Virtual Assistant Course Details

Penn Foster Career School’s online Virtual Assistant courses are designed to help you start a business, obtain work, and build a career as a virtual secretary. Learn about starting your own business, time and client management, written communications, creating presentations, and more — online, at a pace that’s right for you.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To prepare students to start a business, obtain work, and build a career as a virtual assistant by providing them with a strong background in business and web writing, communication, presentation, and independent contractor management skills.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Recognize available opportunities for virtual assistant work in a variety of career and skill areas.
  • Outline the methods of effective interpersonal and written communication.
  • Communicate with correct use of the English language.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with a variety of computer and web-based business applications.
  • Interpret data using computational and analytical skills.
  • Describe the culture, standards, practices, and needs of the business sector.
  • Identify methods of individual and business marketing using the web and traditional means.
  • Discuss the elements, variables, and life cycle of a contract and the roles and responsibilities of the signatories.
  • Develop effective strategies for building and managing a successful freelance career as a virtual assistant.
  • Describe how to use online and traditional job search tools and resources to locate and secure work.
This course will introduce you to the virtual assistant career, including common roles and responsibilities, typical work and location circumstances, and effective ways to communicate remotely.


  • Describe how to use the Penn Foster student portal and resources
  • Explain the role and responsibilities of a virtual assistant
  • Analyze the work and location circumstances of a virtual assistant
  • Identify effective ways to communicate remotely with other people
In this course, you’ll explore qualities of professional communication, writing formats, word processing techniques, and specialized writing styles common in modern business.


  • Navigate the tools necessary to build an online business
  • Explain how to set-up both the online and offline portions of a business
  • Describe how to create a business plan for an internet-based profession
In this course, you'll investigate the many tools virtual assistants use to communicate. You'll explore how to use Microsoft® Word™ and PowerPoint®, but also separate internet and traditional writing.


  • Identify the basic skills needed to use Microsoft® Word™
  • Describe the basic skills needed for effective written communications
  • Compare between writing for web and for traditional outlets
  • Identify the basic skills needed to use Microsoft® PowerPoint®
  • Create a presentation and make it available online
In this course, you’ll learn how to work with a variety of social media and web-based tools to effectively market a business and yourself online and to perform common business organization, communication, and productivity tasks necessary for virtual assistant work.


  • Describe how to set up and manage social media accounts for business and professional purposes
  • Identify target audience using social media marketing strategies
  • Explain how search engine optimization and analytics work and how these can support business goals
  • Describe web tools used by businesses and virtual assistants to improve organization, communication, and productivity
In this course you’ll explore methods to successfully operate a home business as a virtual assistant contractor. You’ll learn about the nature of contract work, how to set rates and keep records, how to work well with clients, and how to effectively manage your time.


  • Describe the structure and requirements of contract work
  • Explain how to set rates, keep records, and bill for services
  • Identify the skills necessary to use Microsoft Excel
  • Discuss the bookkeeping and legal aspects of owning a business
  • Summarize how to manage client expectations
  • Analyze how to manage time effectively
This course will provide you with the information you need to successfully market yourself as a virtual assistant by using online and real time resources and techniques. You’ll also learn how to build a positive professional history and explore the most effective ways to find work as a Virtual Assistant.


  • Describe the many ways to market oneself online and in real time as a virtual assistant
  • Explain the benefits of treating virtual assistant work as a business
  • Explain the importance and methods of building a positive professional history
  • Analyze the most effective ways of finding work as a virtual assistant

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.
Penn Foster Career School is not approved or regulated as a school by the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details
Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Short Lessons
Easy-to-Access Lessons
Each lesson is broken into short chapters that allow you to fit learning into whatever time you have available. Don’t have time to finish a lesson? Not a problem - pick up where you left off next time!
Digital Flashcards
Digital Flashcards
A fun and interactive way to test your knowledge before your exams. Find out what information you've mastered, and what material needs additional review.
Penn Foster Sample Lesson

Sample Virtual Assistant Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a virtual assistant course would look like.
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 10 or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
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