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A virtual assistant works for companies through the Internet as an outside contractor. Virtual assistants can work for small business owners or larger corporations, providing a variety of technical, administrative and creative duties. Though a background in a specific field is helpful, certifications show employers that you are a professional and take your career seriously.Start Getting Clients
There is no degree you can earn to become a virtual assistant; standard administrative training and computer skills are sufficient to get started. The certification process varies at the different organizations that offer the credentials. At the International Virtual Assistants Association and VA Certified, for example, you need to have developed a clientele before you can apply for certification. Both organizations require you to work for at least one year as a virtual assistant before you can earn certification. Find clients by networking within your community at professional associations and business groups, and talk to former employers and others who could benefit from your services. VAs supply a range of services.Prove Your Professionalism
The organizations require that you prove your claims of working as an independent contractor. You’ll undergo a series of questions and interviews and must submit copies of your tax returns. They’ll want to see testimonials from your customers, whom they will contact for verification of your work and abilities. The cost for the certification from VA Certified is $95, and the International Virtual Assistants Association requires you to join the association for an annual $137 fee.Take Classes
Through a website such as Assist U, one of the other places that provides official certification credentials, you need to pay to take a course in how to become a virtual assistant. After paying the company $69.99, you’ll go through a series of courses that cover topics such as creating a business plan, setting up your office, organizing workflow and pricing your services. After you complete the course, you can take the 40-question multiple-choice exam and get certified.Earn Additional Credentials
In addition to the basic VA credentials you can get from the few organizations providing them, earn certifications in related fields to grow your business. Take the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants exam to become a CPA if you have the educational background to qualify. Join the Institute of Management Accountants and earn a Certified Management Accountant designation to offer accounting services to clients. Parlay your proficiency in basic office systems, technology, social networking and human relations communications into a certification from the International Association of Administrative Professionals.About the Author
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."Photo Credits
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