How to Become a Bookkeeper in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Bookkeeper in Pennsylvania

Are you interested in becoming a bookkeeper?

If that’s your dream job, let’s understand what it’s all about first.

A bookkeeper knows a good deal about accounting and math and is good at organizing things.

Your daily job will involve keeping records of what’s bought and sold.

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If you like working in an office, then this job could be perfect for you.

Let’s see what you need to do to become a bookkeeper in Pennsylvania.

How to Become a Bookkeeper – Step by Step

Having a certification makes employers see you as more reliable.

So, how can you get one?

Well, there are two main ways:

  • Through learning
  • Through hands-on experience

These methods have some things in common, which we’ll explore next.

Step 1 – Earn Your High School Diploma

No matter your plans, you have to finish high school first and get a high school diploma.

If that is not doable, remember that getting a GED also works just as well.

Step 2 Education – Earn a Degree

If you go the education route, getting a degree is a smart move because it shows how dedicated you are to your career.

Having a degree also improves your chances of getting hired since most employers prefer bookkeepers who are already skilled.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests aiming for a degree if you’re going down the education path.

You have a few options:

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

Even if you don’t plan on getting a master’s, it’s good to learn more about it.

This article will also guide you to places where you can receive training.

Step 3 Education – Train on-the-job

The first step is getting trained, and it’s important.

During your on-the-job training, you’ll spend about six months learning.

This training is different from practicing because it’s shorter and focuses on real tasks.

If you’re taking the education path, you’ll need to understand how the company’s bookkeeping software works.

You’ll also need to work fast to keep track of the company’s transactions.

Step 2 Practice – Gain Experience

If you decide to follow the practice route, then now is a good time to start looking for an entry-level job in this industry.

You have two choices:

  • 2 years of experience – for a license
  • 1 year of experience – for a certification

Step 3 Practice – Earn the Credentials

Here are the bodies issuing credentials: 

  • American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) – licensing
  • National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) – certification

These licenses are recognized across the country.

To get certified, you need to pass four tests for each license.

If you go for both licenses, that’s eight tests you have to take.

You can take two tests at specific Prometric testing centers.

For the other two tests, you can use your study materials.

You can start the certification process even while you’re still studying.

Once you’re licensed, you need to do 24 hours of learning every year to keep up in the field.

Bookkeeping Programs in Pennsylvania

Below you can see where you can train as a bookkeeper in this state.

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

The Bookkeeping Certificate offers eight important courses to begin your journey toward a career in bookkeeping.

This certificate equips you with the necessary skills to become a bookkeeper without having to attend an associate degree program.

Once you finish the Bookkeeping Certificate, you might consider pursuing the Accounting A.A.S. degree.

Graduates of the Bookkeeping program can apply all their completed course credits towards an Accounting degree.

Finishing the Accounting degree prepares students for certification as a Certified Bookkeeper through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB).

Some of the areas of study include:

  • Creating,
  • Analyzing,
  • Sharing financial information.
  • Studying and preparing financial statements,
  • Closing books every fiscal period.

Utilize software to create and analyze financial details.

School Name Address
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College 101 Community College Wy, Johnstown, PA 15904,
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Bookkeeper Salary in Pennsylvania

The only thing left to do is learn more about your salary.

As a bookkeeper in this state, you can make about $44,231 every year.

However, your earnings can be influenced by factors like the area where you live and your experience.

Check out the table below to find out which areas offer higher earnings for bookkeepers.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Matamoras $50,214
Newtown $48,131
Southampton $48,087
Furlong $48,043
Lumberville $47,998
Doylestown $47,954
Erwinna $47,644
Pipersville $47,511
Warrington $47,289
Gardenville $47,422

Regional Salary in Pennsylvania

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ3,260$45,200$21.73$61,390$28,840
Altoona, PA580$40,130$19.29$54,150$25,950
Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA370$42,720$20.54$60,140$28,740
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA460$43,220$20.78$60,740$25,240
East Stroudsburg, PA470$43,690$21$61,380$26,940
Erie, PA1,010$42,250$20.31$57,280$26,830
Gettysburg, PA280$42,290$20.33$58,100$27,670
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA3,330$46,400$22.31$61,820$30,340
Johnstown, PA480$38,010$18.27$52,000$24,150
Lancaster, PA2,650$44,830$21.55$62,500$28,500
Lebanon, PA680$44,710$21.5$55,970$28,940
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD29,360$49,790$23.94$65,900$33,500
Pittsburgh, PA10,800$45,270$21.77$63,860$28,460
Reading, PA1,750$45,930$22.08$63,910$29,120
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton, PA2,390$43,630$20.98$59,740$27,800
State College, PA650$44,240$21.27$61,060$26,990
Williamsport, PA460$41,840$20.11$56,180$24,660
York-Hanover, PA1,700$44,380$21.34$60,520$29,140
* 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

How many hours am I expected to work as a bookkeeper in Pennsylvania?

Most bookkeepers typically work around 40 hours per week, although some may opt for part-time schedules.

As a professional bookkeeper, there may be occasions when you need to put in extra hours, such as during the end of the financial quarter or year, or during tax season.

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

In the presentation, it’s evident that classes can be held either in-person or online, with online instruction being more common.

For employment, this opens up great opportunities for bookkeepers to work remotely, whether from home or another location in the city.

Each option, office-based or remote work, has its advantages and disadvantages:


  • Various 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

What role does a bookkeeper have in a company, in Pennsylvania?

If you’re aiming for this position, be prepared for responsibilities such as:

  • Recording sales
  • Tracking purchases
  • Enhancing the company’s financial status
  • Documenting various transactions
  • Utilizing reporting tools effectively
  • Establishing, implementing, and overseeing money-tracking systems

USA Bookkeeper Schools by State

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