Program Coordinator Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a program coordinator. Learn about the educational requirements, various duties, job outlook and salary range to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Business degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Program Coordinator?

A program coordinator organizes and manages events and activities and acts as a liaison between a company or organization and its customers. Many tasks may be done behind-the-scenes, but you'd also represent your employer and provide a face and personality to those your company serves. You'd be responsible for determining the types of programs or events to meet a particular goal, marketing that program to the appropriate group of people, managing the event from start to finish, and reporting on the success or failures of the program. The majority of these programs are available in education, business, nonprofit organizations and government.

The following chart provides an overview of the education, job descriptions, and the pay you can expect in entering this field. Employment outlook is based on some occupations that include program coordinators.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, though some employers prefer a master's degree
Education Field of Study Business administration, social work, urban studies
Key Responsibilities Attention to detail, research, budgeting, scheduling, assessment, interpersonal communications
Job Outlook (2014-24)* 5% (business operations specialists, other), 10% (social and community service managers)
Median Salary (2016)** Program manager in IT ($110,578), nonprofit industry ($48,428), healthcare ($75,009), education ($53,681), government ($87,108)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Duties Would I Perform as a Program Coordinator?

While your job-related activities will depend upon the venue within which you work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), typical duties include arranging meetings, handling travel arrangements, serving as a liaison, scheduling speakers, handling registration and other related duties (www.bls.gov).

The BLS also indicates that you may need to motivate organizational members, assist with proactive goal setting, arrange virtual (Internet-based) conferences, set up displays and provide entertainment. These types of positions also involve negotiating contracts and other financial and budget-oriented tasks.

What Job Titles Could I Hold?

Since you may be employed in a variety of industries, job titles will vary. According to the BLS, you might choose to work for nonprofits, government, business or education. You could potentially hold the title of corporate planner, convention service manager or education planner. If you're in a senior management position, however, your job title could be conference services director or education seminar coordinator. O*net OnLine also lists titles such as program manager, programming director and production director (www.onetonline.org).

What Experience and Credentials Do I Need?

According to a February 2015 search for program coordinator positions at Monster.com, you would usually need a four-year degree as well as two to five years' experience (monster.com). Another search at that time on that site indicated that in addition to a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent), you would need four years of experience in a related field.

For industry-specific positions, such as a rehab program coordinator, according to a February 2015 CareerBuilder search, you would need an accredited degree in nursing, physical therapy, a state and/or national certificate and license as well as other relevant experience. Other requirements include the ability to travel to various sites, as well as strong communication and problem-resolution skills (www.careerbuilder.com).

What Salary and Job Growth Can I Expect?

PayScale.com reports the median salary of program managers in a variety of industries as of October 2016. For example, the highest paid were those in IT, who earned $110,578, while the lowest median salary was in the nonprofit sector, where program managers made a median of $48,428. Other industries reported included government at $87,108, healthcare at $75,009 and education at $53,681. The BLS reports rising job outlooks between 2014 and 2024 for business operations specialists, which is where the organization categorizes some program managers. The number of jobs are expected to increase 5%, while community and social services managers, which also includes program managers in other industries, are anticipated to see a 10% increase in jobs during that time period.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you're organized and like planning and managing, other jobs that might interest you could include project manager, health educator, or event planner. You'll typically need a bachelor's degree in a related field for these jobs, and you might need to have some industry experience. Project managers work in many industries, though information technology tends to be part of this job. Health educators can work in hospitals, clinics, community health centers or nonprofit organizations as well as for government agencies. As an event planner, you can work almost anywhere, including the business or nonprofit sectors, entertainment or education.

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