Recently I attended a telephone conference for VA’s hosted by Andrea Lee, Cindy Greenway and Tina Forsyth of VA Scoop and The Future of Virtual Assistance group: http://www.virtuallysuccessful.com/category/future/.
The conference was a discussion about how important VA Certification is in our industry. This was particularly pertinent to me as I have been receiving information from many Virtual Assistance organizations about their certification programs and I have been “sitting on the fence” about how important it was to me.
Since our industry seems to have come to the forefront of attention, largely due to the world-wide economy and many articles stating that Virtual Assistance is one of the most opportune on-line businesses for the future, many “newbies” have joined our ranks.
There was one story mentioned about a “newbie” VA who had actually had a totally different profession, but she had a home computer and internet access and thought that was all she needed to break into the market. But that is a small minority.
Most up and coming Virtual Assistants actually have many years of experience in Administration and have left the Corporate world where jobs are disappearing. They have made the choice to continue to bring their skills and training to the table (some even have Executive Assistance experience) and seek to partner with businesses virtually to provide their services.
Some attendees felt that certification might weed out the “wannabees” from those that own/operate and have experience as Virtual Assistants.
Another subject raised was a clarification of the criteria which would be necessary in order to become a certified Virtual Assistant and what credentials a governing panel of individuals would need in order to make them good judges of whether to certify or not.
It was mentioned that not only would past education and experience be important factors in judging the capability of applicants but possibly the additional criteria of having had experience in operating their own bonafide virtual assistance business for at least 1 year. And should tests of skills in Office programs as well as other programs necessary to work remotely be added? And how could a virtual assistant be tested for certification if they had niche skills in internet marketing, social media marketing, copywriting, research, shopping cart programs, etc?
As well, there were participants on the call who thought that there should be an across the board standard no matter which VA organization was offering certifications.
Someone else discussed how important certifications were for other professions such as Accounting and Financial professionals, Lawyers and tradesman in construction. Would you trust your Financial advisor to handle your portfolio if they didn’t have demonstrated credentials and experience in that field?
The consensus of the call basically came down to uncertainty about how effective the certifications being offered right now would benefit Virtual Assistants already in business.
Specifically there was a feeling that with the growth and reputation of this booming industry, some form of certification will become much more important in the future.
If you have already made up your mind and want to know more, you can check out the resources listed below and decide which one is the right fit for you. Some organizations I know of who are offering certifications are:
CVAC (Canadian Virtual Assistant Connection): http://www.cvac.ca/Certification/CCVA.php
VANA (Virtual Assistant Networking Association): http://vacertified.com/
IVAA (International Virtual Assistants Association): http://www.ivaa.org/
A Clayton’s Secretary: http://www.vadirectory.net/accreditation.htm
VA Certification.com http://www.vacertification.com/
VA Classroom (for niche specialties): http://www.vaclassroom.com/
I welcome any feedback you have on this important issue…
Diane L. Covillehttps://alternativeofficeassistance.com