Becoming a virtual assistant doesn't always involve formal training. Some people become virtual assistants based on skills they have gained in other jobs and through life experience. For example, a person who has worked in an office environment, worked in sales, or run his own business may already possess many of the skills he will need for this job. Others, however, can enroll in a formal program that includes training in the use of various types of software; an introduction to methods of interacting with clients; and training in such areas as time management, marketing, billing, and meeting tax requirements.
Unlike some careers, such as those in medicine, formal training isn't mandatory for a person who wants to become a virtual assistant. As such, some people may seek formal virtual assistant training while others might rely on experience and skills they already possess to land this job or start a virtual assistant business. Often, a person can make training decisions based on how well prepared he already feels as well as on whether or not employers and potential clients in his area seem to prefer those who have completed formal training. In many cases, clients and employers are more concerned with an individual's skills and work experience than with the extent of his training.
When a person does seek virtual assistant training, it often consists of instruction in the use of various office programs that a person might utilize in this field. For example, a person who seeks this type of training may learn to use the most popular word processing, database, spreadsheet, and presentation software. He may also learn to use web design and editing software, and how to use programs for the manipulation of images. In some cases, this type of training program may even include instruction in the creation and editing of audio and video clips as well as instruction in marketing and sales techniques.
A virtual assistant training program may also include instruction in the application of various types of technology commonly used in this field. This could include using email and facsimiles as well as text and online chat programs. In some cases, this type of training may also cover the use of online meeting software, including programs that allow participants to see each other while they talk.
Often, an individual who becomes a virtual assistant does so as an independent contractor or business person rather than as an employee. As such, many virtual assistant training programs teach business topics, including how to start a business, keep proper records, and bill clients. Some programs also provide instruction in handling taxes, creating contracts, and finding new clients.