What Are My Career Options in Contract Management?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in contract management. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and licensure information. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Contract Manager?

Contract managers, or contract administrators, use their knowledge of law and federal regulations to administer government and corporate contracts. In this role, you can typically obtain work in a government agency or a private corporation. Additional responsibilities include but are not limited to evaluating suppliers and vendors, meeting with staff to discuss services, and analyzing proposals. As a result, qualified individuals must have strong analytical, decision-making, and negotiating skills. They must be able to create strong relationships as well as maintain them. The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Administrative Service Managers Purchasing Managers
Degree Required Bachelor's degree High school diploma, bachelor's degree preferred
Training Required Minimum of 1-5 years experience Minimum of 5 years experience
Education Field of Study General business, business administration Engineering, business, economics
Key Responsibilities Administer and evaluate contracts, negotiate with clients, maintain records Choose suppliers, negotiate contracts, evaluate supply chain of various vendors
Job Growth (2014-24) 8%* 1%*
Median Salary (2015) $86,110* $108,120*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Contract Managers Do?

Contract specialists, sometimes referred to as purchasing managers, perform administrative tasks related to the initiation, duration and closure of a contract. If you work as a contract specialist, you can expect to negotiate the terms of contracts, develop and distribute requests for proposals and manage the modification of contracts. You can also expect to complete the closeout procedure, participate in the payment process and terminate contracts.

As a contract analyst, you can expect to ensure the proper format of contractual documents, assess contract verbiage for appropriate language and participate in the approval process. Mid-level administrators typically supervise a team of contract professionals, including specialists, and handle issues related to contract execution. You can expect to monitor the performance of contracts from beginning to end.

What Education Will I Need?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employers may require aspiring administrative service managers, who handle contracts in some entry-level positions, to have a bachelor's degree. Some only require job applicants to have taken some business courses. You can pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration, finance or accounting.

You can also pursue certification. The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) offers three certificates for contract management professionals. The NCMA offers Certified Federal Contracts Manager, Certified Commercial Contracts Manager and Certified Professional Contracts Manager credentials to those who qualify and pass the requisite exams.

What Are Some Similar Related Careers?

Purchasing agents provide feedback and opinions to their managers in order to acquire products for a client or business to use. Cost estimators analyze data in order to figure out how much is needed to manufacture a product in a given industry. Marketing managers create interest in products through different programs. All of these positions require a bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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