A great career if you have a head for numbers

A career in accounting is more than balancing debits and credits - if you've got a passion for numbers and a sophisticated grasp of how to manage them, accounting could be the path for you.

Getting Educated

Most accounting jobs require more than a high school diploma. With increasing accountability and rapid changes to laws (fueled by the Internet, homeland security issues, accounting scandals and more), there's an ever-increasing need for higher education in the field.

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Certification in accounting will also make you more hirable and will give you a better chance at moving up in your career. Licensing for CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is provided by state boards under strict guidelines. Almost all states now require certified accountants to have a college degree or higher, though a few states may grant credit for experience.

Key advantages for enrolling in an accounting program at a community college include:

Community colleges can offer you the chance to sharpen skills in mathematics, as well as theory and other aspects of accounting.

If you're already employed, learning accounting at a community college is the perfect way to integrate learning with your current career and other commitments.

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants uses a four-part uniform CPA Examination that is adapted by all states to suit their own purposes. Many community colleges offer prep courses to help you study and there are also a number of online resources available to help, such as study guides and sample test questions.

Job Prospects

The job outlook for accountants is good, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the next 10 years, accounting jobs are expected to increase parallel to economic growth in all areas. Also, nearly every business has some involvement with an accountant or the accounting process - whether it's a small mom and pop store on the corner or a multi-billion dollar corporation, someone is there to manage the dollars that are coming and going.

Corporate scandal exposures in recent years have driven the field of accounting back to basics - it's now much more about accountability. Those who are mature, responsible and in possession of a strong sense of ethics will be able to take advantage of this complimentary shift in the job market.

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