Program Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Program Assistant, or Program Support Assistant, is responsible for providing administrative support to team members throughout the planning and implementation of educational, charitable or professional programs. Their duties include communicating between program participants and managerial staff, creating and updating program schedules and assisting in the planning and managing program events.

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Program Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

The duties and responsibilities of a Program Assistant may vary depending on your company, but by listing what you will require you can be sure to attract the candidates that will best suit your needs. Some common duties and responsibilities for a Program Assistant include:

  • Preparing documentation for grants 
  • Managing online resources 
  • Managing the Program Manager’s calendar
  • Processing payments for vendors and suppliers 
  • Attending staff meetings and taking minutes
  • Responding to emails and answering calls
  • Maintaining office calendars and sending out reminders of impending appointments
  • Typing letters and reports as may be required from time to time
  • Compiling and sending bulk mailings 
  • Proofreading and making copies of documents
  • Assisting in the planning and overseeing significant events 
  • Assisting in managing the budget for special and routine events
  • Making reservations for various off-site business meetings
  • Acting as a liaison between different departments
  • Relaying internal emails to staff
  • Reserving equipment and conference rooms for presentations and in-office meetings 
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What Does a Program Assistant Do?

Program Assistants typically work for non-profit organizations, corporations, healthcare organizations and educational institutions to ensure programs run smoothly for both staff and participants. They work closely with other employees to develop program schedules, oversee budgeting expenses, connect with event venues and write instructional documents. Their job is to answer phone calls, make copies and update participant files as needed. They may also be responsible for having one-on-one meetings with participants to answer questions and learn more about how they can improve future programs.

Program Assistant Skills and Qualifications

A Program Assistant will need to have certain skills and qualifications to succeed. Some possible skills and qualifications you could list include:

  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong inclination for customer service 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills 
  • Ability to multitask
  • Ability to pay attention to detail
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Creative thinking 
  • Proper compositional practices
  • Excellent phone etiquette
  • Familiarity with office equipment, intercom systems and fax machines 
  • Strong organizational skills 
  • Polite, clear and compelling communication skills 

Program Assistant Salary Expectations

A Program Assistant earns an average of $13.88 per hour. This salary estimate is based on 3,972 salaries that Program Assistant employees and other users of Indeed submitted anonymously over the past three years. However, salaries vary by region. It may also vary depending on the new hire’s experience, responsibilities and education qualifications. You may also find it appropriate to have a different payment term such as monthly salary instead of hourly payment. 

Program Assistant Education and Training Requirements

A Program Assistant should complete certain education steps before being considered for the position. Among other relevant qualifications, they must have a minimum of GED or high school diploma. Preferably, the candidate should also have an associate’s degree in a business-related field. The new hire typically needs to undertake a company-sponsored orientation before starting to work. 

Program Assistant Experience Requirements

Experience matters when considering any candidate for hiring. A candidate for Program Assistant position needs, at a minimum, one year of clerical experience, experience in word processing and office programs and high efficiency when multitasking.

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Frequently asked questions about Program Assistants


What is the difference between a Program Assistant and a Program Coordinator?

The difference between a Program Assistant and a Program Coordinator is their seniority and areas of job focus. For example, Program Assistants typically work as entry-level staff members. Because of this, they perform a variety of administrative and clerical tasks, like creating schedules and filing important billing or contact information for participants. 

In contrast, Program Coordinators usually have a few years of experience working as a Program Assistant, which qualifies them to take on a more leadership role. Program Coordinators have much more responsibility for ensuring that a program has adequate funding and receives maximum community engagement.


What are the daily duties of a Program Assistant?

On a typical day, a Program Assistant starts by checking their email and voicemail to respond to time-sensitive messages from program participants. They greet participants and staff members as they arrive and set up for the day’s activities. Throughout the day, Program Assistants divide their time between meetings with program staff, program events and administrative tasks. They scan and upload participant forms to add to digital filing systems and interact with participants to answer questions. 

Program Assistants also use down-time at their desks to contact former participants and gauge whether they enjoyed their programs.


What qualities make a good Program Assistant?

A good Program Assistant has a personable nature and enjoys meeting new people. This is an important quality as it enables them to make meaningful connections with program participants and encourage participation in future programs they offer. They have excellent verbal and written communication abilities, which enable them to draft program documents and speak with participants in person or over the phone. Further, a good Program Assistant knows how to use one or more software programs to create schedules and organize participant information.


Who does a Program Assistant report to?

A Program Assistant usually reports directly to the Program Coordinator. These individuals provide Program Assistants with daily tasks or goals to achieve. They also act as a point of communication for Program Assistants when they need additional assistance to answer participant questions or address their concerns. Program Assistants may also report indirectly to the Program Manager, or Program Leader in the absence of a Program Coordinator role.

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