Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate Program

Become a CPA in as few as three semesters with our second-degree Accounting Certificate Program.

The Bellarmine Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate Program is designed to help graduates of bachelor’s programs complete Kentucky state requirements for eligibility to take the CPA examination. The program can usually be modified to meet the requirements of other states to take the CPA examination.

A student with an undergraduate degree in business will typically need to complete 8 courses (24 credit hours) to be awarded the certificate in 4 semesters. A student with an undergraduate degree in a non-business field will typically need to complete 13 courses (39 credit hours) to be awarded the certificate in 6 semesters. Students can complete the program in as few as three semesters. Both day and evening classes are available. There are no general education or incidental courses in the program.

Why earn your Accounting Certificate at Bellarmine?

The Certificate in Professional Accounting is specially designed for those who have completed a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than accounting and wish to enter the CPA profession to pursue a career in public accounting (CPA firms), corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Certificate in Professional Accounting qualifies you to sit for the CPA exam under current Kentucky law, which requires 27 semester hours in accounting, 39 semester hours in business (including the accounting hours), and a total of 150 semester hours.

Certificate students are required to complete a total of 39 semester hours, with at least 27 semester hours in accounting. This is designed to be a part-time program and you should be able to complete it in 24 months. All required accounting courses are offered on both day and night schedules.

Program Highlights

The Certificate in Professional Accounting is specially designed for those who have completed a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than accounting and wish to enter the CPA profession to pursue a career in public accounting (CPA firms), corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The Certificate in Professional Accounting qualifies you to sit for the CPA exam under current Kentucky law, which requires 27 semester hours in accounting, 39 semester hours in business (including the accounting hours), and a total of 150 semester hours.

Certificate students are required to complete a total of 39 semester hours, with at least 27 semester hours in accounting. This is designed to be a part-time program and you should be able to complete it in 24 months. All required accounting courses are offered on both day and night schedules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will this program prepare me for a certification exam?
The Bellarmine Post-Baccalaureate Accounting Certificate Program is designed to help graduates of bachelor’s programs complete Kentucky state requirements for eligibility to take the CPA exam as quickly as possible without impairing the quality of education. The program can usually be modified to meet the requirements of other states. The program is not intended to serve as a “test preparation” type of program.

How do I apply to the certificate program?
Step 1 - Click on the “Apply Now” button.
Step 2 – Choose “Graduate or Second Degree Student” in the first drop-down menu.
Step 3 – Choose “All Other Graduate Programs” in the second drop-down menu.
Step 4 – Click on the “Begin Application” button.

Do I need an undergraduate degree to apply for the program?
Yes, students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a discipline other than accounting.

What courses are required to complete the program?

  • ACCT 101, 102, 211, 212, 313, 418;
  • Nine semester hours selected from other accounting courses (ACCT 215, 317, and 318 recommended);
  • Twelve semester hours selected from other accounting, business administration, or finance courses.

Can I transfer credit into this program from another institution?
A maximum of 9 hours in accounting and 18 hours total may be transferred to the Certificate program. All Certificate Program students must complete a minimum of 21 semester hours at Bellarmine University.

What is the average length of time to finish this program?
A student with an undergraduate degree in business will typically need to complete 8-10 courses (24-30 credit hours) to be awarded the certificate in 2 years.

A student with an undergraduate degree in a non-business field will typically need to complete 13 courses (39 credit hours) to be awarded the certificate in 2.5 years.

How many courses per semester may I take?
We do not have any limits on the number of courses that a student may take each semester. However, we recommend students with a full time work schedule start with one course to determine the workload and take no more than two courses in any given term.

Do you offer online courses?
No. The courses are all face-to-face.

Can I register for the certificate program at any time?
Yes, you may enroll in the program before the start of any semester (Summer, Fall, Spring). Both day and evening classes are available each semester. Every student works with the program director (Alisha Harper, J.D., LL.M. aharper@bellarmine.edu) to develop an achievement plan that best accommodates his or her schedule.

Is the program accredited?
The W. Fielding Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University is accredited by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Bellarmine is the first and only private university in Kentucky to achieve AACSB accreditation.

What are the hiring projections in the accounting field?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employment of accountants and auditors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.”

Do you provide job or internship placement?
Yes. Every Accounting Certificate student has access to Bellarmine’s Career Development Center and is invited to attend regular Accounting CPA Firm and Industry recruitment events. All of the “Big 4” international CPA firms, several regional firms, and all large local CPA firms in the Louisville area interview on campus and hire Bellarmine students. Many large Louisville, national and international businesses also interview on campus or request résumés.

Is financial aid available?
Accounting Certificate students are eligible to apply for Bellarmine University Accounting Alumni Scholarships (range from $500-$2,000) and KYCPA Accounting Student Scholarships. Additional information on the cost and aid available can be found at https://www.bellarmine.edu/about/consumer/employment/

When is each course offered?
Please visit the “Course Descriptions” page on our website to see when courses are typically offered.

How many hours can I expect to spend studying outside of class time?
Each student has their own learning style so this can vary greatly. As a rule of thumb, expect to spend an average of two hours studying for every hour you spend in-class.

Alumni Story

Joey George

“Bellarmine offers students a wide range of opportunities, both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, professors prepare students with both the technical and conceptual skills needed for a career in accounting, and care deeply about the success of their students. Outside of the classroom, Bellarmine connects students with employers through networking events, luncheons, and on campus recruiting visits that are second to none. These opportunities in and out of the classroom allow students to achieve their goals no matter what they may be.”

Joey George ‘17, CPA
Dean Dorton Allen Ford, PLLC

Career Prospects

Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to sit for the CPA exam and pursue careers as CPAs in corporations, non-profits and a wide variety of accounting positions.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Salary Survey, accounting student starting salaries will exceed those in nearly every field, except engineering. Robert Half’s Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance (Louisville market) reports starting salaries at midsize and large public accounting firms range from approximately $45,000 to $65,000 per year; and manager level (5-7 years of experience) salaries range from approximately $75,000 to $115,000 per year.

Faculty

Here is a quick snapshot of a few of our faculty members. Read profiles of all of our distinguished faculty.

Alisha Harper

Dr. Alisha Harper
Alisha Harper is an Associate Professor and serves as chair of the Department of Business Administration. She received her B.A. from Shepherd University, her J.D. from the University of Louisville, and a LL.M. in Taxation from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Bellarmine faculty, Alisha worked for 8 years as a Senior Attorney for the IRS Office of Chief Council and as a Special Assistant United State Attorney for the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Her research interests include practical tax strategies and pedagogies in the online classroom. Professor Harper serves as the academic advisor for Delta Sigma Pi and as the faculty coordinator for Bellarmine’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

Dr. David T. Collins

Dr. David T. Collins
Dr. Collins is Professor of Accounting in the W. Fielding Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University. He was the Chair of the Department of Accounting from 1994-99 and 2001-2002 and 2014-2018, and Chair of the Department of Business Administration from 1998-1999. Dr. Collins holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting (1980) and a Master of Accountancy (1981) from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in Accounting (1993) from Georgia State University. Dr. Collins served as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the State of Florida where he was a partner at Anderson and Collins, CPAs from 1982-1990. From 1995-1997, Dr. Collins served on the Accounting Career Opportunity Committee of the Kentucky Society of CPAs, where he helped the Society obtain an AICPA grant to create an Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP-KY). He then served on the ACAP-KY Task Force from 1996-2001. In 2001, in addition to the ongoing ACAP-KY program, KyCPA created a second student initiative (Accounting Base Camp) and Dr. Collins continues to be involved with Base Camp as a way to attract students to the accounting profession.

Dr. Patricia Miller Selvy

Dr. Patricia Miller Selvy
Dr. Selvy is an Associate Professor of Accounting in the Rubel School of Business. Her primary teaching areas are managerial and individual taxation in the undergraduate program, and financial and managerial accounting, corporate governance and state and local sales tax in the MBA, Executive MBA, and Masters of Taxation programs at the graduate level. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the University of Louisville and her Ph.D. from Georgia State University in Atlanta. She is a Kentucky CPA and member of the Kentucky Society of CPAs, a member of the AICPA, and has a CGMA from the AICPA. Dr. Selvy has served on the Family Scholar House Board and as a member of their audit and finance committees. She has also served on the Kentucky Parks Commission as well as several internal committees at Bellarmine University. Dr. Selvy is a native of Louisville and has been at Bellarmine for 30 years. She has taught across campus and internationally.

Admission Requirements

Students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in a discipline other than accounting. For information about the application process, please visit our Admission Requirements page.

Tuition and Fees

Visit our Graduate Tuition Rates page for the most up-to-date tuition and fee information.

Funding Assistance
For questions regarding funding options for Post Baccalaureate programs please contact the Financial Aid Office at Bellarmine University (finaid@bellarmine.edu or 502.272.7300).

Accreditation

The W. Fielding Rubel School of Business at Bellarmine University is accredited by AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), which places it among the elite business schools in the nation. Bellarmine is the first and only private university in Kentucky to achieve AACSB accreditation. The Rubel School is also listed as one of Princeton Review’s “295 Best Business Schools.”

Contact Information

Dr. Elizabeth A. Payne, CPA, Professor
Endowed Chair of Accounting
502.272.8244
epayne@bellarmine.edu

James Standard, Senior Graduate Admission Officer
502.272.8351
jstandard@bellarmine.edu

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