The role of a project coordinator is similar to that of a project manager. Unlike a project manager, the project coordinator is not responsible for the entire operation of the project. Instead, they focus on the smooth operation of various departments or jobs that other are assigned to do, especially in a particular area or goal. It takes someone who is highly organized to be an effective project coordinator and who works well with others.
The typical education for a project coordinator is usually a four-year degree in a specialty area or a degree in Project Management. Those who acquire a degree in Project Management normally prefer to be a manager, but they may start off as a project coordinator and work into the management position later on. Additionally, you should focus on a certain area of study related to projects, such as construction, office management and organization, artistic projects, or other areas that tend to be project-based.
An Alternate Route
If you do not seek the four-year degree, an alternate method would be to get experience in management and coordination of projects and ask someone to give you a chance working in that capacity. While there may be some limited opportunity using this method, it is doubtful you will reach the higher levels you can reach if you have the degree.
Steps to Becoming a Project Coordinator
A project coordinator is someone who can get things done. They are outgoing and reliable, highly organized and energetic. They are responsible for coordinating efforts among staff, vendors, and upper management, in order to pool the resources needed to bring a project together. If this describes you, here are some practical steps you could take to reach your goals:
1) Obtain a four-year degree in either Project Management or a specific specialty field. Start with a good educational emphasis on project management from an accredited institution.
2) Work on communications and interpersonal skills. A project coordinator has to be highly skilled in both written and oral communications. The job requires a high level of interaction with a number of people. The better your communications skills are, the more you can offer potential employers as a project coordinator.
3) Be proficient with computer and software skills. Because today’s world is so intertwined with technology and software use for multiple purposes, it is important to utilize your computer skills in project coordination. There is much collaboration that can be done nowadays with the use of software such as Share Point and other online platforms. Someone who presents themselves as proficient in technology and basic organizational software will increase their chances of employment in this area.
4) Understand the use of outsourced workers. In today’s changing world, where much work is contracted out to others, it is important to be able to coordinate much of the work that is done on projects with "work-at-home" experts and others who are outsourced (outside the office.) This is also why it is so important to be an effective communicator and coordinator of people and ideas.
5) Network with others involved in projects. If you can get to know others involved in project management and development, you will increase your chances of getting a job as a project coordinator. Practice makes perfect. The more projects you get involved with, the better your skills will be. Keep a portfolio of your work to show what projects you’ve been involved with and how successful they have been.
An effective project coordinator is highly specialized, highly organized, and is an effective communicator. They have strong interpersonal skills and can motivate people (both inside and outside the office environment) to get things done in an orderly fashion. If you think you would enjoy this job, start with a four-year degree from an accredited institution in Project Management or a specialty field, get some experience, and go for it. The first step is simple. Simply enroll in school. Step by step you’ll make it!