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Project Coordinator vs. Administrative Assistant: What Are the Differences?

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

Project coordinators and administrative assistants are both important roles in an organization. They share some similarities, but there are also several key differences between the two positions. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between project coordinators and administrative assistants, and we provide additional information on related roles.

What is a Project Coordinator?

Project Coordinators work with project managers to ensure that all aspects of a project are running smoothly and on schedule. They develop and maintain project schedules, track project milestones, and monitor progress to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Project Coordinators also coordinate communication between project team members, vendors, and clients. They may also be responsible for preparing project reports, documenting project risks, and developing project plans. In some cases, Project Coordinators may also be responsible for project budgeting and financial management.

What is an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative Assistants provide high-level administrative support for company leaders to ensure they can efficiently accomplish key tasks and company initiatives. They keep the executive’s communications organized so that they can easily access the most important information without having to sort through low-priority items. Administrative Assistants screen all visitors and determine what level of support they need while offering polite, professional customer service. They manage the executive’s daily calendar, including scheduling meetings, confirming appointments, writing itineraries and arranging for transportation. Administrative Assistants also train other administrative staff on company policies and best practices.

Project Coordinator vs. Administrative Assistant

Here are the main differences between a project coordinator and an administrative assistant.

Job Duties

Project coordinators have more varied job duties than administrative assistants. As the second-in-command of a project, they’re responsible for carrying out the instructions of the project manager. This can include creating schedules, assigning tasks to team members and ensuring that each task is completed on time.

Administrative assistants usually have more routine job duties. They may perform similar tasks every day, such as answering phones, typing memos and filing paperwork. However, depending on the company, administrative assistants might handle more important documents than project coordinators.

Job Requirements

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

Administrative assistants typically only need a high school diploma or equivalent, although some employers may prefer candidates with an associate’s degree or some college coursework. Many administrative assistants also pursue certifications through professional organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), which offers training programs that teach professionals how to use office software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Administrative assistants typically work in an office environment, often for a single employer. They may travel to different locations within their company or meet with clients and vendors in person. Project coordinators can also work in an office environment but may also work on construction sites or other areas where they need to be physically present.

Administrative assistants usually work full time during regular business hours, while project coordinators may have more irregular schedules that include overtime hours. Administrative assistants may work weekends and holidays as needed by the department.


Both project coordinators and administrative assistants use a variety of skills in their jobs. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they often interact with other employees, clients and customers. They also both need to have strong organizational skills to keep track of deadlines, meetings and paperwork.

Project coordinators typically need to have more developed problem-solving skills than administrative assistants, as they are often responsible for resolving issues that arise during a project. They also may need to have some knowledge of the specific industry in which they are working, as they need to be able to understand the technical jargon used by employees and clients. Administrative assistants usually do not need to have this same level of industry-specific knowledge.

Both project coordinators and administrative assistants can benefit from having computer skills, as they often use computers to perform various tasks related to their job. However, project coordinators may need to have more advanced computer skills than administrative assistants, as they often use computers to create reports, manage databases and develop presentations.


Project coordinators can earn an average salary of $58,126 per year, while administrative assistants can earn an average salary of $45,618 per year. Both of these salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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