Payroll Coordinator: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for payroll coordinators. Get the facts about what kind of education you need, common job responsibilities and salary information to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Accounting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Payroll Coordinator?

As a payroll coordinator, you will oversee the regular compensation of employees. Payroll coordinators can work for any type of organization or business that needs to pay its workers. They must keep accurate records of hours worked by employees and their attendance. They then check that these records correspond correctly with the proper amount on paychecks. Payroll coordinators may have to make adjustments to payrolls for things like vacation time, sick leave, maternity leave and more. These professionals are also responsible for making sure that employees are paid on time. Depending on the size of their workplace, they may work alone or as a part of a team of payroll clerks. The table below provides an overview for this career:

Degree Required High school diploma (minimum), associate's degree (recommended)
Key Responsibilities Compile information regarding new employees, track hours, manage pay deductions
Certification Certified Payroll Professional (CPP), Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC)
Job Growth (2014-2024) -3%* (for payroll and timekeeping clerks)
Average Salary (2015) $42,130* (for payroll and timekeeping clerks)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Is Required for a Payroll Coordinator?

Employers often prefer to hire payroll professionals who have at least a high school diploma as well as some computer skills. You can pursue a certification or associate's degree program at a professional organization or accredited school to boost job opportunities. Many technical and community colleges offer courses at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Additionally, professional associations, such as the American Payroll Association (APA), offer certification programs.

Certification programs provide a basic background in finance, accounting, law and taxation. Some programs offer in-depth training. For example, the APA's Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) and Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) programs provide training in compliance, payroll software systems, benefits, auditing and customer service. You must meet the minimum requirements to qualify to take the APA's examination.

Associate's degree programs offer a more in-depth education. For example, you can expect to take courses in accounting, business law, economics, fraud, taxation and auditing. Completing a degree beyond an associate's may over-qualify you for payroll coordinator opportunities.

What Duties Will I Perform?

As a payroll coordinator, you will make certain the payroll process runs smoothly. You can expect to gather and enter information about new employees, such as social security numbers and addresses, into a company's payroll system. You will keep track of the number of hours worked in each pay period and complete mandatory deductions, such as taxes, garnishments and benefits.

You may also apply your knowledge of the Fair Labor Standards Act and technology to certain tasks. For example, you must have a solid understanding of exempt and non-exempt employee statuses when processing hours worked. Furthermore, the company you work for may require that you upgrade or maintain a payroll software program.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that payroll and timekeeping clerks earned an annual average wage of $42,130 in 2015 ( Some of the highest-paid earners reported average wages of $68,960 per year. Most payroll and timekeeping clerks earned between $26,510 and $60,080 annually.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several alternative careers that require at least a high school diploma or equivalent, including tellers, bill and account collectors and gaming services workers. Tellers work at banks and process various financial transactions for their members, such as cashing or depositing checks. Bill and account collectors work with debtors to help them pay overdue bills. This may include negotiating different kinds of payment plans. Gaming services workers perform a variety of duties in gambling establishments. Some may take bets, deal cards or supervise other workers.

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