What Do Project Coordinators Do and How Do You Become One?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Find out what project coordinators do, the core skills that are needed to become an effective project coordinator, why you might want to pursue this career, and how to get into project leadership roles with this guide from Coursera.

[Featured image] Project coordinator smiles while talking to a coworker in front of s window

As a project coordinator, you will work with project managers to ensure projects complete on time and within budget. Your tenacity, attention to detail, and ability to work multiple work streams and within tight deadlines will make you an important hub for the project team.

In this guide we'll start with what a project coordinator is and then dive into the tasks you will perform in this role, your responsibilities, and the skills you will need. We’ll then look at why you might want to choose this job path and how to go about getting a job. 

If you see yourself as a leader who gets things done with grace, a team player who values collaboration over competition, and an optimistic self-starter motivated by rewards that only come from critical thinking and creative problem solving; then project coordination might be right for you.

What is a project coordinator?

A project coordinator is someone brought in to coordinate the resources of a project—not just the people and contractors, but also information and materials. You will help the project manager out with the day-to-day running of a project, making sure that everything moves from one stage to another without any problems.

As a member of the project leadership team, you may: 

  • Create and administer schedules

  • Gather requirements

  • Monitor progress

  • Compose and distribute project status reports

  • Liaise with the client or end-user

  • Oversee the workflow of project teams 

What does a project coordinator do exactly?

Project coordinators keep their eye on the big picture, monitor project progress and ensure that all of the moving pieces are coming together as expected. Project managers, by contrast, are often pulled in so many directions at once that it's easy for project details to fall through the cracks. The project coordinator role makes up for this.

Here’s a high-level look at some of the project coordination tasks you will do in this role.

Monitor and report project progress

The project coordinator is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of a project in order to meet time and budget goals. You will be responsible for monitoring the progress being made and reporting back to the project manager and project management office on a regular basis.

Project coordinators help managers make sure that everyone on a team knows what they're doing and how they should do it—and then make sure that everyone is working toward the project goals. They keep projects on track, working with and on behalf of the project manager to ensure that deadlines are met and that team members have the resources they need to do their jobs well.

Resource management

As project coordinator, you will be responsible for ensuring your team members have access to the resources they need, for facilitating the communication process, and for planning future resources.

Project logistics and meeting management

The project coordinator is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of a project, with responsibilities including arranging meetings and communicating changes in workflow. You may help plan the team diary and organise risk management meetings, stakeholder focus groups, and much more.

Project administration

The Project Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the "nuts and bolts" of projects. You may find yourself doing budgeting, cost control, time tracking, travel coordination, and project manager diary management.

Financial administration

The project controller may attend to daily billings and invoices and prepare entries into QuickBooks and other financial software as needed. As a project coordinator, you may also maintain accounts receivable by performing billing status and collection calls.

Office supplies management

As project coordinator, you will be responsible for the day-to-day ordering of office supplies, including encoding and distribution to teams.

What is the difference between a project manager and a project coordinator?

The terms project management and project coordination are sometimes used interchangeably. However, a project manager oversees the entire project process while a project coordinator helps to lead the day-to-day tasks and communication between team members.

The project manager is accountable for the success of the project. This can mean a lot of things:

  • Communicating with people above and below them

  • Making sure deadlines are met

  • Organising staff

  • Being the person responsible for delivering client value 

The project coordinator is a more junior role that focuses on day-to-day activities, including:

  • Scheduling meetings

  • Updating reporting documents

  • Making sure everyone on projects are fully provisioned

  • Ensuring everyone is following the approved processes

While a coordinator is essential to a project's success, a project manager will always be more strategic than a coordinator because they will have control of the whole project.

Core competencies of an effective project coordinator

There are many essential skills that you will need to do your job as a project coordinator well and help your projects succeed. Here are some of the most common competencies that project coordinators possess.

Computer skills and data entry

Computer and data entry skills are essential for project coordinators. These skills allow project coordinators to input, interpret, analyse, and use information in a timely manner and communicate effectively through written and digital channels.

Organisation and time management skills

To be a successful project coordinator you need to have excellent organisation and time management skills. You are responsible for helping to plan the team's workload to ensure deadlines are met while balancing the workloads of each member. You will need to track, monitor and report on multiple streams of a project on a daily basis.

Communication and people skills

As a project coordinator, you'll be responsible for collecting and organising materials and plans, communicating with team members and clients, and basically serving as a traffic controller on the project. Most of your work will involve human interaction, so a firm grasp of communication fundamentals is essential to becoming an effective project coordinator. Effective communication is the key to any successful project, and you, as project coordinator, will often be the communication hub.

A positive, can-do attitude

You'll need to be a positive person to be a project coordinator because the activities of a project can be both complex and challenging. Being able to defend your ideas with sound logic and confidence is a must. It will help you in resolving issues, handling people, and dealing with unexpected challenges. You are the glue that holds the project together. The ability to communicate clearly with others will be extremely important, and having a positive attitude will make difficult tasks easier.

Problem-solving focus and aptitude

Problem solving is the act of examining a situation and figuring out what caused it and how you can change it. A good project coordinator problem-solves constantly, seeking advice, data, and solutions from within the team and presenting them to the project manager.

Why go for a role as a project coordinator?

As a project coordinator, you help bring ideas to life. You have the opportunity to work at the centre of projects that are designed to make businesses more competitive. You'll be an integral component of dynamic teams, working in challenging environments where your ideas and efforts will have the potential for real business impact.

If you enjoy working with others to look for solutions, communicating with people, and managing busy workstreams, then a career as a project coordinator may be right for you. 

Project coordination is also a valuable position where you can build many of the required skills to lead project teams. If you're interested in project management, a job as a project coordinator is an ideal career stepping stone. You'll learn the ins and outs of managing projects, and you can gain the critical project management skills that will make you an attractive potential candidate when it's time to apply for higher-level positions.

The salary for project coordinator roles

When looking at job adverts, you’ll notice that some project manager roles have the title project coordinator. Make sure you look at the skillset and experience required in the roles that you apply for.


Project Coordinator£30,419£29,593£33,188

Data from December 2021. Averages salaries on job sites in London, UK

The average salary for project coordinators in London is a little over £30,000. There are regional differences in project coordinator salaries, with salaries in the North of England tending to be lower than in the South East of England, for example. 

How do you gain the skills and experience to get a job as a project coordinator?

While there are no specific qualifications required to become a project coordinator, you need to build and be able to demonstrate the skill set required in project coordination. It also helps to have experience or qualifications in a specific function. For example, a background and qualifications in software development may help you get a job as a software development project coordinator. HR managers often look for subject matter experience in candidates for project coordination roles. 

Let your manager know that you are interested in a path to project roles and be aware of opportunities to build your project competencies. Volunteer for more responsibility in your existing role, and get involved in projects throughout whenever possible. Even informal projects can give you the opportunity to build skills, knowledge, and valuable experiences to put on your CV.

Graduate routes into project coordinator roles

Some graduates go into project roles straight after their degree and then work up to become project coordinators. There is no substitute for working in different project areas when building experience for roles in project management and leadership. There are also graduate trainee roles in project teams that can provide management-level work that can equip you with the skills that are required in project leadership roles.

If you are serious about a career as a project coordinator, it may be a good idea to enroll in a project management course. Understanding project management frameworks, tools, and methodologies provides you with a set of guidelines and best practices to help throughout the project lifecycle.  The Google Project Management Professional Certificate is an accessible, entry-level project management qualification that can help you build your competencies and demonstrate your commitment to your career. 

Frequently asked project coordinator questions

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