How to Become a Bookkeeper in Washington

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How to Become a Bookkeeper in Washington

Thinking about becoming a bookkeeper in Washington?

Good news!

Right here, we’ve got a handy guide on how to kick off your journey as a bookkeeper in this state.

Find out all about the education and training you’ll need, right here.

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Get information on Professional Bookkeeping programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Keep reading for all the details!

How to Become a Bookkeeper – Step by Step

Getting certified can make bosses trust you more, so you’ll have more job choices.

You can become licensed by:

  • Studying
  • Getting real-world experience

Both options have some similarities, but they also have unique aspects of their own.

Step 1 – Earn Your High School Diploma

To become a bookkeeper, you need to finish high school and get your diploma.

If finishing high school feels tough, you can go for a GED instead.

Either way, having that diploma is a must before moving on to the next step.

Step 2 Education – Earn a Degree

Thinking about more schooling is a wise idea.

Getting a degree can make you better at what you do and give you more chances for good jobs later.

Many companies prefer hiring people who’ve had some formal training.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says getting a degree is smart for those who like learning.

You’ve got these choices for a degree:

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

Even if you’re not planning on a master’s degree, it’s good to know what it’s about.

Now, let’s see what bookkeeping programs are in Washington.

Step 3 Education – Train on-the-job

At the start, training sets the stage, and starting off well is crucial.

You’ll spend six months learning while working.

During this time, your main focus will be understanding how things operate, even if you won’t be doing them right away.

If you opt for education, becoming skilled at using the company’s software is essential.

You’ll also become proficient at carefully reviewing the company’s transactions.

Step 2 Practice – Gain Experience

You can’t earn credentials on this path, without some experience.

You’ve got two options:

  • For a license from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) you need 2 years of experience.
  • For certification from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) you need 1 year of experience.

Step 3 Practice – Earn the Credentials

No matter which license you pick, it’s accepted all across the country.

To get it, you need to pass four tests. If you’re going for two licenses, that’s eight tests altogether.

You’ll take these tests at Prometric centers nearby.

During the first round of tests, you can’t use your books, but you can during the second round.

What’s cool is you can start working on your license while you’re still in school.

Once you’re certified, the credential is good for a year.

To keep it going, you’ll need to finish 24 more classes.

Bookkeeping Programs in Washington

Here is a selection of training programs to select from.

Central Washington University

Central Washington University (CWU) offers a Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) program.

This program is available online.

The MPA offers three specializations:

  • Taxation,
  • Financial Analysis,
  • Information Systems.

The program has 45 quarter hours with coursework split as follows:

  • Accounting classes
  • Applied courses
  • Elective courses

The accounting courses focus on the basic skills and the theory of accounting.

It has applied classes to test skills and theory knowledge.

There are electives too providing students with more focused coursework.

The required courses include:

  • CPA review courses
  • Advanced Accounting
  • Seminars in Accounting
  • Seminars in auditing

The electives cover topics like:

  • Advanced Taxation
  • Financial analytics
  • Business law

By completing this program you can sit for these tests:

  • The Uniform CPA Exam
  • The Enrolled Agent Exam with the IRS

Obtaining an undergraduate degree in accounting is not needed for admission.

Yet candidates have to meet the requirements of the prerequisite coursework.

A GPA of 3.0 or higher is needed to graduate.

CWU also offers two related graduate certificates:

  • Professional tax practice
  • Professional accounting
School Name Address
Central Washington University 400 E University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926,
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Bookkeeper Salary in Washington

Once you finish learning and training, it’s important to understand how much money you could make.

This affects the choices you’ll make.

For instance, in this state, bookkeepers usually make around $47,777 amount each year.

But remember, this can change based on where you are and how much experience you have.

Check out the table below to see different earning possibilities.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Kenmore $48,885
Redmond $48,885
Seattle $48,885
Renton $48,841
Sammamish $48,796
Issaquah $48,752
Preston $48,663
Lynnwood $48,397
Kingston $48,309
Everett $48,043

Regional Salary in Washington

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bellingham, WA1,200$49,470$23.78$63,240$36,570
Bremerton-Silverdale, WA750$50,900$24.47$67,140$36,460
Kennewick-Richland, WA1,080$50,730$24.39$65,630$36,800
Longview, WA500$50,710$24.38$63,610$36,610
Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA610$52,550$25.26$68,230$38,000
Olympia-Tumwater, WA1,140$51,030$24.53$67,790$36,650
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA20,210$54,270$26.09$70,660$39,520
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA2,760$47,650$22.91$61,460$36,120
Walla Walla, WA260$48,640$23.39$61,770$35,570
Wenatchee, WA570$49,140$23.63$63,030$36,140
Yakima, WA1,030$48,120$23.14$63,500$35,030
* 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

What career options do bookkeepers have in Washington?

For those training to become bookkeepers, there are several career paths to explore:

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

Each of these roles presents distinct opportunities for specialization and advancement within the bookkeeping field.

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

Classes can be held either in person or online, with online instruction being quite prevalent.

This flexibility in employment opens up opportunities for bookkeepers to work remotely, whether from home or elsewhere in the city.

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


  • Various distractions may occur.
  • Potential for better concentration in a structured environment.
  • Additional tasks may arise.
  • Limited flexibility in sitting position.

Remote (Home):

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

Hasn't technology replaces bookkeepers in Washington?

Technology has transformed bookkeeping, yet employers and clients value bookkeepers’ fundamental organizational skills and attention to detail.

Software such as QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel has automated numerous manual tasks.

However, human input remains vital for organizing, reporting, and interpreting financial data.

USA Bookkeeper Schools by State

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