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A program coordinator is someone who is responsible for the daily operations and decision making that supports a specific program or initiative. This role is found in the health care and education fields and in some business organizations. The term "program" can be used to describe any project with a specific time frame, delivery method and outcome. For example, a health care program to reduce diabetes will have a specific time frame, well-defined steps and tasks, a target audience and a desired outcome. A marketing program includes the same items listed above but is focused on increasing sales of a product, not reducing diabetes.
The skills required to become a program coordinator are fairly consistent, regardless of the field. These skills include working with multiple, conflicting priorities, creating a project plan, communications and interacting with people at all levels of the organization. Formal post-secondary training is common but might not be a job requirement, depending on the work environment. For example, formal training in social work is necessary to work in this position in a social services agency but is not relevant in a manufacturing company.
The primary responsibility of a program coordinator is to ensure that the program is delivered properly. The actual details of the program material are the responsibility of the trainer, manager or another staff member who has expertise in this area. In most cases, the actual program is delivered by a subject matter expert or front-line team member. For example, a customer service program is delivered by the customer service representatives, but making sure they are all trained and following the program is the responsibility of the coordinator.
The organizational structure varies across different industries, but this usually is considered a senior administrative role. Most program coordinators do not have management responsibilities but work closely with a team of people all dedicated to the delivery and support of the program. For this reason, interpersonal skills are extremely important.
Career advancement opportunities for a program coordinator include project management or the roles of supervisor or program manager. A minimum of four years of experience as a program coordinator typically is required to qualify for these roles. Many people who want to advance their careers take part-time courses to expand their skill set. Possible areas of interest include written communication, conflict resolution, advanced computer skills and management.