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What Does an Assistant Program Manager Do?

Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Kenneth W. Michael Wills

The job title of assistant program manager usually means supporting the overall functions and responsibilities held by a program manager, program director or executive. This often means the position does not own ultimate responsibility for a program, but employees holding the title are expected to contribute significantly to the success of the programs they help manage. Job responsibilities vary according to the industry and the type of programs managed, however, they normally consist of helping to develop, implement and guide one of more programs to meet its objectives. Often this will involve receiving direction from the person who owns responsibility for the program as well as exercising supervision of staff, outside contractors or other contributors to the program’s overall function. Such positions will often require a bachelor’s degree, and some employers may even prefer the candidate to have a master’s degree.

A variety of industries hire program managers, which may include information technology, social services, retail, education, broadcasting or research related industries.Therefore, qualifications to become an assistant program manager can vary accordingly. For example, an assistant program manager position for a research tank in bio-life sciences may require a candidate to have a Master of Science in Biology or another natural science, along with extensive supervisory experience. On the other hand, a retailer looking for an assistant program manager for loyalty programs may only ask for someone with a degree like an Associate of Science in Retail Management.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Despite varying requirements, however, the foundational job duties are quite similar, only applied differently to reflect the industry skills required. In order to support the program manager, the assistant will often need to provide assistance in quite a few key areas. These areas often include program marketing, development, implementation and administrative support. Other areas might include coordinating schedules, interacting with customers, representing the program manager in his or her absence, and supporting other program functions as directed by the program manager.

An assistant program manager may also be involved in recruiting other staff or outside contributors to carry out various functions with the program. He or she may also help to plan and manage the budget for the program as well as to assist in obtaining funding. Other duties often involved include monitoring and reporting on the progress of the program as well as carrying out evaluations of the programs feasibility. Additionally, often depending on the skill set of the assistant, he or she may be given a program to manage personally.

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