Corporate managers would have more difficulty coordinating meetings, contacting outside vendors and completing projects on time without help from project assistants, who perform many of the clerical and tracking functions of projects. These assistants also ensure that all project documents get disseminated to the appropriate end users, including executives, department heads and shareholders. Although earnings vary by geographical area and experience, project assistants earned average annual salaries of $36,000 as of 2014, according to the job resource site Glassdoor.
A project assistant contacts everyone involved in a project and apprises them of meeting times and locations. She also secures the meeting rooms and emails participants about meeting agendas. Project assistants take notes in meetings, help project managers assign tasks to all participants and update the status of completed tasks in project logs. Other essential responsibilities include ordering and distributing supplies and training materials, querying databases and collecting data, organizing and maintaining files and typing reports and presentation decks.
Most project assistants work in offices during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Some may work overtime to keep projects on schedule for targeted completion dates. Because of these deadlines and the problems that may arise bringing projects to fruition, project assistants must often deal with work-related stress.
Education and Qualifications
The minimum educational requirements for a project assistant are a high school diploma or General Educational Development certificate. Some companies may also prefer hiring those with one to three years of office experience. Other important qualities are attention to detail and organization, listening, speaking, problem-solving and computer skills.
Project assistants can become project coordinators by earning bachelor's degrees in business, marketing, management or related majors, along with one to three years of experience as a project assistant. With three or more years of experience and a bachelor's degree, they can advance to project administrator positions. Higher level jobs, in succession, include project managers and directors. Both positions require at least five years of experience in project administration. Many corporations prefer that their project directors also have master's degrees in business, marketing or management.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have a specific job category for project assistants, instead grouping them into the broader category of secretaries and administrative assistants. Employment in this field is projected to grow 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is slightly faster than the average for all occupations.