities.

There are more disadvantages to this program, such as the fact that there are no externship or internship opportunities offered in this program. Additionally, individuals need to have a minimum of 2 years of experience as bookkeepers before enrolling in this program.

What Makes a Good School for Bookkeepers?

Bookkeepers are the backbone of any organization and hence are mostly in demand. If you want to help other individuals and organizations with their finances, becoming a certified bookkeeper (CB) might be the best career option for you.

You might now be wondering:

How do I choose the right certification course for bookkeeping?

Selecting the right school or course is extremely important as it will help you gain the necessary knowledge and skills required for bookkeeping, in addition to helping you prepare for the national exam.

You can refer to the following criteria, which we also used to select the best possible courses. You can select the courses if it checks one or more of the following criteria:

Online classes

One of the most important criteria for selection of the best school is if it offers an online mode of classes. Online classes are beneficial for a variety of reasons, the most favorable one being that it helps working adults obtain the relevant knowledge and opportunity to get certified from the comfort of their homes.

The second benefit of online classes is the reduced living costs since you won’t need to move to states or cities or have to travel to and from the university for scheduled classes. It is therefore highly recommended that you look for bookkeeping certification courses that are 100% online.

A thorough curriculum

When opting for online education courses, you should mainly look for courses that offer quality training and a solid foundation of curriculum, as this will help you gain knowledge and shine in front of the employer.

Self-Paced Courses

It is evident that each individual has their own style of learning, and learning is not a one-size-fits-all equation.

Since online classes are mostly self-paced, they allow you to learn at your own time schedule and speed. Hence, it is also recommended that you pick a certification course that offers a self-paced course.

All-inclusive tuition costs

It is important for courses to include textbooks and all educational materials within their tuition fees. It can be quite disheartening to encounter a surprise later on when discovering the additional cost of textbooks.

Additionally, if you have been away from academic settings for some time, it might be apparent that textbooks have become exceedingly pricey.


Obtaining certification as a bookkeeper is definitely one of the most effective methods to distinguish yourself among potential employers. Another strategy to leave a positive first impression is to gain practical experience before entering the job market.

Therefore it is recommended to seek courses that provide externship opportunities. It’s important to note that not all training programs include this feature, so we advise focusing on the courses listed above that do offer such practical experience.

The Importance of Bookkeeper Training

Based on the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects for bookkeepers appear highly favorable.

Additionally, there is an important point to consider: obtaining certification as a bookkeeper provides a much more practical means of determining if the field of accounting is genuinely suited to your interests and aspirations.

Every year, numerous individuals decide to pursue a career as an accountant, influenced by its potential for financial success and reputation. So they invest substantial amounts of money and time in attending accounting schools, diligently preparing to pass certification exams such as the CPA.

In some cases, individuals even face the challenge of multiple attempts before succeeding. However, it is not uncommon for some of these individuals, after working as accountants for several years, to discover that the profession is not the right fit for them.

By working as a bookkeeper, you can gain firsthand experience and insight, enabling you to assess whether a career as an accountant aligns with your skills and interests before investing significant resources in pursuing it further.

OnlineDegree.com Methodology

There are many bookkeeping certification programs that exist, but it is important to acknowledge that not all of these programs are of equal quality.

To compile this list, here are a few preferences of courses that meet the following criteria (and naturally, the more criteria met, the better):

  • Online programs instead of traditional campus-based ones.
  • Non-profit institutions as opposed to for-profit entities.
  • Accelerated duration, allowing for quicker completion of the program.
  • Comprehensive preparation for certification exams.
  • Self-paced learning options to accommodate individual schedules.
  • Inclusion of textbooks and other learning materials in the program cost.
  • Instructor-led courses for a guided learning experience.
  • Provision of externships to acquire valuable practical experience.

By enrolling in one of such programs, you can become a certified bookkeeper in as little as 6 months.