Accounting Jobs You Can Do Without a Degree (That Still Pay Well)

Updated January 17, 2022
accountant doing bookkeeping

Finding good-paying accounting jobs without a degree can be challenging, but it's not impossible. Whether you're looking for a job that will provide you with an opportunity to get some experience in the field before completing your accounting degree, or you're looking for a long-term position, there are some interesting options to consider.

Accounting Jobs You Can Do Without a Degree

You won't be able to become a professional accountant without at least a four-year degree. To become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you'll need additional college credits (at least 150 total, including a Bachelor's degree), and you'll have to pass the CPA exam. However, there are some good options for people who want to work with money or numbers without having to spend that much time in school.

Bookkeeper

You can be a bookkeeper for a business without an accounting degree. Some companies may prefer a two-year degree, but many hire bookkeepers solely based on skills. You'll need experience in QuickBooks or another accounting application to work as a bookkeeper. It will also help if you have some administrative experience, spreadsheet skills, and a background in payables, receivables, or recordkeeping. The average pay for bookkeepers is around $18.50 per hour, which is around $38,500 per year.

Accounting Clerk

Accounts payable and/or receivable clerks are not generally required to have a degree. It is possible to get a job as an accounting clerk with just a high school diploma, especially if you can demonstrate that you are good with numbers and have strong Excel skills. These jobs involve accepting and posting payments, processing credit cards by phone, sending invoices, reviewing accounting reports, and more. The average pay for accounting clerks is around $17.80 per hour, which is about $37,000 per year.

Payroll Processor

If you like the idea of making sure your coworkers can get paid, then working as a payroll processor may be your ideal job. Payroll processors may be part of the accounting team or the human resources department. Either way, the work is definitely accounting-focused and does not generally require a degree. This deadline-driven job requires strong data entry and time management skills. The average pay for payroll processors is around $18.75 per hour, which works out to about $39,000 annually.

Collections Representative

A collections representative contacts customers with outstanding bills, and attempts to work out a payment plan with them. Some collections representatives work for call centers or law firms that collect past due accounts on behalf of clients. This type of work can be a stepping stone to other types of accounting-related jobs. Some collections jobs are remote positions. The average pay for collections representatives is $15 per hour, which is a little over $31,000 per year.

Administrative Assistant

Depending on how a company is structured, administrative assistants often handle accounting tasks like bank reconciliations, client invoices, verifying expense reports, and generating financial reports. A degree is not required for most administrative assistant jobs, but you will need to know your way around Microsoft Office, have strong organizational skills, and be able to multitask. The median pay for administrative assistants is $20 per hour, which is $41,600 per year.

Tax Preparer

You can work as an income tax preparer without a degree, though you will need to complete a training course that focuses on how to prepare income tax returns. Tax preparation companies like H&R Block usually provide training for people interested in working with them during tax season. No prior accounting knowledge or skills are required. The average pay for tax preparers is just over $17.25 per hour. This is around $35,000 per year, though keep in mind that many tax preparer jobs are seasonal.

Retail Sales Associate

Before you've completed a degree (or even high school), you can get some work experience as a retail sales associate. While working in retail isn't a true accounting job, you may be responsible for keeping track of inventory, balancing cash register transactions, and collecting payments, all of which are beneficial if you want to seek an accounting position with a business. The average hourly pay for retail sales associates is just under $15 per hour, which is around $31,000 annually.

Tailor Your Accounting-Related Job Search

Job titles that include the word "accountant" are ones that are most likely to require a degree in accounting. So, when you're searching online for job openings, use search terms like "accounting," "bookkeeping," "payables," and/or "receivables" instead of using the word "accountant." This will help filter many jobs that require a degree out of your search results. Therefore, you'll be able to review your search results faster, and have more time to devote to applying for roles that just might be perfect for you.

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Accounting Jobs You Can Do Without a Degree (That Still Pay Well)