Bookkeeper Salary

How Much Can I Make? A Review of Bookkeeper Salary

A bookkeeper salary is among some of the most competitive for entry level positions in the business world.  According the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Bookkeepers and comparable positions was $34,030 in 2010.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics also projects roughly 259,000 new positions for bookkeepers between 2010 and 2020, meaning that opportunities within this field will be plentiful.

Bookkeeper Salary Factors

Bookkeeper SalaryAbove we mentioned the median 2010 bookkeeper salary.  When you have achieved the median bookkeeping salary, that means that half of your peers are making more than you and half are making less.  Not bad, but how do you do better?  Let’s look at some factors that help determine salaries.

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Education and Training

The accounting field that bookkeeping is a part of encompasses a variety of career path options.  There is a multitude of accounting and bookkeeping jobs spanning industries all across today’s labor market.  Remember, a bookkeeping job is one that can be attained on an entry level basis, with little higher education.   However, the amount of schooling and training you acquire can greatly affect a bookkeeper’s salary.

In today’s job market you need to find a way to give yourself a leg up on the competition.  At the very least, to break into the field of accounting and bookkeeping  you will most likely be expected to have completed basic courses in accounting, math and economics.  Chances are that even as you progress in the accounting field, educational achievement will continue to play a part in your opportunities for advancement and how much money you make.  It’s also very seldom that someone didn’t get a job because they knew how to do it too well.

Accounting and Bookkeeping Certifications

While most entry level positions will require some degree of training or related education, one of the best ways to make yourself more marketable is to acquire certifications in your area of expertise.  A certificate program is a surefire way to get the attention of employers.  Besides possessing a highlighted achievement on your resume, it sends a signal that gaining that you are dedicated to growing your expertise and staying up on the latest trends within your field.

Within the bookkeeping community, acquiring a certification is a crucial step in your career path.  Doing so will often increase you chance for advancement within your organization and for prospective job seekers, a certification can lead to a higher starting wage.

Work Experience

In all careers, the time you spend in your position and work towards becoming an expert will enhance not only your employment opportunities, but your overall earning power as well.  Your beginning bookkeeper salary is just a starting point in this fast-growing and ever changing field.  While nobody can predict the future it’s safe to say that the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.


Geographical Factors

Bookkeeper GeographyWhere you choose to live, work and build your career can have as big an impact on your earning as anything.  A bookkeeper’s salary is no exception.  It’s just a plain and simple fact that it’s more expensive to live in some places.  Any employers looking to hire the most experienced and educated employees will have to adjust by marketplace.  Applying this idea, it should come as no surprise that some states see higher median wages within the accounting profession, just as major metropolitan areas typically see higher salaries as compared to rural ones.

A Closer Look at Bookkeeper Salary

Bookkeeping and it’s resulting career path can be quite lucrative.  Many times a beginning bookkeeper salary is just the jumping off point.  Let’s take a closer look at bookkeeping salaries as well as other accounting jobs with a quick career snapshot for each.

For a more detailed look at the careers listed below, check out our Bookkeeping Jobs and Career page.


2012 Median Bookkeeper Salary:  $35,170

Total Employment (2010): 1,898,000

Job Outlook:  Average – 10-19% between 2010 and 2020

Payroll Clerk

2012 Median Payroll Clerk Salary:  $37,690

Total Employment (2010): 187,000

Job Outlook:  Average – 10-19% between 2010 and 2020

Certified Public Accountant

2012 Median CPA Salary:  $63,550

Total Employment (2010): 1,217,000

Job Outlook:  Average – 10-19% between 2010 and 2020


2012 Median Auditor Salary:  $63,550

Total Employment (2010): 1,217,000

Job Outlook:  Average – 10-19% between 2010 and 2020


2012 Median Controller Salary:  $109,740

Total Employment (2010): 527,000

Job Outlook:  Slower than Normal – 3-9% between 2010 and 2020

Financial Analyst

2012 Median Financial Analyst Salary:  $76,950

Total Employment (2010): 236,000

Job Outlook: Faster than Average – 20-28% between 2010 and 2020

How to Get Started

Are you ready to get started in an accounting-related career?  If you’d like more information on bookkeeping and accounting training and education programs, use the search option in this page.

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