Career Outlook: What is a Virtual Assistant?

Graduates of the Office Management degree program at Bryant & Stratton College are prepared for a number of career options, including working as a Virtual Assistant in a number of business settings.

If you’re starting or in the middle of administrative assistant training, you may be thinking about what you’ll do after graduation (if you’re not, then you should!). Becoming a virtual assistant might be a good option for you.Virtual Assistant working at computer

What is a virtual assistant?

A virtual assistant is a contract worker that businesses can hire to perform a variety of administrative duties. Virtual assistants operate as their own business, building a client base and working remotely from a home office or an independent workspace. Working as a virtual assistant allows for greater schedule flexibility, and gives individuals the opportunity to specialize in the areas of administrative work that they enjoy the most.

Interested in this unique career path? Here’s what you need to know about becoming a virtual assistant.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a virtual assistant?

Virtual assistants handle a variety of administrative and business tasks, depending on their client base. These tasks may include:

  • Writing business newsletters, and other communications tasks
  • Making phone calls, scheduling appointments and sending emails
  • Updating social media accounts for a brand or business
  • Managing website content and web design

Many virtual assistants choose to specialize in a particular area, such as web design or social media management.

What is the benefit of hiring a virtual assistant?

Many business owners choose to contract with a virtual assistant because they do not need the support of a full-time employee, but rather, someone to manage a few certain tasks. Hiring a virtual assistant is more affordable because the business is not responsible for providing office space, equipment or benefits. These eliminated costs also benefit the virtual assistant, as they generally make more money per hour than a traditional administrative assistant would.

What is the virtual Assistant salary?

Because virtual assistants are self-employed, salaries vary. According to, virtual assistants can make between $21,372 - $64,066 depending on where they are located and their level of experience.

How does working as a virtual assistant differ from traditional employment?

As a virtual assistant, you have more control over your schedule and workload. You decide how big of a client base you would like to maintain, which hours you will work, and what types of services you would like to provide. Location and commute are not an issue, making it an ideal profession for highly mobile individuals (for example, military spouses). But the freedom of self-employment also brings the burden of self-motivation. This role requires someone who is a self-starter, so work gets done and clients remain happy.

What training and skills are required?

There is no formal training required to become a virtual assistant. However, virtual assistants do need the skills and a certain level of knowledge to be successful.

  • Administrative & Communication Skills: In order to provide a quality service, and build a client base, a virtual assistant must have strong communication skills, and be able to perform administrative tasks.
  • Office Technology Skills: Technology knowledge is also a must, as you will use a variety of online tools in order to communicate with and perform work tasks for your clients.
  • Business and Accounting Skills: It is also important to have a certain level of business savvy, as you are essentially running your own business. Understanding how to network, handle clients, and manage your finances are all necessary skills in order to be successfully self-employed.

Having formal administrative assistant training through a certification or degree program can help you hone these skills, and give potential clients proof of your experience and professional know-how.

If you are considering pursuing self-employment as a virtual assistant, online schooling can be a good choice especially if you are on the move or have time commitments restricting your access to on-campus courses. For more information on administrative assistant courses at Bryant and Stratton, click here. Ask about our online course options.

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