Professional Business Accountant Diploma Program

  • Delivery Method: Combined Delivery
  • Duration: 24 months of coursework
  • Starts: Once per year (May)
  • Credential: Diploma
  • Designation: Public Business Accountant (PBA)
  • Wages: Up to $80,000+/year

Are you interested in pursuing a career in accounting? Through Stenberg College’s Professional Business Accountant program, you can prepare for a career as a full-cycle accountant with just 24 months of coursework, with no degree required.

The ultimate goal for the Professional Business Accountant program is to prepare students to write the Public Business Accountant (PBA) designation exam and to provide education in the areas of: Accounting, Cost Accounting, Statistics, Information Systems, Business Law, Ethics, Economics, Communications, Financial Management, Canadian Taxation, General Management, and Human Resources.

Stenberg’s Professional Business Accountant graduates will be prepared to move directly into a junior-level accounting position. Common tasks for recent graduates will include reconciliation of sub ledgers, verification of account balances, and some basic analysis.

Articulation ( Credit Transfer )

In March of 2016, Stenberg College signed an articulation agreement with Yorkville University, an accredited university located in New Brunswick that specializes in online university degree programs. The articulation agreement allows students who complete the PBA program at Stenberg to easily transition into the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at Yorkville University, and to receive credit toward their BBA for work completed at Stenberg.

Stenberg College also has an articulation agreement that allows successful graduates of the Professional Business Accountant Program to continue their studies and complete their Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree at the National American University (NAU).

Students who successfully complete the Professional Business Accountant Program at Stenberg will receive 85.5 quarter credits and have approximately 94.5 credit hours to complete the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree at NAU. If students have taken additional courses outside of the Professional Business Accountant course work it will be evaluated on a course-by-course basis.

For more information on the National American University Bachelor of Science in Accounting Degree, please visit their Program page.

Stenberg College and the Public Business Accountants’ Society of Canada recognizes St. Lawrence College as an approved institution for articulation of 12 of the 20 PBA Program courses. Therefore, graduates with these designated courses can immediately become “Associate Members” of PBA and continue their progress towards full designation through our online courses.

These exact courses are the qualification for the Accounting Technician Certificate (ATC) through PBA as well and are approved St. Lawrence College courses. Graduates of the Professional Business Accountant program can immediately apply for the Accounting Technician Certificate.

Admission Requirements

The courses in the Professional Business Accountant program have been designed to provide a professional level of education to very specific groups. This is a rigorous professional training program and in order to enter the program or to take any of the courses, the following requirements must be met:

  • Completion of Grade 12 within the Canadian Education System or qualification as a “Mature Student” or “International Professional” as defined here:
    • A Mature Student is defined as an individual who is 19 years or older with no high school graduation certificate. Mature students may apply for entry into the program subject to assessment by the Stenberg Education Department who will evaluate English and Math skills in particular.
    • An International Professional is defined as an individual with either an international professional accounting designation, an international degree in accounting, or 5 or more years-experience in accounting at a senior level.
  • English 12 with a grade of C or higher or Communications 12 with a grade of B or higher. A Stenberg College English Assessment is available.
  • Math 11 Principles, Foundations of Math 11, Pre-Calculus 11, Accounting 11, or Algebra 11 with a grade of C or higher OR completion of the Stenberg College Math assessment with 70% or higher.
  • Certified five-minute keyboarding test with a typing speed of 30 gross words per minute or higher with a maximum of 5 errors.
  • Competency in Microsoft Word and Excel will be required for an individual to be successful in this program. Applicants will be required to provide proof of Microsoft Excel training or will be required to take an online proficiency test in advance of being granted permission to enter.
  • Submission of an original criminal record check.
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview.

In addition to the admissions requirements above, applicants with English as an additional language must also meet one of the following language requirements:

  • Stenberg College English Language Equivalency Test (ELET) (Scores valid for one year) testing proficiency in each of the following areas: Reading Comprehension, Written Expression, Listening and Speaking. Overall score of 56/80 or higher OR
  • TOEFL Internet-based (scores valid for 5 years) Reading, Writing and Listening component scores must total a minimum of 60; minimum Speaking component score of 26 OR
  • IELTS Academic Module (scores valid for 5 years) Overall score of 6.5 or higher with no band score less than 6.0 and a minimum score of 7.0 on the Speaking band OR
  • Canadian Language Benchmark Scores: Listening 8, Speaking 8, Reading 8, and Writing 7.

Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Check.

PBA Licensing Exam

The PBA Entry to Practice Designation Exam will be administered by Stenberg College. The exam will be delivered online in two segments:

Segment One will be an online proctored, 3 hour exam with 100 questions. The questions will be randomly accessed from the exam bank on the weighting scale that has been established for each course.

Segment Two will be an online exam but will not be proctored and the applicant will have 24 hours from the time of finishing Segment One to submit this segment. The exam will be composed of 100 questions, accessed from exam bank on the weighting scale that has been established for each course.
Upon completion of both segments the student and PBA will be informed of the mark on each segment.

A mark of 70% on each segment is required to achieve a passing grade. The exam is designed to cover all areas of the PBA program.

Financing Your Education

You could be eligible for Employment Insurance funding for education, government student loans, as well as other financing options; Stenberg’s Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.


Student Stories

Read stories from our students and grads about their experience with the Business Accountant program at Stenberg

Nick Martin

Nick Martin is currently a student in Stenberg’s inaugural Professional Business Accounting (PBA) program cohort.

“In tenth grade I landed a job as a dishwasher at Cactus Club Café. Over the past ten years, I’ve worked my way up to Sous Chef, which is a kitchen leadership position. As a Sous Chef and Kitchen Manager, I’m responsible for supervising kitchen staff, ensuring food quality standards, managing inventory, placing orders, and working with the kitchen budget to manage food costs.”

While Nick enjoyed the camaraderie that comes with working in a fast-paced kitchen environment, in May 2015 he began thinking about the possibility of returning to school. “I had no post-secondary education at that point, but accounting was something that I had always been interested in; I had always liked working with numbers and math was my strong suit in high school.”

“I learned about the PBA designation, and saw that I could complete the program in less time than it would take to complete a traditional accounting program while working part-time. I found Stenberg, and after learning that they offered the PBA program online, and that the format was flexible, I was sold.”

Halfway through the PBA program, and Nick is earning high marks as one of the top students in his class. “Before the course began, I was definitely intimidated about returning to school after a decade in the workforce, but it’s been a great experience. Stenberg’s online learning platform is intuitive and easy to use, and the amount of work on a weekly basis is not overwhelming. It’s definitely not possible to manage if you’re slacking off, but I’ve been able to continue working 20 – 25 hours a week, as well as attend info sessions as a representative of Stenberg’s PBA program.”

Nick is now looking forward to his future career. “When I first started the PBA program, I had my mind set on working for a large firm downtown, but as the program has progressed and I’ve learned about the variety of different careers available, I think I would like to explore the possibility of moving into an accounting position with Cactus Club. It’s been an amazing company to work for, and I’ve built a really strong network there. I know that a PBA designation can open a lot of professional doors, so I’m excited to see what the future holds!”