Common Searches

The right training for good jobs: The numbers add up.

Businesses depend on bookkeepers and financial clerks to keep sound financial records and maintain compliance. These are specialized skills that are consistently in-demand across industries. That’s why we’ve developed an accelerated 18-month program, based on employer feedback, to equip you with these skills. If you have a feel for numbers, and you’re wondering how to become a bookkeeper, Vista College’s Bookkeeping and Payroll Specialist Associate of Applied Science program has everything you need to get you Day 1 Ready for a job. This means having the confidence, the knowledge, and the skills to perform on Day 1 of an entry-level job in bookkeeping and clerking across a huge range of possible organizations, including:

  • Government
  • Financial companies
  • Business offices
  • Accounting firms

This Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)-accredited online program focuses on the skills and concepts that employers look for in a candidate, including managing ledgers, payables and receivables, employee benefits and taxes, and outsourcing processes. Our evidence-based courses equip you to take the National Bookkeepers Association Uniform Payroll Certification exam. With this certification and an associate-level degree under your belt, you’ve cleared two major hurdles to employment at many organizations.

Because career preparation goes beyond classes and exams, our personalized career services focus on all aspects of readiness, from finding the right jobs to resume building to interview prep. You won’t find this level of support in many online degrees in bookkeeping. Talk to us about your goals. If you’re up to the challenge, we can provide the tools.

What You’ll Learn

Students in our online, accelerated 18-month Bookkeeping and Payroll Specialist program will learn technical, employable skills regarding accounts payable, receivable, payroll duties and administrative functions due to career preparation being the focus. In addition to those trade skills, concepts and theories will also be taught to foster employer satisfaction.

Fast Facts

Next Start Date
October 11

Course Length: 18 Months *
Class Hours:
Lab Hours:
Clinical Hours:

Campus: Online
* Based on successful, full time enrollment

Career Opportunities

Graduates of our online Bookkeeping and Payroll Specialist program are prepared for entry level employment in bookkeeping or financial clerking focused positions. These roles can be found in various industries, such as retail, insurance, government, manufacturing, healthcare and more. All these options allow for flexibility when searching for post-graduate employment.

Potential Job Titles: Payroll Specialist, Clerk, Bookkeeping Specialist

Why Online?

The Right Skills for Real Jobs

The online campus at Vista College designs its courses around the real skills that employers seek, for jobs that are hiring today. Our online bookkeeping and payroll degree is designed to provide instruction in the fundamentals of bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and management.

Course Title Credits
Accounting 4.5
Payroll Fundamentals 4.5
QuickBooks 4.5
Payables and Receivables 4.5
Payroll Taxes 4.5
Management 4.5
Business Law 4.5
Business Math 4.5
Business Ethics 4.5
Compensation and Benefits 4.5
Computer Applications 4.5
Spreadsheets 4.5
Professional Strategies 4.5
Business Communication 4.5
Career Strategies 4.5
Composition I 4.5
College Math 4.5
Psychology 4.5
Introduction to Environmental Science 4.5
Speech Communications 4.5



This course exposes students to a general manager’s point of view of accounting practices. Students will learn bookkeeping, debit and credit practice, ledgers, working papers, adjusting and closing entries, income statement, balance sheets, and statement of owner's equity, cash, payroll, special journals, merchandising firms. Students will learn how to read and work with a profit & loss statement.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Payroll Fundamentals


This course exposes students to Payroll Fundamentals. Students will learn how to calculate payroll, complete payroll taxes, and prepare payroll records and reports.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
40 lab hours



This course introduces students to QuickBooks Pro accounting software. Students will learn to set up a new company and chart of accounts; record transactions with customers, vendors, and employees; manage lists; run and customize reports; change forms; and generate letters.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
40 lab hours

Payables and Receivables


In this course, students learn about accounts payables and receivables. Students journalize and post purchases and prepare a Schedule of Accounts Payable. Students learn how to enter charge sales into a Sales Journal and post them to General Ledger. Students will demonstrate skills to journalize payments on accounts received from charge customers, and prepare accounts receivable reports.

4.5 credits
25 theory hours
40 lab hours

Payroll Taxes


4.5 credits
45 theory hours



This course examines the roles, goals, and functions of management. Students will learn organization and planning, decision making, staffing, strategy, and the difference between management and leadership. Mastery of course outcomes will be demonstrated through the completion of an application project.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Business Law


This course focuses on the legal system as it relates to business. Emphasis is placed on the study of the uniform commercial code, contracts for the sale of goods, commercial paper, personal property, bailments, real property, wills, trusts, insurance, agency law, partnerships, corporations, and computerized legal research.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Business Math


Students are exposed to basic math and statistical problems encountered in business situations. Students in this course will solve business problems using algebraic formulas, and demonstrate their ability to read, write, round off, add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole decimals. Students will compute simple interest, monthly payments, and compute wages based on hours worked. Students learn how to calculate discounts, basic statistics such as mean and mode, and construct basics graphs including a histogram, trend chart, and pie chart.

4.5 credits
30 theory hours
30 lab hours

Business Ethics


This course focuses on ethical issues, the development of a moral frame of reference, and the need for an awareness of social responsibility in management practices and business activities. Emphasis is on ethical corporate responsibility.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Compensation and Benefits


This course focuses on the techniques of job analysis, job descriptions, job evaluation, pay surveys, pay administration, and required benefits. Student learn the dynamics involved in compensating employees for services rendered to employers.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Computer Applications


This introductory course exposes students to software applications commonly used in a business environment. Using word processing software, students will create and format documents including inserting graphics and mail merging. Using spreadsheet software, students will create spreadsheets with basic formulas and functions and prepare charts to display the spreadsheet data. Using presentation software, students will create basic presentations. Students will also exchange data between programs.

4.5 credits
30 theory hours
30 lab hours



This course focuses on skill development in concepts, procedures, and application of spreadsheets. Emphasis is on spreadsheet terminology and concepts, calculating data using formulas and functions, creating and modifying workbooks, inserting graphics, generating charts and reports, and how to create and use special functions.

4.5 credits
15 theory hours
60 lab hours

Professional Strategies


This course focuses on the skills required to be successful in college and in your career. Emphasis is on time management, goal setting, and research techniques.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Business Communication


Students in this course will analyze realistic business situations and select an appropriate letter-writing approach to bring about a desired outcome. Students will explore and write effective routine letters and memos, such as inquiry and request, claim, orders, and acknowledgements. Students will identify strategies for writing persuasive credit, collection, and sales letters that use emotional appeals, and compose a series of employment-related letters, such inquiry, application, and request for references.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Career Strategies


This course is designed to study the personal and professional characteristics necessary for obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. The student will assemble a complete job seeking portfolio including resume and references, letters of application and appreciation, documentation of work and educational history, and demonstration of skills through examples of student work. Emphasis is on writing effective resumes, sources of job leads, techniques for successful interviewing, and the follow-up process in the career search.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Composition I


This course provides a general introduction to the principles of writing. Students will develop quality writing skills and knowledge of grammatical structures, including punctuation and spelling, through practice in writing and revising. Students will develop a research paper by gathering, summarizing, synthesizing and explaining information from various sources, while engaging in the writing process through multiple drafts and collaborating with peers through giving and acting on productive feedback.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

College Math


In this course, students review contemporary mathematics,including basic math applications such as decimals, percentages, fractions, proportions, rates, units of measurement, finance, and probability.Students will apply these mathematical concepts to everyday life.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours



This course introduces students to the psychological study of human behavior as it applies to daily living. The course includes social psychology, development through the life span, psychological disorders, and therapies. Students are exposed to concepts of conditioning, learning, thinking, memory, motivation, emotion, and stress.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Introduction to Environmental Science


Students in this course will gain an understanding of ecological principles and how to handle environmental problems such as water use, solid waste management, global warming, energy use, and conservation of irreplaceable natural resources. Students are exposed to environmental challenges and conversation techniques,in order to be conscientious stewards of nature and agents for a healthy and sustainable community.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

Speech Communications


This course focuses on human communication principles and theories embedded in a variety of contexts including interpersonal, small group, and public speaking.

4.5 credits
45 theory hours

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