Becoming a Project Administrator: Salary & Job Description

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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
  • Campus and Online Programs
    2. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • M.S. - Internet Marketing
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Global Leadership (Executive Format)
      • Doctor of Management - Leadership
      • Doctor of Management - Project Management
      • Doctor - Management - Nonprofit Leadership
      • Doctorate: Management - Organizational Development and Change
    Master's
      • Master: Management - Project Management
      • Master: Management
      • Master of Business Admin - Entrepreneurship
      • MBA: Operations Management
      • MBA: Project Management
      • M.S. - Management: Organization Leadership and Change
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
      • BS - Business Administration - Project Management
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MBA
      • MBA Dual Concentration: HR & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: BS Mgmt. & HR
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Mgmt & Project Mgmt.
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Accounting and Project Management
      • MBA Dual Concentration: Business Management and Public Safety Leadership
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Seton Hall University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
    Certificate
      • Certificate: Post Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Business Admin - Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Health Care Admin
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
      • PhD in Business Admin - Project Management
    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • Master of Business Administration - Strategic Management
      • MBA - Management
      • MBA - Project Management
      • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Project Management
      • Accelerated Master of Business Administration

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?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

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

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master: Management - Project Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

Are you a US citizen?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Grad Business Certificate - Management and Leadership

What is your highest level of education?

Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Certificate: Post Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

What is your highest level of education?