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Project Administrator: Job Description and Education Requirements

Sep 12, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a project administrator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education, job duties and required experience to find out if this is the career for you.

Project administrators have a variety of job responsibilities, from scheduling to negotiating with other professionals, all of which is geared towards making sure a business project runs smoothly. They need at least a high school diploma for entry-level positions, but will need a bachelor's degree to be considered by larger companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts an average job growth for this career field through 2024.

Essential Information

Project administrators oversee clerical and managerial duties for various ventures. Academic requirements vary by industry and business, but in general a bachelor's degree is recommended. A master's degree or optional certification may provide opportunities for advancement.

Required Education A high school diploma with several years of experience may be sufficient, but larger companies usually require a bachelor's degree.
Other Requirements Many voluntary certifications are available, including Project Manager certification.
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% for administrative services managers*
Median Salary (2019) $60,174**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Salary.com

Job Description of a Project Administrator

Project administrators handle a number of functions involved in the continued operations of an enterprise. Acting in an office management capacity, project administrators perform tasks necessary to keep a project running smoothly, such as records keeping, resource coordination, scheduling, and ensuring compliance with government and safety regulations. In a project that requires subcontractors, vendor assessment and contract negotiation may fall under the duties of a project administrator.

Project administrators can work on many different projects in a variety of capacities. They might work in an office or at a remote location, such as a construction site. Depending on the size and scope of a project, a project administrator may be responsible for all operations or only a portion, reporting to an overseeing project manager.

Educational Requirements of a Project Administrator

The BLS noted that a high school diploma with some administrative experience may be sufficient for smaller organizations, though corporations and larger enterprises that demand more responsibility from project administrators may require a bachelor's degree as well as sufficient experience. Several educational options exist, such as associate and bachelor's degree programs in business administration and project management, that provide general and concentrated management and organizational training appropriate to the profession.

Business administration courses offer topics in a number of different disciplines related to successful management of a project. For instance, students may take general business courses in marketing, finance, accounting, and management, all of which may contribute to a project's different aspects. Concentrated coursework in computer use, project management, and human resources offer training specific to practical job duties. Programs may also include internship opportunities for students, providing valuable work experience and possible postgraduate employment contacts. Graduates may be eligible to continue studies at the master's level, earning a Master of Business Administration, which may increase salary potential and career opportunities.

Certification Options

Organizations, such as the Project Management Institute, offer online training and certification for administrators. Multiple levels and vocational focuses are available, including Project Management Professional and PMI Scheduling Professional designations. Educational and experience requirements vary by the type of credential, and continuing education is generally necessary to maintain certification.

Salary Info

According to Salary.com, the median salary of project administrators as of August 2019 was $60,174. As of August 2019, PayScale.com reported that project managers in general earned a median salary of $73,000. In construction, they earn a median annual salary of $73,000, while those in engineering earn a median of $91,000, and IT project managers earn a median of $87,000 a year.

Those who are interested in becoming a project administrator should plan to study business administration at an accredited institution or accrue administrative work experience. Project administrators may pursue optional certification in order to specialize or increase their credibility to potential employers.

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