Best Virtual Assistant Programs
If you’re looking for a recession proof career, consider becoming a Certified Virtual Assistant. It is one of the work from home careers that is expanding, growing, and ever changing, thanks to the ever-expanding progress of the Internet and technology. Virtual Assistants use a wide variety of skills, which makes this career a viable option regardless of your past work experience.
No matter where you are located, whether in the U.S. or overseas, you can become a virtual assistant and provide essential services to companies and individuals all over the globe. The basic equipment you need to get your career off the ground is just a working computer, an internet connection, and maybe a printer or a headset with a microphone.
A “life in the day of” virtual assistants is as varied as the services they provide to their clients. VA’s can provide a variety of different services on any given day or they can specialize in one or two related skills such as social media or content production. Whether you love the challenge of doing something different all the time or prefer to do the one thing you do well and only that, you can find your niche and be a virtual assistant.
Some VA’s choose to work hourly in a full-time capacity for one employer or company. Others prefer a more varied schedule and strive to work part-time for multiple companies. Working hourly for an employer or company is a good solution if you need a regular and more dependable paycheck.
But if you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a little knowledge or are willing to learn some business skills, you can launch your own small business venture. Self-employed virtual assistants work as independent contractors, similar to consultants, providing virtual assistant services to an ever growing and changing list of clients. This really only works well if you have other income you can count on or you don’t need a regular, predictable paycheck.
Regardless of whether you work hourly for an employer or prefer to try your hand at the self-employed freelancer lifestyle, Virtual Assistants Specialize in:
- Customer Service
- Small Business Startup Services
- Database Management
- Event Planning
- Executive Assistant
- Medical Transcription
- Travel Assistant
- Word Processing and Document Preparation
- Social Media Management
- Website Design
- Legal Assistant
- Graphic Design
- Human Resources
- Public Relations
- Real Estate
- Desktop Publishing
- Data Entry
- Project Management
Although formalized training is not a requirement to become a virtual assistant, some employers may not hire you as a VA unless you are certified. There are many different virtual assistant programs, courses, and certifications on the market today. Formalized training or certification as a VA can give you a leg up on the competition if you are competing for a virtual assistant job with a big name company. No matter what type of training you choose, make sure that you do your research prior to signing on with any one company.
What to Look for in a Virtual Assistant Program:
Finding the best virtual assistant programs is just like searching for the best dentist, doctor, or college. You need to do your research to find the program that is the right fit for you. When you are choosing a doctor, dentist or college, you carefully consider things such as quality, services provided, cost, and references or testimonials. You will want to look at the same things for each one of the virtual assistant programs that you consider.
One of the biggest things to look for in a virtual assistant training program is the involvement of people who have ACTUAL experience being a virtual assistant themselves. There is just no substitute for real experience when it comes to being a virtual assistant. Yes, secretarial and EA skills in a brick and mortar job are often very similar in nature but providing services virtually is a totally different animal.
Make sure you understand what services will be provided during the training or certification program. If at all possible you want to find a program that takes a more practical step by step approach than one that simply instructs and tests you on a “conceptual or theoretical” approach. Get anything promised to you by phone in writing before you get started to protect yourself.
Pricing for virtual assistant programs is really varied. Keep in mind that you often get what you pay for and this is true for training programs as well. Find the programs that fit your budget but also explore those programs that are maybe a little out of reach for your budget. It is sometimes better to save up for a high quality, step by step practical virtual training program than to pay a lesser amount for a program that is all theory.
Make sure the virtual assistant program or certification program you are considering has some great reviews or testimonials. Google the name of the program, Google the names of the people involved with the program, then Google the names, if provided, of the people or companies who provide testimonials. Look for video testimonials because these are much harder to “fake” than written ones.
Virtual Miss Friday:
This is run by Michelle Dale who offers practical step by step instruction on how to become a virtual assistance and kick start your own business. Michelle offers several different packages so that you can choose the learning you need at a price that works for you. Lots of seem like sincere testimonials on her website. Check it out.
If you’re heard of VANetworking, then you know Tawnya Sutherland. She is a well-known name and face in the VA industry. Tawnya has created VA Certified.com to bring the VA industry standards from around the world into a worldwide certification for virtual assistants. She’s been in the industry a long time. Her VA networking group is more than 10,000 members around the world.
VAC or Virtual Assistant Career Startup System:
This is another Tawnya Sutherland inspired package for those who have caught the entrepreneur bug. If you are looking to get started as a self-employed VA, check out VAC, it’s designed for those with no experience to become a virtual assistant entrepreneur in just 30 days.
Virtual Assistant Certification by ExpertRating:
If you’ve already got some VA skills or are already doing some work in this area, it may benefit you to become certified so that you can draw in better-paying clients and increase your fees. ExpertRating is an established training company that provides training and certification on a wide variety of topics in over 160 countries to nearly 3 million people. Not as personal a service as some of the others but still reputable.
VA Training Academy:
This offers both live training and online training through teleclasses and webinars. Earn an official VA Training Academy seal. Founder Pam Ivey, is a veteran virtual assistant. VA Training Academy is an IVAA Preferred Partner.
This offers training on topics including social media, Internet marketing, and new product launch. Great option for the virtual assistant looking to specialize in marketing or social media. Reviews report the Internet Marketing Specialist Course is a great value for the money.
Founded by Kathie Thomas, who has more than twenty years of experience with her own Virtual Assistant practice and was an Executive Secretary before that. Kathie was a VA in the 1990’s, even before the term was even being used. She is credited with establishing the first VA network in the southern hemisphere. You can learn more about her at VAdirectory.net, the virtual assistant’s network she founded.
To find the best virtual assistant programs, you have to first determine the type of work you want to do, either as an employee or as a freelancer. Research the virtual assistant programs available that are within your budget or slightly above your budget and determine which ones are suitable. Enroll in the best virtual assistant program for your situation and skill set and complete it to earn your certification and applying what you learn to your work.