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Bookkeeping and Payroll Specialist (AAS)

The Associate of Applied Science Degree for Bookkeeping and Payroll Specialist is an evidence-based program designed to provide instruction on the basic requirements and practices needed to accurately compute and maintain records and reports related to the general ledger, accounts payable, receivables, distribution of wages, and employee benefits. The program will also cover skills that focus on professionalism, communication, and problem solving. Graduates may find entry-level employment in bookkeeping or financial clerking.  These positions could involve working with

  • the government
  • accounting firms
  • business offices
  • financial companies.

Graduates receive training for entry-level jobs such as:

  • Payroll Specialist
  • Clerk
  • Bookkeeping Specialist


Classes prepare students for the National Bookkeepers Association (NBA) Uniform Payroll Certification exam, leading to the Payroll Certification designation.

In our 18 month accelerated program, you will have the opportunity to learn:

  • Basic computer usage
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Goal setting techniques
  • Group dynamics
  • Interview preparation
  • Job search techniques
  • Workplace behavior best practices

Note: Completion times vary by individual.

Employers Look for the Following Skills and Abilities:

  • Attention to Detail— requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity— requires being honest and ethical.
  • Administrative and Clerical Procedures and Systems – Knowledge of word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Personnel – procedures for recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Speaking — talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Problem Solving — using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Judgment and Decision Making— Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension— Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Employers look for leaders who can communicate, problem solve and work on teams. Typical work activities include:

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems— analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates— providing information by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information— observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others— getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates— Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.


Graduates with an associate degree may enjoy more job opportunities with room for upward mobility. An associate degree may offer a particularly good return on investment (ROI), since the cost of obtaining the degree is significantly less than a bachelor’s degree.  Lifetime earnings (The College Payoff, Table 1A) for adults with just a high school diploma are $1.9 million (75th Percentile), while those with an associate degree earn $2.4 million. Projected earnings for college graduates with an associate degree vary widely, depending on the industry the graduate pursues after school and the location of the job.


There is a wide range of earning potential for qualified people in this career field. Vista is here to help you receive the training you need to be qualified to join this group.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 wage data.