The speaking industry is not highly regulated which is one of the challenges in creating a legitimate training and certification program for assistants. There are no governing bodies to oversee training and certification. However, it is possible to model a certification on other professional certifications in other industries and create a credible designation that authors and aspiring authors can rely on to make sure those they select to assist them are professionally qualified.
Our mission is to develop a national program standard for virtual speaker’s assistants and to oversee the practice of in a professional manner and to encourage the growth of VSAs who are integral to helping speakers succeed.
We have created our own governing body to oversee the development and maintenance of this course and long-term continuing education and recertification. We sought to find long-experienced highly trained professionals who could bring both the perspectives of the virtual assistant community as well as the book publishing community. Their bios will be available shortly.
The course itself was created by Jan B. King, a book publishing expert with over 30 years in the field, as well as a curriculum designer and Vickie Sullivan a speaker and leading speaker consultant.
What Went Into This Certification
This program has been in development close to two years and began as an effort first to mentor and then evolved into a much more planned and carefully driven job-based training program.
Our first task was to establish the job description of the virtual speaker’s assistant.
Our second task was to establish a training program that would focus on the administrative aspects of the speaking business with enough background for a deep understanding but without setting out to do the Herculean task of teaching everything a long-time practitioner would be able to do.
Our third task was to create practice exercises and a rigorous final exam that would test that our training program met its goals and that graduates would be ready to begin practicing their new skills immediately.
Our final and ongoing task is to make sure that the program changes as the industry does and that it allows for the continuous learning that will allow participants to deepen their own knowledge and skills for years to come. This includes a community, access to experts and a mastery level certification for those who wish it.
Program Inception: January, 2010
Creator: Jan B. King, Privately-owned and operated
Location: 531 Main St. #1161, El Segundo, CA 90245, USA
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 310-990-8807
Training web site: http://www.SpeakersAssistants.org (password protected)
Directory of trained professionals: http://www.SpeakersAssistants.com
Sales web site: http://www.SpeakersAssistantTraining.com
Approximate training hours to become certified – 30 hours of training plus 8 hours of practice plus 2 hours of 50-question multiple-choice final exam (actual time varies widely by the background of the participant).
Delivery Methodology: Self-paced online learning using slidecast videos with audio and visual components and downloadable how-to documents including dozens of on-the-job checklists, spreadsheets, etc. to use with clients. Also includes a frequent live interaction with the primary instructor or other guest experts.
Curriculum – Covers 6 separate subject areas:
• Managing the Speaker’s Intellectual Property
• Managing the Speaker’s Marketing and Sales Process
• Managing the Speaker’s Logistics
- Managing the Speaker’s Office
- Managing the Speaker’s Products
- Marketing Services to Speakers
Practical Aspects: Affordability (total package including all materials $498US) plus convenient learning for working professionals who want to learn as they continue working with clients
Recertification is required every 3 years
There are approximately 200 working professional virtual speaker’s assistants working either full or part-time in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Use of the PVSA designation and logo are restricted to those who have passed the certification exam.
How Does Certification Advance a Career?
• Allows for those who invest in themselves to prove competence to potential clients
• Shows the practitioner is committed to the industry and continuous learning and improvement