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Career Definition of a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants perform a wide variety of administrative and supportive tasks from a remote location. Many industries utilize virtual assistants to provide assistance with everything from clerical and technical tasks to customer service support and translating services. Virtual assistants can work full-time or part-time during typical business hours. Some positions may offer virtual assistants the flexibility to work at their own pace and set their hours.
The job responsibilities for a virtual assistant vary and are dependent upon the specific position and industry. General duties may include calendar management for clients, coordinating travel and meeting arrangements, and overseeing accounts receivable and payable. Virtual assistants can also serve as customer service support by responding to customer inquiries or processing orders via telephone, email, or chat. They may also coordinate marketing efforts for clients by creating and updating websites or blogs, overseeing social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter, and drafting and publishing press releases.
|Educational Requirements||Minimum of a high school diploma|
|Job Skills||Ability to work independently, strong computer skills, excellent attention to detail, superior organizational skills, strong interpersonal skills, knowledge of basic office equipment, initiative|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$35,078|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||3% (for all types of secretaries and administrative assistants)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A virtual assistant will need at least a high school diploma; however, some employers may require or prefer an associate's or bachelor's degree. Some employers may accept a high school diploma as long as prospective candidates have the required amount of related work experience. Prospective candidates can pursue certification as a virtual assistant to further their training in the field. The International Association of Administrative Professionals also offers the Certified Administrative Professional certification to showcase candidates' skills. It requires two to four years of related work experience and passing an examination.
Virtual assistants must be comfortable working independently from a remote location. They should be comfortable taking initiative on projects, since they will be virtually supporting their clients. Virtual assistants must have strong computer skills, from Word processing to creating Excel spreadsheets, and familiarity with standard office equipment. They should also be very detail-oriented and organized, with the ability to manage multiple projects and deadlines at once. Strong interpersonal skills are essential, since virtual assistants may interact with customers, vendors, and internal employees via telephone or online chat.
Career and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment opportunities for traditional secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to increase by just 3%, or slower than the average for all occupations, between 2014 and 2024. Those in the field with strong Word processing and spreadsheet skills, as well as related work experience, may have the best job prospects. In September 2017, PayScale.com reported that the median annual wage for virtual assistants was $35,078.
Those considering a career as a virtual assistant may be interested in one of the below related careers. They offer prospective candidates the freedom to work from home and utilize their administrative skills.