How to Become a Bookkeeper in Massachusetts

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How to Become a Bookkeeper in Massachusetts

If you own a business, you might want to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant.

These professionals play a vital role in business operations even though their duties may differ and may overlap at the same time.

A background in business or accounting is important for future bookkeepers in Massachusetts.

As a bookkeeper, you’ll deal mostly with numbers, be organized, and have a strong work ethic.

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If this made you more careful, read on to find out more!

How to Become a Bookkeeper – Step by Step

To become a bookkeeper, you’ll need to follow some steps.

These involve getting some education and training under your belt first.

You’ll also need a certification or two.

Obtaining certification is crucial in this field.

If you want to become certified, you have to choose one of these ways:

  • Studying
  • hands-on training

Let’s explore these steps to gain a better understanding!

Step 1 – Earn Your High School Diploma

Securing a high school diploma or its equivalent is a foundational step for embarking on a career in bookkeeping.

Whether you choose the educational path or the practical one, having a high school diploma demonstrates a basic level of education and proficiency.

Additionally, a high school diploma may be a prerequisite for further education or training programs in bookkeeping.

It serves as the starting point for individuals looking to enter the field and lays the groundwork for future success.

Step 2 Education – Earn a Degree

Getting a degree isn’t a must, but it helps with finding jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a degree is needed for education.

Degree choices are:

  • Associate’s
  • Bachelor’s
  • Master’s

Among them, fewer bookkeepers go for a master’s, but it boosts credibility.

Next, we’ll check out schools for training.

Step 3 Education – Train on-the-job

Before starting as a bookkeeper, you need training.

On-the-job training is usual for those in education and usually lasts up to six months.

Learning the employer’s bookkeeping software during on-the-job training is crucial.

Step 2 Practice – Gain Experience

For those opting for the practical route, the next step is to gain one to two years of hands-on experience.

AIPB demands two years of experience to qualify for certification.

On the flip side, NACPB only asks for one year of experience for licensure.

Step 3 Practice – Earn the Credentials

If you’re going the experience route, getting certifications is key.

There are 2 nationally recognized credentials available, but just one will do.

Here they are:

  • Certified Bookkeeping Professional (CPB) from NACPB
  • Certified Bookkeeper (CB) from AIPB

Getting these involves taking four exams from these associations.

The first two exams happen at Prometric testing centers.

The other two are open-book, so you can use your manual during the test.

Even if you choose the educational path, you can still get these licenses.

Keep in mind, that you need 24 additional hours of training each year to maintain these certifications.

Bookkeeping Programs in Massachusetts

Don’t worry if you don’t know where to find training classes in this state, I have you covered!

Massachusetts Bay Community College

This college offers a bookkeeper certification program, available 100% online.

With this program being online 100%, you can enroll at any time.

This course prepares students for the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) test.

When you graduate from this program, you can call yourself a full-fledged bookkeeper as you’ll know and understand how to perform all the operations a bookkeeper is responsible for.

There is a prerequisite to meet before enrolling though.

You need at least 2 years of experience as an accountant or bookkeeper.

Northern Essex Community College

This community college has an Accounting and Bookkeeping Fundamentals Certificate Program to enroll in.

Additionally, you have access to an Associate’s degree in accountancy.

Through the program, you open the doors to careers such as:

  • In business,
  • Industry
  • Banking,
  • Government
  • Non-profit organizations.
School Name Address
Massachusetts Bay Community College online program
Northern Essex Community College 100 Elliott Street Haverhill, MA 01830
Northern Essex Community College 45 Franklin Street Lawrence, MA 01840
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Bookkeeper Salary in Massachusetts

Sure, let’s take a look at the average salaries of bookkeepers in Massachusetts.

According to, the median annual salary for bookkeepers in Massachusetts is around $48,096.

Keep in mind that earnings can fluctuate based on factors such as education level, experience, and location.

If you provide the table with cities and their respective salaries, I can help you identify those with higher pay.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Arlington $49,555
Boston $49,555
Charlestown $49,555
Lexington $49,555
Dover $49,511
Salem $49,466
Burlington $48,847
Easton $48,273
Reading $48,273
Norwood $48,273

Regional Salary in Massachusetts

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Barnstable Town, MA1,570$51,970$24.99$70,960$34,680
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH29,280$56,740$27.28$79,590$37,510
Leominster-Gardner, MA580$50,680$24.37$68,000$34,690
New Bedford, MA850$49,110$23.61$65,060$34,150
Pittsfield, MA430$49,170$23.64$65,610$33,050
Springfield, MA-CT3,500$50,490$24.27$70,340$33,490
Worcester, MA-CT2,870$50,410$24.24$67,410$34,420
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks, OCC Code 43-3031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does education and employment must be in a classroom or office, for bookkeepers in Massachusetts?

As demonstrated in the presentation, classes can be conducted either in person or online, with online instruction being prevalent.

Regarding employment, this provides bookkeepers with an excellent opportunity to work remotely, whether from home or elsewhere in the city.

Both office-based and remote work options have their pros and cons, as outlined below.


  • Various types of distractions may arise.
  • Potential for better concentration in a structured environment.
  • Additional tasks may come up.
  • Limited flexibility in the sitting position.

Remote (Home):

  • Potential for fewer distractions.
  • Ability to concentrate in a comfortable environment.
  • Greater flexibility in tasks and schedule.
  • Freedom to adjust sitting position as desired.

Can I choose a different career path if bookkeeping is not for me, in Massachusetts?

For individuals training as bookkeepers, there are many career options to explore:

  • Bookkeeper
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk
  • Accounts Payable Specialist
  • Payroll Clerk
  • Assistant to Accountants (both line and staff)
  • Paraprofessionals in CPA Firms

Each of these positions offers unique chances for specialization and progression within the bookkeeping industry.

Hasn't technology replaces bookkeepers in Massachusetts?

Technology has greatly influenced the field of bookkeeping.

Yet, the fundamental organizational skills and meticulous attention to detail of bookkeepers remain highly valued by employers and clients.

Tools like QuickBooks or Microsoft Excel have largely automated traditional manual entry tasks in bookkeeping.

However, the organization, reporting, and utilization of financial data still heavily depend on human input and processing.

USA Bookkeeper Schools by State

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