Becoming a Project Administrator: Salary & Job Description

About this article
A project administrator's median annual salary is around $34,000. Is it worth the training requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to decide if it is the right career choice for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Project Administrator

Project administrators use their secretarial abilities and customer-service skills to play a supporting role within project management teams. Find out the pros and cons to decide if becoming a project administrator is the right fit for you.

Pros of Being a Project Administrator
Average pay ($34,500 in 2014)*
Can work in many industries*
Wide variety in daily routine*
Work in a collaborative environment**

Cons of Being a Project Administrator
Many positions require an undergraduate degree plus work experience*
Can face pressure to report inaccurate project data**
Interacting with multiple project managers can be stressful**
Some positions require extensive travel***

Sources: *Salary.com, **Project Administration Institute, ***Multiple Job Postings (April 2012).

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Project administrators provide administrative support to project management teams. Examples of duties include helping to prepare presentations, arranging correspondence with the public, taking minutes during meetings and scheduling conference calls. They may also be responsible for making sure the team adheres to necessary compliance regulations, preparing budgetary reports and tracking expenses. Some project administrator positions may require extensive travel. Many tasks will involve computer programs.

Salary Information

In September 2015, Salary.com reported that project administrators earned an annual median salary of about $52,000. These roles can be found in a wide variety of companies, including construction, healthcare and business services. Additionally, Salary.com reports that 39% of all project administrators are employed by companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Career Skills and Requirements

Degree requirements for project administration vary widely. Positions that have a more clerical focus may not have an educational qualification provided that the candidate has significant experience in project administration. Still, many project administrator positions require the minimum of a bachelor's degree and several years experience.

Some project administrator positions are quite complex and advanced. In these cases, employers may seek candidates with a master's degree and vast experience in the related field. Because of the accounting and financial responsibilities that accompany many positions, some employers look to hire candidates that have a degree in business administration or finance in addition to familiarity with the project's area of focus.

Useful Skills

Because of the administrative and reporting work that is part of the position, having strong computer skills to track meetings, budgets and other project-related tasks is essential. Administrators should be strong team players and have effective communication abilities. Because of the wide variety of tasks involved, administrators should have good time management skills and be able to prioritize effectively.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers may seek candidates for positions that range from short-term projects to permanent positions. Some positions may include different, but related job titles, such as project administrator or assistant project manager. The following job postings were listed in April 2012:

  • A nonprofit organization based in New York City is seeking a project administrator to oversee the budgeting and contracting of a 5-year project. Candidates should have experience with non-government organizations, hold at least a bachelor's degree and have 5-7 years experience in project management.
  • A housing nonprofit organization in Southern California is looking for a project administrator to provide project support for a real estate development initiative. Candidates should have strong communication skills, a bachelor's degree and 2-4 years experience working with affordable housing or real estate development.
  • A university in North Carolina is seeking a project administrator for a program providing youth services. Candidates should have 2-years clerical and office management experience. Fluency in both English and Spanish is highly desired.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Education

Many project administrators have degrees in the field in which they work, as well as superior clerical and administrative skills. Having a degree specifically in project management could boost your resume. Project management degrees can also be useful to project administrators looking for a promotion to project manager. These programs often include coursework in risk management, budgeting and leadership. Some employers seek candidates with an MBA. Since some projects require administrators to be bilingual, learning another language can be beneficial.

Get Certified

In addition to degree programs, many project administrators seek a voluntary professional certification to bolster their professional credentials. For example, the Project Management Institute administers the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) credential. This designation is appropriate for those who are looking to signify their experience in project administration or management. Applicants for the CAPM must have at least 1,500 hours experience or 23 hour of studies completed in project management prior to the exam.

Alternative Career Paths

If the necessary experience and education required are obstacles, you may consider becoming an administrative assistant. Administrative assistants perform the necessary clerical work that allows companies and organizations to run efficiently. Some assistants specialize in a particular field, such as legal or medical. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for administrative assistants are expected to grow 12% from 2010-2020. However, the BLS indicated that their median annual salary was around $32,000 in May 2011, which is lower than that of a project administrator.

If you are looking for a career with a similar salary as a project administrator but with fewer educational requirements, consider becoming a paralegal. Paralegals provide administrative and research support to attorneys. The BLS predicts job opportunities for these positions to grow by 18% between 2010 and 2020, which is more promising than the outlook for administrative assistants. In May 2011, the BLS predicted that the median annual wage for a paralegal was about $47,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Master of Business Admin: Project Management
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MA in Public Management
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. in Management
      • Master : Business Admin
      • MBA: Project Management
      • Master: Management/Project Mgmt
      • MSM in Leadership
      • MSM in Organizational Design and Development
    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BSBA - Investment
      • BBA: Project Management
      • BBA: New Media and Internet Marketing
    Associate's
      • AASBA in Business
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
      • Associate: Accounting
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    4. The University of Scranton

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA - Operations Management
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Dual MBA-MHA
      • MBA - Healthcare Management
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Saint Leo University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BA: Business Administration - Management
      • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
      • BA: Business Administration - Marketing
      • BA: Business Administration - Project Management
      • BA: Business Administration - Technology Management
    Associate's
      • AA: Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Organizational Development
    Master's
      • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
      • MBA
      • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
      • MBA: Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Individualized Studies
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Leadership Coaching
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Servant Leadership
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Strategic Foresight
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Strategic Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Business Administration - General Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Innovation Management
      • Master of Arts in Law - Non-Profit Management
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Not-for-Profit Management
      • Master of Business Administration
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Management
      • Master of Project Management
      • MS - Organizational Leadership
      • Master of International Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management
  • Campus and Online Programs
    10. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

Featured Schools

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Johns Hopkins University

  • MA in Public Management
  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University Global

  • M.S. in Management
  • BSBA in Management
  • AASBA in Business
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

The University of Scranton

  • MBA - Operations Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Dual MBA-MHA

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education completed?