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The most linear career path to become a program coordinator is to secure a position as a program adviser. Both these roles are commonly found in the post-secondary education and health services sectors. A program coordinator is often the person ultimately responsible for the management of a particular program.
The tasks required once you become a program coordinator vary significantly by sector and institute. For example, a patient support program coordinator in the health services sector will be responsible for designing the program and inserting assessments and feedback of patient participation and progress, as well as communicating these changes to the appropriate resources. An undergraduate drama program coordinator is responsible for ensuring students are registered in the appropriate classes, setting up network opportunities, and monitoring student progress.
The training required to become a program coordinator typically includes a undergraduate degree or diploma. In the health services sector, candidates are expected to have successfully completed a training program in nursing, social work, or a related field. In the post-secondary education sector, the program coordinator is typically an administration staff member. He or she usually has a general degree in business, administration, or a related subject.
A program adviser is an administrative position in both industries. In this role, the candidate can see all the aspects of program coordination, including overall program management, managing issues, and procedural concerns. When a new program is starting, a program adviser is typically hired.
As a program grows in size, the program adviser becomes overloaded with responding to front line service inquiries and the overall management of the program. At this stage, the organization typically promotes the program adviser to program coordinator. He or she has the benefit of institutional history and is able to understand the context of issues and past solution attempts much faster.
In most organizations, the program coordinator reports to the department or division head. He or she is responsible for reporting on the status of the program, the challenges, successes, and issues with the current program. Although the program coordinator is responsible for the management of the program, ultimately, the division head must be aware of the program status.
Once you become a program coordinator, the career advancement opportunities are quite good. The skills required in this role are easily transferable to a broad range of management positions. The department management positions can be within the same division or a different area altogether.
@Tomislav - The salaries I have seen for program coordinators were actually typically from one sector, universities (which makes sense - can you even begin to remember all of the programs they have for students and faculty at college?!), and these program coordinators even at ivy league schools seemed to make anywhere from 35,000 a year to 65,000 a year.
As far as how big the job can get, and how many people you might just be technically coordinating, I am not sure - but you may be on to something as far as salary goes. Maybe the more people you are in charge of the more you are paid?
I am sure that this varies considerably depending on which sector you are working in, but what do program coordinators typically make.
I am thinking that they would need to make decent money especially if they were a program advisor and advised the program into a bigger program.
Which makes me wonder, if it is about largeness - how many people might you ultimately be responsible when dealing with a program coordinator job as opposed to the program advisor job, which is by definition the program coordinator job before the program gets too big!