What Does an Assistant Project Manager Do? (And How to Become One)

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Thinking of becoming an assistant project manager? Learn more about the role of an assistant project manager, the skills and requirements for the job, and the steps needed to become one.

[Featured Image] An assistant project manager and a project manager stand in an office, reviewing notes from a project meeting.

An assistant project manager coordinates projects and reports to the project manager. To become an assistant project manager, it is beneficial to have some education and experience in project management.

The requirements to attain this role vary depending on the job, but many companies prefer candidates with knowledge or experience in their specific industry, as well as management software skills. Assistant project managers usually use this position to gain experience and proficiency in the industry so they can become project managers in the future. 

Assistant project manager job description

An assistant project manager's job is to make sure the project runs smoothly from start to finish. They work on the planning and execution of every step of the project, collaborating with the project manager or other team members who are assigned to the project. 

Assistant project managers usually perform administrative duties, such as organizing and maintaining the project documents, updating the digital database, and helping to manage the project’s budget, along with basic duties, such as setting up phone calls, meetings, and site visits. They also play a role in coordinating with team members about the project details and working with vendors, clients, and employees to determine and meet project expectations. 

Roles and responsibilities

While the roles and responsibilities of an assistant project manager depend on the company,  some basic duties are usually expected. The main goal of an assistant project manager is to contribute to the planning and execution of a project. Other common responsibilities include:

  • Performing administrative tasks as required, including preparing estimates and invoices and keeping track of the project’s progress, usually with the help of specific software

  • Reporting to the project manager on the project’s progress through all stages 

  • Supporting team members by researching project information

  • Updating and reporting on the project’s schedule progress, budget, and spending 

  • Collaborating with stakeholders about their needs and goals for the project

Assistant project manager work environment

Assistant project managers can work in a number of industries as well as large companies and agencies. Some common industries include health care, construction, and marketing. Some assistant project managers will shadow an experienced product manager to gain experience. Some work alone, and others work alongside a team.

Assistant project manager skills

Requisite skills to become an assistant project manager include excellent organizational skills since updating and keeping track of the budget and planning are some of the key duties of the role. Organization is also imperative in this role because assistant project managers may work on several projects at once. 

Other essential skills include:

  • Communication: Because teams from different departments may be working together, it is important to provide concise instructions to each person involved so they understand their required expectations. You may also work with vendors and suppliers, so it is important to communicate with them effectively.

  • Leadership: Having strong leadership skills is important to motivate and lead the team toward project completion. Leadership skills can also help you delegate responsibilities to the appropriate teams.

  • Experience in management software: No matter what field you are in, it's important to have knowledge of the specific software you'll be working with. This means it will be helpful if you are proficient in Microsoft Suite or other management software programs before getting the job.

Assistant project manager salary and job outlook

The average base salary for an assistant project manager is $65,836, according to Glassdoor [1]. You may be able to make more money if your project includes a bonus, commission, profit sharing, and overtime. Glassdoor reports an average of $8,830 in this additional pay, potentially bringing our average total pay to $74,665 as an assistant project manager [1]. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 7 percent job growth rate from 2021 to 2021 for project management specialists, a role closely related to assistant project managers [2]. Additionally, the Project Management Institute (PMI) reports an expected growth rate of 33 percent in seven project-oriented sectors through 2027, resulting in nearly 22 million new jobs in project management [3].

Factors that impact assistant project manager salary

Your salary as an assistant project manager depends on a variety of factors, so be sure to keep in mind the following components as you decide where to work and the type of education and certification you will pursue.


As with most jobs, location matters when it comes to salary. Washington, Nevada, and New Hampshire are among the states offering the highest US salaries for assistant project managers, while the lowest-paying states include Florida, Oklahoma, and Mississippi, according to Zippia [4].


The industry you choose to work in can also play a role in determining salary. According to Glassdoor, the top five industries to work in with the highest salaries in project management are [1]:

  • Telecommunications

  • Construction, repair, and maintenance services

  • Information technology

  • Energy, mining, and utilities

  • Government and public administration

Education and experience

Most companies require an assistant project manager to have a bachelor’s degree in business management. Some colleges and universities even offer specialized programs in project management. 

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Previous experience on a project management team or as an administrative assistant can help you hone your administrative skills. Having an entry-level job in an industry where you want to pursue a career can also assist you with the skills needed to be an assistant project manager, such as organizational, leadership, and problem-solving skills. 


Getting certified in project management shows potential and current employees that you have taken additional steps to gain the skills you need to work in project management, such as scheduling, budgeting, reporting on projects, and the knowledge of how to delegate. A certification will usually add value to your resume, potentially making more job opportunities available to you and giving you a chance at higher earning power while helping you learn more about the role.

For example, a PMI Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is well known in the industry, and it is recognized by companies worldwide, allowing you to work in many industries in various locations. Attaining this certification offers an array of benefits, including a higher salary. 

Read more: 6 Project Management Certifications to Advance Your Career

How to become an assistant project manager

Assistant project manager jobs usually require the combination of earning a bachelor’s degree, gaining experience working in a project management environment, possessing skills that help you oversee projects from start to finish, and earning additional training or certificates that will improve your resume. Experience in this role, such as working on other assistant project manager jobs, can prove beneficial in furthering your career into a higher project management position.

1. Earn your degree.

The educational requirements to become an assistant project manager vary depending on what qualifications a company is looking for in an employee. Some businesses may be fine with a candidate who doesn’t have a college degree but has a lot of experience in the field.

On the other hand, many companies require you to have an associate or bachelor’s degree in a major that is relevant to the industry in which you want to work as an assistant project manager, such as business management.  

Relevant training and related certifications in assistant project management are also beneficial. Although it may not be a requirement, a professional certification shows potential employers that you possess a level of competency beyond a college degree.  

Although not all companies require you to earn your college degree, it can give you an advantage. You don’t necessarily need to major in project management. You can major in business management or a relevant field. 

A degree in an area you are interested in may prove more beneficial since the knowledge you gain about the project background can be a great help. For example, a degree in architecture, construction management, or engineering can give you an advantage if you want a career working with a construction project manager.

2. Gain experience.

Gaining experience in an entry-level job, such as an administrative assistant, will help you learn and grow your management skills. It will be a bonus if the job is in the industry you have an interest in working for as an assistant project manager.

An internship can also help you gain experience so you can learn what the role entails, as well as the ability to watch and learn from the project manager. 

3. Build key skills.

While building certain skills as an assistant project manager requires firsthand experience, you need interpersonal skills as an assistant project manager that help you interact with team members, vendors, stakeholders, and others involved in the project from start to finish.

Communication skills are key to ensuring everyone is on the same page and knows the goals of a project and their individual roles. Other skills employers are looking for in a candidate include organization, attention to detail, problem-solving, and the ability to multitask. 

4. Consider certifications or training.

A certification or training in project management is a great way to show employers your commitment to the job. A myriad of options are available to choose from when it comes to getting certified, so check out all the possibilities and choose the best one that fits your needs. This includes looking for the most common certification program in your industry, as well as the certification or training that best fits your time, interests, and budget. 

Getting started with Coursera

Looking to gain more knowledge and start a career as an assistant project manager? Check out some certificate programs that will put you on the right track, including the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate on Coursera. This program requires no degree or experience, and you can learn the skills you need to succeed in an entry-level project management role in less than six months.

Article sources


Glassdoor. “Assistant Project Manager Salaries, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/assistant-project-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,25.htm.” Accessed July 11, 2023.

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