How much will an accounting course cost you?
Short answer: It varies.
Long answer: Your accounting course cost depends on what you study, where you study, and how you study.
All accounting courses below determine “what you study”; the delivery, whether online or face-to-face, determines “where and how you study”. You may also want to consider possible career outcomes as you finish your accounting studies. Ok, so that wasn’t that much longer. Let’s take a few minutes and flesh that answer out a little more!
Accounting short courses
To learn basic accounting principles, it costs very little. You’ll probably be able to pick up most of the essential principles by spending some time researching accounting online and taking the time to practice those skills. Some sites (usually government or advertising supported) have accumulated large databases of knowledge for your use. This will cost you just your time and internet access costs.
If you’re not confident in your online research skills, or if you’d like someone to package accounting basics for you, there are introductory accounting courses available for a small cost ($100-200 is quite normal). These basic courses can easily be found online, but it’s questionable how much value they offer, compared to the free resources readily available.
Qualified accounting courses
You’ll find a big leap between basic accounting courses and those that offer a genuine and valued qualification you can put on your resume when you apply for work in the financial services industry.
Most decent intermediate accounting courses that teach you real skills – like the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping – run for around a year or two, full time. The price also increases – you’ll pay around $1,300 for a Certificate 4 qualification in accounting (FNS40217) or $1,300-$10,000 for a Diploma of Accounting – but at the end of it you’ll have valuable skills and a nationally recognised qualification.
Unfortunately for international students in Australia, if you don’t have access to Commonwealth supported places, prices for these courses can be much higher. Do your research before you enrol!
To check the average course fee and more details about the certificate and diploma, you might want to check My Skills – Australia’s Training Directory.
Advanced accounting courses
Not satisfied with those options? Try a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting! You’ll have the opportunity to develop an intimate knowledge of accounting and high-level accounting skills over the normal 3-year full-time schedule! Fees can run up to $11,000+ per year for an Australian domestic student with access to HECS-HELP; and $21,000+ for international students.
You can also continue your education with post-graduate, master, and doctoral studies in accounting. These can run for various lengths of time, anywhere from a semester to many years depending on your program and workload. Enquire with a higher learning institution to find out their course fee structure for advanced degrees in accounting.
Online vs classroom study
One way to save money is to study online accounting courses in Australia. Free courses or cheap, basic courses are often run online anyway as it’s the most cost-effective method of delivery in most cases.
Once you start paying for quality Certificate IV or Diploma level Accounting qualifications, the difference between online and classroom-based tuition can be significant. Taking a competitive online accounting program can save you $100s or $1000s over face-to-face instruction. University degrees can also be cheaper when delivered online. Many people also enjoy the non-monetary benefits of online education – flexible schedules, less time spent commuting, self paced learning, among others. Studying online does require you to be effective at time management and disciplined about completing your study.
Whichever option you choose, don’t forget the little extra costs you need to add to your expenses – textbooks, internet connections, computers, transport and/or parking fees, plus time spent travelling to-and-from from TAFE or university.
Career outcomes of your accounting studies
Which course is right for you? If you want to learn accounting for your own personal finances or to run your own small business, you’ll likely be able to learn what you need with online research or a basic accounting course.
However! If you’d like to formalise your accounting skills and earn a qualification that can be put on your resume, and find work in the financial service industry, it definitely helps to get one of the professional accounting courses and work hard to develop your practical skills.
A recent conversation with a bookkeeping services company based in Australia revealed that they require applicants for their bookkeeping and accounting roles to have a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping as a minimum qualification. Additionally, they do their own testing of job candidates to evaluate skills, so it really pays to know your stuff.
Many companies will continue to invest in professional development for you and the rest of the team. You can also pursue more training opportunities on your own – many people start with a Certificate 4 Accounting and then continue learning while they’re also working and earning an income in the accounting profession. The Certificate IV is the preferred entry path for the Diploma of Accounting, and students can then progress to an Advanced Diploma of Accounting, and even university.
So choose a course that suits you and get into it! You can’t finish if you never start and there is no time better than now to get on your way to a new accounting career.
By William Cowie
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