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Project Coordinator Vs. Project Manager

Project coordinators and project managers work closely together as part of a project team. Managers may assign coordinators' tasks, since they have more responsibility and authority. Read on to learn more about these careers.

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Comparing Project Coordinators to Project Managers

Project coordinators and project managers both perform duties to help ensure that their projects are completed as expected. Managers have a senior role, and coordinators may serve as their assistants.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)**
Project Coordinators Postsecondary Certification or Degree preferred $47,512 5% (for business operations specialists, all other)
Project Managers Bachelor's Degree $71,938 2% to 4% (for information technology project managers) 5% (for construction managers)

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Project Coordinators vs. Project Managers

Project coordinators and project managers are involved in keeping projects on track. Coordinators do things like maintain the paperwork related to a project, oversee project costs and schedule meetings. They may also do routine tasks such as ordering supplies. Project managers supervise coordinators and other staff who are involved in the projects they manage. They must ensure that tasks are completed on time and report to other managers and clients about the project's progress. Managers oversee the staff working on their project, and in some cases they may be involved in hiring subcontractors to perform specific duties.

Project Coordinators

It is possible to begin a career as a project coordinator with a high school diploma, but those who have postsecondary certification or a bachelor's degree may find that they have better job prospects. Coordinators need to have good math skills and they should also be organized. They can work in a number of different industries, and some employers may seek project coordinators with specific training or experience in their field. They may spend most of their time working in an office environment.

Job responsibilities of a project coordinator include:

  • Preparing budgets
  • Communicating with clients
  • Projecting cash flow
  • Updating information on computers

Project Managers

The specific tasks that project managers perform and their work environment can vary slightly depending on the industry in which they work. Those who serve as construction managers may find themselves traveling to work sites to supervise, while those who work as information technology project managers may spend most of their time in an office environment. Project managers can work in other fields as well, including finance and manufacturing. Their priority is to ensure that projects are completed. Most employers require these managers to have a bachelor's degree, and those in this field may be able to advance to senior management roles with a master's degree and experience.

Job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Identifying relevant factors related to their projects
  • Determining the staffing needs
  • Creating budgets
  • Monitoring the progress of the staff

Related Careers

Individuals thinking about becoming a project coordinator may also be interested in being an administrative assistant, since administrative assistants may also maintain financial records, order supplies and schedule appointments. For those considering a career as a project manager, another option may be to become an assistant principal, since assistant principals help coordinate staff and school schedules.

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