How to Become a Bookkeeper

Overview & Salaries

Median salary:

Expected growth from 2012-2020:

Specialization Options:
Small business, corporations, payroll, and managerial.

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the company you apply for. Most employers will accept a high school diploma,  or some college as a minimum requirement. If you are looking to get into a competitive or higher paying position, then an associates degree or certificate may be useful for you. Learn more by clicking our “Education Required” tab up top.

(all information above provided by the BLS)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Bookkeeper

What States are Bookkeepers

For bookkeepers, the District of Columbia offers the highest wages in the nation, having an average yearly salary of $51,640 and employing roughly 4,000 people in the career. California offers the highest employment level, having over 168,000 bookkeeping jobs currently, but offering a smaller yearly mean income at $41,910

New York, NY $39,360
Houston, TX $34,170
Boston, MA $39,530
Chicago, IL $36,800
Wash., DC $40,870

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in bookkeeping. Our detailed employment information is pulled from the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, a highly credible government website.

Employment and Information Data for Bookkeeping

Why Bookkeeping

Bookkeepers are the backbone of business in the United States. They are needed in a wide array of businesses from the smallest one person outfit to large multinational corporations. However, the image of the nebbish bookkeeper is on the wane as this versatile professional continues to prove to be an invaluable resource for any business including firms that provide accounting, tax preparation, auditing, and payroll services.

Recommended Bookkeeping Courses

  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Fundamentals of Corporate Finance
  • Introduction to Accounting
  • Auditing
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Financial Modeling
  • U.S. Taxation Introduction
  • Securities Analysis
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

Degrees for Bookkeeping Careers

At a base level bookkeepers produce important financial records for organizations and government agencies. They record financial transactions and monitor all financial records for accuracy. While this position requires a high school diploma, often bookkeepers are trained at their craft on the job and generally have some solid math and computer skills to help get them started.

However, in recent years as business functions become more complex and companies demand more versatile employees, certificate and degree programs have become more popular as a way to advance bookkeeping careers beyond number crunching.

Today many educational institutions – community colleges, universities and online schools – offer robust certification courses for getting started in bookkeeping.

And the National Bookkeepers Association provides certification programs including the industry standard ‘Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Examination.’ Once you’ve become certified career opportunities can open up as more and more organizations today require some type of certification.

Most bookkeeping certificate programs provide hands-on, basic skills training that offers course work that translates well into entry-level work for small and medium sized businesses.

Associate’s Degree
The associate’s degree in accounting will provide bookkeeping courses to help advance a bookkeepers skill set and career. However, there are no advanced degrees in bookkeeping alone.

Each advanced degree in accounting – bachelor and MBA – will provide some elements of bookkeeping.