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Online Graduate Degree in Acquisition and Contract Management

Admissions requirements for an online master's degree program in this field can include submitting GMAT scores, and a typical curriculum can include classes in procurement and finance. Learn about the business fields of acquisition and contract management and get info on your job and certification options after earning your master's degree.

Why Should I Pursue an Online Graduate Degree in Acquisitions and Contract Management?

Online graduate degree programs in acquisitions and contract management are often designed for your convenience as a working professional. Depending on school policy, you can continue to work full-time and successfully complete all degree requirements in as little as 18 months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree is imperative for a top-level position in management (www.bls.gov).

Degree Overview Created for working professionals, completion time of under 2 years
Prerequisites GMAT scores, GRE scores, bachelor's degree, prerequisite courses, work experience
Degree Options MS in acquisition and contract management, MBA with concentration in acquisition and contract management
Career Options Purchasing agent, corporate buyer, contract administrator, retail buyer, materials manager
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 3% decline (for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents)
Median Salary (2018)* $67,600 (for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Some Admissions Requirements?

You may be required to sit for the graduate management admissions test (GMAT) or graduate record examination (GRE) before you can enroll in a master's degree program. You must typically hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. It's preferable, but not required, that your undergraduate major be in business administration or a related area. If your undergraduate degree is in an unrelated field, you may have to complete prerequisite courses in finance and economics.

Some schools may recommend that you have a specific amount of qualifying work experience. If you don't have the required work experience, a school may allow you to complete the program but insist that you fulfill the work requirement before your degree is awarded.

What Can I Expect in a Program?

A program leading to a Master of Science (M.S.) in Acquisition and Contract Management can consist of 33-36 credits. You may also decide to try for an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in acquisition and contract management. An MBA program is more broadly based than an M.S. program. It can consist of more courses than an M.S. program and can take longer to complete. Courses in an MBA program are grouped into core business administration subjects and subjects directly related to the concentration.

Typical courses can include business and contract law, procurement and contract management, corporate finance, business strategy, negotiation techniques, product analysis, logistics and management methods. You may be required to sit for a comprehensive examination or complete a faculty-approved independent study project.

When you enroll in a graduate program in acquisition and contract management online, you will likely need to have access to an operating system, the Internet and possibly a particular type of software. You could participate in a distance-learning classroom model, allowing you to attend lectures on your own schedule and interact with professors and students via email. You may also have access to an online resource library.

What Career and Certification Options Will I Have?

Upon graduation, you may be able to secure employment as a corporate or retail buyer, purchasing agent, contract administrator, materials manager or as an assistant. Even though it is not a legal requirement, the BLS asserts that certification is becoming more important, not only for initial employment but particularly for advancement.

With various combinations of education and work experience, you may qualify to sit for a certification examination. Certification examinations are administered by professional organizations such as the Institute of Supply Management, the American Purchasing Society and the Association for Operations Management. The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing awards certification for government employees.

Continuing education credits may be necessary to renew certification and to advance your career. Professional organizations offer online courses and webinars that can be used for continuing education and professional development.