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program coordinator vs. program director: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A program coordinator is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a program, while a program director oversees the program coordinator and sets the strategy for the program. If you’re interested in working in program management, understanding the difference between these two roles can help you decide which is the best fit for you. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles program coordinator and program director, and we provide additional information on responsibilities and skills for each role.

What is ?

Program coordinators develop, implement and oversee programs within organizations. They work to ensure that programs are running smoothly and efficiently and that they are meeting the goals and objectives of the organization. Program coordinators typically develop budgets and track expenditure, coordinate program activities, develop marketing and promotional materials, and provide support to program participants. They may also be responsible for recruiting and training program staff, as well as evaluating the effectiveness of programs.

What is a Program Director?

Program directors are responsible for the overall administration and management of programs within an organization. They develop program goals and objectives, and then create and implement plans to meet those goals. They also oversee program staff, budgeting and finances, and work to ensure that programs are running smoothly and efficiently. In some cases, program directors may also be responsible for fundraising and developing relationships with key stakeholders. They typically report to a senior executive or board of directors.

vs. Program Director

Here are the main differences between and a program director.

Job Duties

Program coordinators may focus on the logistics of running a program. This can include creating course curriculums, scheduling classes and coordinating with instructors to ensure all necessary materials are available for students. Program coordinators also may manage student records, such as grades or attendance, and communicate with participants about any issues that arise.

Program directors typically oversee the overall management and direction of a program. They may work with stakeholders, such as board members, to ensure a program remains successful and receives continued funding. Program directors may also set performance standards for staff members and evaluate participant results to ensure improvement.

Job Requirements

Program directors typically need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as business administration or project management. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many program directors pursue certifications through the Project Management Institute (PMI) or the International Association of Business Analysts (IABA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use project management software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Program coordinators and program directors often work in similar environments, but the director may have more responsibilities that require them to travel. Program directors typically oversee multiple programs at once, so they may need to visit each location where their programs are held. They also may attend meetings with other professionals who help run these programs.

Program coordinators usually work in a single office or building where their program is located. They may spend most of their time there interacting with participants and volunteers.


Both program coordinators and directors use project management skills to plan, implement and oversee programs. They also need to have excellent communication skills to interact with staff, clients and other stakeholders.

Organizational skills are important for both roles, but they are especially crucial for program coordinators. This is because coordinators often have to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines at one time. They need to be able to prioritize their work, stay organized and pay attention to detail to ensure that all aspects of the program are running smoothly.

Program directors typically need more advanced leadership skills than coordinators. This is because directors are responsible for leading a team of coordinators and other staff members. They need to be able to motivate and inspire their team to achieve program goals. They also need to be able to handle conflict resolution when necessary.


Program coordinators can earn an average salary of $43,954 per year, while program directors can earn an average salary of $56,275 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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