How To Become a Project Coordinator (Plus Skills Required)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 October 2022 | Published 23 August 2021

Updated 19 October 2022

Published 23 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Pursuing a job in the project management field may provide you with the opportunity to organise, manage and complete a variety of exciting projects. As you consider this career, it's important to explore the various options so you may best select the certification that aligns with your skills, expertise and interests. A common profession within this field is a project coordinator. In this article, we discuss what a project coordinator does, how to become a project coordinator, if you can become one without experience, the skills they need and how much they earn.

What does a project coordinator do?

A project coordinator performs administrative tasks that support a project manager and ensures that teams complete projects on schedule and within budget. You may work with specific projects, or you could support the business in its entirety. You can find project coordinators in a diverse range of organisations, from architecture firms, agricultural businesses, technology firms, healthcare and construction, and they often report to project managers.

Duties of a project coordinator could include:

  • Assisting and supporting project managers with tasks such as the development of standard operating procedures, compiling documents and making appointments

  • Tracking, analysing and communicating project liabilities and opportunities

  • Collecting data and tracking project success metrics

  • Scheduling meetings to coordinate project work and provide status updates

  • Monitoring budgets and other financial documents and resolving any financial queries

  • Updating and using the risk/opportunity registers to mitigate financial risks

  • Developing training materials

How to become a project coordinator

Follow these steps to become a project coordinator:

1. Complete your education

Pursue an education program related to project management or coordination. As you research your options, consider looking for a diploma, certification or course that's endorsed by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM). If you have some relevant experience or knowledge of the subject already, you may pursue a certificate. Some examples of diplomas or certificates you may pursue include:

  • Advanced diploma of information technology project management

  • Advanced executive education in project management

  • Diploma of project management

  • Certificate IV in project management practice

However, if you're new to the field, earning a bachelor's degree is often beneficial. When pursuing an undergraduate degree, it's important to choose a course that teaches you about project management principles, problem-solving techniques and skills like communication and teamwork. Select a course like project management or a related, more specialised course. Some examples of specialised courses include:

  • Bachelor of applied science (project management)

  • Bachelor of commerce (project management major)

  • Bachelor of construction project management

2. Gain relevant experience

Look for opportunities to gain relevant work experience as a project coordinator. An internship is often a good way to complete basic project coordinator tasks to help you earn your first entry-level position. Also, each place you work provides you with the opportunity to make valuable connections. Growing your network may help you find other employment opportunities or make important professional connections you can use as references.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

3. Look for a mentor

Consider seeking a project management mentor to learn more about the field. While this is optional, it can be a valuable way to develop your professional skills. Leverage your network to try to find someone to ask to be your mentor. If you're unable to find a mentor within your network, consider participating in a national mentorship program provided by a professional organisation, such as the one offered by the AIPM.

4. Pursue certifications

As you gain experience as a project coordinator, you may pursue a professional certification. A certification may help verify your skills and prove your experience, which can be beneficial if you're looking for a promotion or a new job. Some examples of project coordinator certifications to consider pursuing include:

CSM

Becoming a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) may verify your knowledge of agile techniques within the Scrum framework. There isn't a particular organisation to earn a CSM from, but the Scrum Alliance is a primary organisation for these certifications. Earning this certification requires an understanding of scrum concepts, attending a two-day course, passing an exam and, if earned through the Scrum Alliance, getting a membership with the organisation.

CPPP

AIPM offers several certifications, including the Certified Practising Project Practitioner (CPPP) certification. This certification may be a good option if you're in the earlier stages of your career but have experience with contributing to project plans, participating in team meetings and working on projects. Earning this certification covers standards and techniques like:

  • Communications management

  • Contract and procurement

  • Cost management

  • Human resources management

  • Quality management

  • Risk management

  • Scope management

  • Time management

MSP

A Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) certification is an advanced project management certification offered by AXELOS. It's available at a Foundational or Practitioner level. Pursuing this certification requires a minimum of at least five years of project management experience as well as completing a course and passing an exam. Earning this certification demonstrates your knowledge of project management principles, leadership abilities and strategic control techniques.

PMP

A Project Management Professional (PMP) is a globally recognised certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification relates to the understanding and application of the Project Management Body of Knowledge. However, this is a more advanced certification. In addition to 35 hours of project management education, earning this degree also requires a four-year degree with three years or 4,500 hours of project management experience or five years or 7,500 hours of project management experience.

PRINCE2

Projects in Controlled Environments (PRINCE2) is a common certification for project management practitioners, especially those interested in working on large enterprise or government projects. This programme focuses on reducing large projects into smaller, more manageable groups of tasks. While there are a variety of organisations that provide PRINCE2 certifications, AXELOS is the primary organisation that provides it. AXELOS offers certifications at Foundation and Practitioner levels, and, at the Practitioner level, you may choose from PRINCE2 Practitioner and PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner certifications.

RegPM

A Registered Project Manager (RegPM) refers to the entire AIPM certification programme. There are five different certification levels that depend on the type of work you do and the team members you work with. Each certification indicates your ability to achieve certain outcomes. Beginning to pursue your RegPM certification requires a few years of experience, joining the AIPM, applying for the assessment, submitting the required assessment, completing an interview and passing an artefact review.

5. Consider a promotion

Many people who begin their careers as project coordinators choose to advance their careers to become project managers. While these positions require similar skills, they have unique responsibilities related to projects. Generally speaking, project coordinators often handle the day-to-day tasks of projects, whereas project managers focus on broader, more strategic aspects of projects.

Read more: What Is a Project Manager?

Can you become a project coordinator without experience?

It may be possible to become a project coordinator without formal experience. However, it's important for you to develop the essential skills that these professionals need to complete their tasks. Also, pursuing training programmes or online courses may help you learn more about the skills needed to be a successful project coordinator.

Project coordinator skills

Some specific skills necessary to become a successful project coordinator include:

Communication

A project coordinator may use interpersonal communication skills, such as conflict management, to address challenges team members may have. They often rely on exceptional written and verbal communication skills to ensure that the whole team understands their tasks and responsibilities. Project coordinators may also interact directly with clients and top-level management, meaning they may need to adjust their communication style to provide project updates to a variety of stakeholders.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Problem-solving and critical thinking

Critical thinking skills are essential because projects may prove challenging or present unexpected obstacles. A project coordinator may need to act quickly to implement these changes and maintain a project schedule. They may also need to assist the project manager if a project changes or collaborate with other team members to find an effective solution.

Time management

The project coordinator supervises and coordinates each stage of the project carefully to make sure they meet critical deadlines. They may use calendar management and other task organisation tools to ensure every team member completes work and the project stays on schedule. It's also important for them to be effective in prioritising certain tasks over others to promote the success of the project.

Budgeting

A project coordinator assists the project manager in managing the finances of a project. It's important for them to ensure a project stays within budget. They may be responsible for allocating resources, monitoring expenses and forecasting cash flow.

Emotional intelligence

Project coordinators typically work with large groups of people. This requires them to understand how to work with different personalities and build strong relationships. Developing emotional intelligence or good interpersonal skills may help them be successful in working with others.

Related: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

How much does a project coordinator earn?

Salaries for project coordinators may vary. Factors like experience, qualifications, geographic location and your specific employer may affect your salary. However, the national average salary for a project coordinator is $85,385 per year.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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