New Accounting Certificate Starts in Fall 2014
Starting in fall 2014, Johnson State College will offer a new Certificate of Proficiency in Accounting, a program designed to help Vermonters meet new state licensure requirements for accountants without having to enroll in graduate school.
The program emerged in response to Vermont's adoption of interstate equivalency
standards for CPAs and a change in state licensure rules that make it easier for
accountants to practice in other states. Starting in July 2014, Vermont accountants
will need a bachelor's degree and a total of 150 college credits, including 42 credits
in accounting-related classes, and one year of experience. Under current regulations,
Vermont accountants need only 120 college credits — a bachelor's degree — along with
two years of experience.
Three years ago, as Vermont began moving toward the changes, Henrique Cezar,
associate professor and chair of the Business & Economics Department at Johnson
State, recognized that JSC could further serve students interested in accounting careers
by establishing the certificate program.
"It used to be that a bachelor's degree was enough to become a licensed accountant
and sit for the national CPA (certified public accountant) exam, but starting this July,
accountants will need those extra 30 credits, and 42 of their total 150 credits will have
to be in accounting-related courses," Cezar said. "One way to get those credits would be
to enroll in a master's or Ph.D. program, but that's an expensive and demanding route
for people who simply want to become licensed accountants. These are the people for
whom we developed the certificate program."
The program of study is tailored to each student's individual circumstances. Someone who never took any accounting-related courses as an undergraduate would have to earn all 42 of those required credits through the certificate program, while a person with a B.A. in business might need to complete fewer accounting-related courses (but would still need to accrue the required additional 30 credits).
A full-time student could complete the certificate in one year — in two semesters if only
30 credits are needed, or in two semesters plus the summer if 42 credits are needed.
Students enrolled in the certificate program will be eligible for financial aid.
In Vermont and nationwide, the number of accounting jobs is expected to grow over the
next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The annual mean salary for
Vermont accountants is $66,330.
"The job market is fairly competitive for people who are willing to work hard and put
the hours into their studies," said Josh Partlow, chair of Vermont's Board of Public
Accountancy and a partner in the Burlington office of Johnson Lambert LLP. "There are
ample job opportunities out there, and these are good, high-paying jobs."
The image of accountants as "bean counters" is fading, he added, noting that today's
accountants are more focused on auditing controls, and that an accounting degree or
CPA license is extremely versatile in Vermont. "Accountants in Vermont don't work only
in accounting firms, but in nonprofit organizations, schools and hospitals, government
agencies and businesses like as Bruegger's Bagels, Dealer.com and Green Mountain
Coffee Roasters," Partlow said. "The state's captive insurance industry also employs
In addition to launching the Certificate for Proficiency in Accounting, JSC is retooling
its B.A. degree in business to include a new concentration in sport management and
strengthen course requirements for other programs. The changes, coupled with the new
certificate program, will make it possible for students in the business management or
accounting program to earn the credits needed to sit for the CPA exam.
For more information about the accounting certificate program or undergraduate
business programs at JSC, contact Admissions at 802-635-1219 (toll free 800-635-2356) or Admissions@jsc.edu.