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, and Green Mountain

Coffee Roasters," Partlow said. "The state's captive insurance industry also employs

many accountants."


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