What Does a Project Coordinator Do?

Written by Coursera • Updated on Dec 9, 2021

Learn more about the job requirements as well as the skills and education you need to become a project coordinator.

A female project coordinator sits at a workstation with three members of her team

Within the broader scope of project management, a project coordinator organizes and manages the various parts of a project to ensure its success. This includes assigning and monitoring daily tasks and communication, as well as creating reports and updates for the project manager and other members of management. A project coordinator serves an essential role in effective project management. 

Let’s take a closer look at the project coordinator job description.

What is a project coordinator?

In most cases, project coordinators assist project managers with specific administrative tasks related to their assigned projects. They organize and communicate all the details of projects and specific assignments to team members and serve as a liaison between those team members and the project manager. 

Project coordinator responsibilities

Project coordinators for companies in different business sectors can expect to handle a number of tasks that are specific to their companies. But many of the key responsibilities are the same. 

  • Monitoring the daily progress of projects 

  • Providing detailed updates to project managers or other stakeholders

  • Ensuring team members have the supplies and resources they need to complete their assigned tasks on time and within their budget limits

  • Organizing reports, invoices, contracts, and other financial files for easy access

  • Planning meetings and organizing project logistics

  • Performing billing and bookkeeping tasks

  • Ordering necessary office supplies

Differences between a project coordinator and a project manager

Some companies may use the term project coordinator in place of project manager, but the two titles usually refer to positions with different responsibilities. A project coordinator handles administrative tasks for the project manager and team members to keep the project running smoothly. This may include ordering equipment and supplies, managing deadlines and workflow, and scheduling meetings and appointments.

While a project coordinator carries out the necessary daily tasks to keep a project on track, a project manager develops the full outline for the project. This extends from the initial goal setting and planning phases all the way through to project completion and delivery to the client. This includes establishing budgets, estimating necessary resources, and plotting a timeline for completion. In some cases, project coordinators may move into project manager positions.

Learn more: What Does a Project Manager Do (and How Do I Become One)?

Essential skills for a project coordinator

Regardless of the variations in projects across different industries, certain core skills are essential for almost any project coordinator. As critical members of project teams, they rely on the following:

  • Communication: Excellent verbal and written communication skills are essential to work closely with team members and managers, and effectively manage problems as they occur.

  • Leadership: As the primary point of contact for team members, you must be able to provide guidance, feedback, and encouragement for achieving goals.

  • Organization and time management: Managing the daily activities and needs of an entire team requires an excellent ability to multitask and effectively manage your time.  

  • Computers and data entry: Budgets and other important documents for companies are usually created on computers and sometimes maintained in databases.

  • Problem-solving: Although project managers may step in to handle significant problems, you should be prepared to work through and resolve minor issues without assistance.

  • Positive attitude: Generally, a positive outlook makes it easier to handle the stress of unexpected challenges and also helps the entire team stay positive and motivated.

Why pursue a career as a project coordinator

If you are highly organized with an eye for detail and have the necessary communication and people skills to motivate others, a career as a project coordinator could be the right choice for you. Project coordinators can be found in a range of industries, including engineering, health care, technology, financial, legal, and construction. Well-known companies like Amazon and Medtronic hire project coordinators.    

Getting a job as a project coordinator can also be a first step toward a career in project management. Some project coordinators go on to become project managers, program managers, or portfolio managers.

Read more: Program Manager vs. Project Manager: What’s the Difference?

How much do project coordinators make?

According to PayScale, Inc., project coordinators in the U.S. make an average annual salary of $50,567 as of 2021 [1]. The overall salary range is $37,000 to $70,000 across the country.  The US Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies project coordinators as business operations specialists, citing a median annual salary of $67,280 [2].

How to become a project coordinator

In general, landing a job as a project coordinator often requires at least a high school diploma and sometimes a bachelor's degree or technical certification. 

Acquiring a professional certification in project management can also show prospective employers that you have the necessary skills for the role. The Project Management Institute offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, one of the most recognized certifications in the country.  

Read more: How to Become a Project Manager in 5 Steps

Get started with Coursera

Whether you want to advance your current career or follow a brand new career path, you can master the skills you need to make it happen. Build job-ready skills for an entry-level role in project management with a Professional Certificate in project management from Google. You don’t need any previous experience, and the coursework helps prepare you for certifications from the Project Management Institute.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How do I become a project coordinator with no experience?

You might not need any project coordinator experience to get a job as a project coordinator. Many companies look for candidates with a couple of years of experience in the industry, even if it’s in an unrelated role. For example, if you want to work as a project coordinator in the cybersecurity industry, you may start out as a cybersecurity analyst.

What tools do project coordinators use?

There are a number of project management tools you may find helpful as a project coordinator. As you continue to build your skills and prepare for the job, consider building familiarity with tools like Jira, Trello, Slack, Toggl, or Float. If you have a specific company you’d like to work for, take a look at their job descriptions to see what tools to focus on. 

Here are a few Guided Projects you can complete in less than two hours to get you started:

Which certification is required for project coordinators?

Certification isn’t required for project coordinators, but earning a project management certification could enhance your resume and give you a competitive edge when applying for jobs. If you’re just starting out, consider the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate.

Can project coordinators work remotely?

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many project teams have started working remotely, including project coordinators and project managers. While leading a virtual project team comes with its own unique set of challenges, it’s an opportunity that will likely expand in the future.

Article sources

1. PayScale. "Average Project Coordinator, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Project_Coordinator%2C_(Unknown_Type_%2F_General)/Salary." Accessed March 26, 2021.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Project coordinator, https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2015/youre-a-what/project-coordinator.htm." Accessed March 26, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Dec 9, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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