Accountant Diploma

Why Choose Accountant Diploma at CLC?

Graduates have recently been hired by Mills Automotive, Rural Renewable Energy Alliance.

A strong internship program allows students to gain experience and secure careers.

Curriculum prepares students for accounting certification opportunities.

The accounting program provides a springboard of additional coursework toward the CPA Exam.

Our instructors have a passion for teaching and accounting and have a wealth of industry experience.

About the Program

Any of the three technical accounting degrees from CLC will prepare you for a variety of accounting careers in industry, government, not-for-profit organizations, and professional services. Students within the CLC Accounting program can expect to develop critical thinking skills, the ability to apply ethical decision making and an understanding of the systematic processes of the accounting cycle used to record, report and analyze business transactions. Students will gain technical, entry level accounting skills and hands-on experience in financial and managerial accounting principles, cost, taxation, spreadsheet applications, and computerized accounting software. The Accounting AAS degree is offered as a full-time day program; if desired, up to 75% of the degree can be obtained through a combination of online and hybrid courses.

Accountants are highly employable graduates that fit a wide variety of job descriptions. There are more career opportunities in accounting today than ever before. The reason accounting may be the best route to a successful business career is because accounting has always been considered the language of business. An accounting degree is very versatile and allows graduates to pursue many different career paths. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15.7% growth for accountants between 2010 and 2020. Businesses are being held to a higher standard of financial reporting. This has expanded the demand for accountants, financial analysts and auditors.

Our grads are hired by:
Mills Automotive, Brainerd, MN – Magnum Research, Inc., – Grand View Lodge, Nisswa, MN –Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), Pine River, MN – Dominium Management Services, – Breezy Point Resort, Breezy Point, MN – Redwood Industries, Pierz, MN – Arrowwood Lodge, Brainerd, MN – PORT Group Homes, Brainerd, MN – Crow-Wing County Auditor & Treasurer Office, Brainerd, MN – EPI, Baxter, MN

Program Information

Program Course Requirements

Fall Semester
ACCT 2011   Accounting Principles I (4 cr)
ACCT 2114   Payroll Accounting (3 cr)
BUSN 1131   Business Math (3 cr)
BUSN 2541   Legal Environment of Business (3 cr)
COMP 1120  Intro to Computer Applications (3 cr)
Total 16 Credits

Spring Semester
ACCT 2012*  Accounting Principles II (4 cr)
ACCT 2138*  Computerized Accounting Software (3 cr)
ACCT 2140   Accounting Applications (3 cr)
BUSN 1166   Business Communications (3 cr)
Additional Accounting course (3 cr)
Total 16 Credits

*Denotes Prerequisites

Career Description: Many accountants and accounting technicians work in certified public accounting firms that perform tax and auditing services, but the majority work as management or “private” accountants. Many accountants operate their own businesses. The role of the accounting department has expanded greatly. Accountants and accounting technicians help organizations make informed decisions by preparing and analyzing a variety of financial and non-financial information. They help management safeguard and control the assets of the business and ensure the records of the business comply with applicable laws. Accounting staff are critical in the fight to cut waste and fraud, and “forensic accountants” work directly with law enforcement to keep financial systems clean. Accountants use special accounting and finance software, and in small businesses, the accountant is often the computer expert.

Program Information: Central Lakes College offers a 60-credit, two-year Accounting Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree. The A.A.S. degree prepares students by teaching the analytical and technical skills needed for an accounting or financial management career. Students gain experience recording transactions, preparing and analyzing financial reports, and doing realistic simulations on the most popular accounting computer systems. CLC also offers a one-year Accounting Diploma (32 credits) that includes most courses from the first year of the A.A.S. degree. Graduates of this program will have the background to perform entry-level accounting duties such as accounts payable, accounts receivable or payroll.

Program Outcomes:
Graduates will be able to:

  • Complete the accounting cycle, and prepare classified general purpose financial statements in good form;
  • Possess the tools needed to analyze financial and business information that support planning and decision making;
  • Apply accounting principles to business transactions in both a manual and a computerized environment;
  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of employment laws, earnings calculations, payroll tax compliance, and records maintenance;
  • Prepare federal and state individual tax forms with accompanying schedules in proper form;
  • Measure and prepare financial and non-financial information used to support strategic managment and internal decision making;
  • Apply ethical principles in decision making;
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills.

Special Program Requirements:

In order to graduate from the Accounting Program, students must earn a cumulative GPA of 2.0 in the credits attempted and completed towards the technical core of the diploma/degree. Accounting courses required to complete the program must be completed within seven (7) years.

Certification: Certified Bookkeeper: A Certified Bookkeeper exam is offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. This exam covers normal accounting practices of the typical business. This exam can be taken after a 2-year Accounting Degree. Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) and Certified Payroll Professional (CPP): The FPC and CPP are two payroll certifications that 2-year degree accounting students can pursue. The FPC has no experience requirement. The CPP exam’s minimum employment requirement ranges from 18 months to 3 years depending on which eligibility criteria option is chosen. Graduates achieving these certifications often gain an edge over other applicants during the hiring process and advance more quickly along their career paths. The State of Minnesota offers 2 levels of licensure for Accountants. Registered Accounting Practitioner: The (RAP) certification requires a 2-year Accounting Degree and authorizes the licensee to perform but not supervise all accounting services on a formal audit. Certified Public Accountant: The (CPA) license requires 5 years of college education (130 semester credits). CPA’s are authorized to perform all accounting services and can supervise audits.

Admissions: The one-year accounting diploma is offered as a full-time day program. If desired, 100% of the degree can be completed by taking a combination of online and hybrid course offerings.

Transfer Opportunities: All students planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting are strongly encouraged to consult with the Accounting Faculty about transfer opportunities and with the Advising Department about transfer information for specific four-year colleges. The A.A.S. two-year degree in accounting is not intended for transfer. Our graduates often go directly to work.

Career Opportunities: Accountants and accounting technicians are highly employable graduates who qualify for a wide variety of jobs. More career opportunities exist in accounting today than ever before. Businesses are being held to a higher standard of financial reporting due to recent corporate scandals and financial crises. This has expanded the demand for accountants, financial analysts and auditors. Because accounting has always been considered the language of business, demand for bookkeeping, payroll, accounting, and auditing technicians remains strong. An accounting degree is versatile and allows graduates to pursue many different career paths. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15.7% change in employment growth for accountants between 2010 and 2020. For these reasons, accounting may be the best route to a successful business career. The CLC accounting staff receives many notices of job openings that result in job placement for our accounting students.


kristina ehnert

Kristina Ehnert

Accounting Instructor
Phone: 218-855-8092
Brainerd W212
steve ostlund

Steve Ostlund

Accounting Instructor
Phone: 218-855-8099
Brainerd W210

Student Testimonials


Graduating from the Accounting Program at CLC provided me with the essential tools I needed to go straight into the workforce. I continuously use the knowledge I gained in both my professional and personal life.


CLC’s accounting courses gave me the strong foundation I needed to reach all of my academic and professional goals.


The CLC Accounting program provided me with a great foundation to a fulfilling career. The environment was engaging and I was able to participate with other students inside and outside of the classroom. I joined the CLC Accounting club which gave me the opportunity to network with professionals in the field as well as the opportunity to help others in the community. During my last semester, I was notified by my instructor of an internship opportunity to work for a non-profit corporation and I did not hesitate to accept. The CLC Accounting program gave me the knowledge and confidence to exceed expectations and I was immediately hired on and am currently the head accountant there today.


After completing CLC’s Accounting Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree, I would recommend CLC to anyone with an interest in accounting. I found the Instructors to be truly dedicated to sharing their passion for accounting and to helping their students succeed, throughout the program and beyond. For instance, we were provided with multiple opportunities to interact with accounting professionals from various industries and government entities, giving us a better understanding of what our chosen profession can entail and has to offer. I know that the hands on skills and knowledge I have gained from this program will be something that I will use on a daily basis in both my career and any further education that I may pursue.


Central Lakes College is a great asset for the nontraditional student.  From flexible class options, to the personal touch of staff and instructors, to the affordable cost  – all benefits that make this institution a real gem.  As an alumni who obtained my Associate Arts from CLC and went on to obtain a four-year Bachelor of Science degree, I highly recommend considering the advantages that CLC has to offer.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

Gainful Employment – Accountant Diploma

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