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Accounting Specialist Certificate Program

Program at a Glance

  • 15-18 months
  • 5 online courses
  • $3,740-$4,400
  • Eligible for VA Benefits
  • Included on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL), as approved by Yolo County

Senior-level Accounting Training

Take your accounting education to an advanced level with our online Accounting Specialist Certificate Program. Acquire a thorough understanding of the principles and practices of accounting and financial reporting in order to excel in a career in accounting.

What You’ll Learn

The primary goal of the Accounting Specialist Certificate Program is to enhance and hone your accounting skills and to prepare you for a senior-level position in accounting. In this program, you will:

  • Gain an understanding of concepts and theories underlying current best practices in accounting
  • Develop the analytical skills necessary to evaluate accounting and reporting methods, examine audit processes and develop internal control processes and procedures
  • Learn to expand accounting applications to a wide variety of business and financial settings

What You Get

Our program offers:

  • Online convenience
  • Flexible learning: watch our weekly, pre-recorded lectures whenever it fits into your schedule then cement what you’ve learned by completing assignments and engaging in discussion forums with fellow classmates and your instructor
  • An efficient pathway for gaining advanced knowledge geared toward experienced accounting professionals
  • Access to exceptional instructors with years of industry experience
  • Advanced accounting methods and current best practices that can be applied immediately to your business or job
  • Coursework that counts towards CPA requirements, if you are a candidate

Fast Track

Save 15% on the cost of the Accounting Specialist Certificate by enrolling in the Fast Track option. Learn more.

Please note: this certificate, along with the Accounting Principles Certificate, replaces the previously offered Accounting CPA Exam Track Certificate.

Accounting is often considered a “recession proof” industry due to the constant need for the practice in periods of both strong and weak economies.

  • $77,281 is the average salary for CPA accountants and $61,696 is the average salary for accountants and auditors (Glassdoor).
  • The number of accounting and auditor jobs is expected to grow by 10% through 2026, which is faster than the national job growth rate (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Top five states for accounting or auditing employment: California, Texas, New York, Florida and Pennsylvania (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Most accountants and auditors work full time, with 1 in 5 working more than 40 hours per week. Overtime hours are typical at certain times of the year, such as end of the fiscal year or during tax season (Bureau of Labor Statistics).


This program calls for the successful completion of 20 required units of designated online course work with a grade of “C” or better.

Course content is frequently revised to ensure that the program is up-to-date with the latest industry standards. For this reason, you must complete all of the course requirements of your certificate within five years from the day you enroll in the first course. A certificate will not be awarded if the requirements are not completed and your application for candidacy is not received within this timeframe.

These courses count toward the educational requirements to sit for the CPA exam or fulfill continuing education CMA requirements. For more information about the CPA license, please visit the California Board of Accountancy’s Educational Requirements page (click on the Tip Sheet – CPA Licensure Educational Requirements link).

For additional information about our enrollment policies, please click here.

Please note: Students planning to enroll in the Accounting Specialist Certificate Program must have successfully completed the Principles of Financial Accounting course offered by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education or an equivalent course from another university. Contact our program team for more info.

Required Courses

Quarter Academic Credit

Auditing of financial statements is a required skill for advanced accountants and CPAs. Intended for individuals interested in pursuing a professional accounting career, this course prepares students with an understanding of auditing methods and concepts. Through online lecture and instructor-led Q&As, students will learn professional standards and responsibilities, legal liability, audit objectives, types of audits, audit evidence, materiality and audit risk. This class will also cover best practices during the audit process, including planning, the study and evaluation of internal control, tests of transactions, direct tests of account balances, analytical procedures and more. In addition, students will become familiar with audit sampling and the effect of electronic data processing (EDP) on the audit process. By the end of this course, you will possess the knowledge and analytical skills necessary to perform basic financial audits.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate professional ethics
  • Distinguish the authoritative bodies responsible for setting auditing standards, attestation standards, and quality control standards
  • Apply the scope of legal liability inherent in the practice of accounting
  • Utilize the procedures necessary to complete an audit, including an evaluation of audit findings and the auditor’s post-audit responsibilities
  • Describe standard audit reports for public and non-public entities, including available options for audit opinions

Skills You Will Gain

  • Auditing
  • Professional standards, ethics, and legal liabilities of CPAs
  • Internal control
  • Additional assurance services
Course Code
Ethics in Accounting
Quarter Academic Credit

Whether you work in the public or private sector, possessing a deep understanding of the ethical standards and practices of accounting is essential. Through online lectures and instructor-led Q&As, you will learn how to identify and properly manage unethical accounting and taxation practices. Case studies and analysis of the different types of fraudulent accounting and taxation practices will also be explored to illustrate and foster deeper understanding of professional codes of conduct and their application in real-world situations. By the end of this course, you will possess the knowledge and skills to identify and apply ethics in the auditing, taxation and fiduciary professions.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate and manage unethical accounting and taxation practices by organizations and individuals
  • Apply ethical standards per the State Board of Accountancy
  • Practice accounting through professional rules of conduct
  • Analyze unethical behavior including greed, fraud and corruption

Skills You Will Gain

  • Ethical principles and reasoning
  • Ethical frameworks
  • Analysis of fraud and corruption
Course Code
Financial Statement Analysis
Quarter Academic Credit

Focus on the effective analysis of financial statements and how to integrate accounting concepts and principles into your statements. Examine the analytical tools for assessing a company's performance, the concept of quality of earnings and the approaches to valuation. Topics also include balance sheet analysis, asset and business evaluation issues, income statement analysis, profit margins, return on assets and equity and cash flow analysis.

Course Code
Individual Income Taxation
Quarter Academic Credit

Federal income tax law and the Treasury Department’s own regulations weave a complex tapestry of legal requirements that can be complex for new and aspiring accountants to understand. Through online lectures and instructor-led Q&A sessions, you will learn the basic philosophy of taxation, determination of taxable income, allowable deductions and gains and losses on sales and exchanges of property for the individual taxpayer. Emphasis is placed on preparation of federal income tax returns and learning to utilize varied references to deal with tax accounting problems and tax planning. By the end of this course, students will have a fundamental understanding of modern accounting practices and federal income taxation.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply the fundamentals of federal income taxation
  • Have a fundamental understanding of the basic philosophy of taxation
  • Identify taxable income
  • Estimate allowable deductions and prepare a moderately complicated personal income tax return

Skills You Will Gain

  • Federal income taxation
  • Tax determination
  • Deductions
  • Tax form preparation

Course Code
Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations
Quarter Academic Credit

The unique characteristics of governmental and nonprofit organizations require different accounting skills and principles. Designed for students who work for or serve public agencies or nonprofit organizations, this course provides an introduction to the characteristics of governmental and nonprofit accounting, emphasizing various fund types and account groups. Through online lecture and instructor-led Q&A sessions, this course includes a review and evaluation of presently recommended accounting and financial reporting for state and local governmental units. This course also covers reporting policies that nonprofits need to adhere to in order to be in compliance with SB 1262. By the end of this course, you will understand both the theoretical and practical aspects of governmental and nonprofit accounting and will be able to apply those new skills in their day-to-day work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Compare the characteristics that distinguish governmental and not-for-profit entities from for-profit entities
  • Apply the key concepts and terms used in describing the governmental reporting entity
  • Identify and explain contemporary financial reporting issues
  • Utilize benchmarks and performance measures to evaluate NPOs
  • Prepare financial statements using SFAS No. 117

Skills You Will Gain

  • Fund accounting
  • Budgeting and control
  • Reporting, disclosure and financial analysis
  • Managing for Results
  • Auditing Governments and Not-for-Profit Organizations
Course Code

Required Courses

Required Courses Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
Accounting for Governmental and Nonprofit Organizations 4 Online
Auditing 4 Online
Ethics in Accounting 4 Online
Financial Statement Analysis 4 Online Online
Individual Income Taxation 4 Online
  • At Your Own Pace: Take individual courses for a total of $4,400 (or $880 per course).
    • A one-time, non-refundable registration fee of $125 must also be paid in order to receive your certificate.
  • Fast Track: Pay $3,740 in full at the time of enrollment and save $660 on the cost of the program. The $125 registration fee is also waived. Please note that the Fast Track option is not available if paying with VA benefits. Learn more.
  • Textbooks are not included in the tuition fee.

For information about financing your education, please click here.

Ready to take your career in accounting to the next level? Here are your options:

  • Fast Track. Enroll in our Accounting Specialist Fast Track Certificate Program to save 15% on the cost of the program. The $125 registration fee is also waived. Learn more.
  • Register. If you’d prefer to take certificate courses at your own pace, fill out a brief certificate registration form and pay the registration fee. By doing so, you declare your intent to complete the program and lock in program requirements. If you have questions about your course plan or next steps, please email us.
  • Enroll in an individual course. Check out individual courses that are currently open for enrollment. Courses will be applied to the certificate program if you later decide to complete your certificate.
  • Sign up for an information session. Learn more about the Accounting program and certificate options by enrolling in a free information session. If an information session for this program is not currently open for enrollment, click on “notify me,” and we’ll contact you when the next one becomes available.

Questions? We’re here to help. If you’ve got a question, email us or call (530) 757-8777.

Access free career resources. Our students have free access to tools for career planning, resume writing, interview practice and more.