Contract Administrator: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a contractor administrator. Learn about job duties, required education and typical salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Contract Administrator?

Contract administrators handle the contract purchasing process from initial negotiations to reception of the goods or services. They work in a variety of types of organizations to ensure that employees have the equipment and supplies they need to be productive. Their duties may include buying, storing, and distributing supplies and offloading unused supplies. Contract administrators must also set goals for their department, develop and meet a budget, and may have to recommend changes in policies in order to improve efficiency. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; master's degree sometimes necessary
Field of Study Finance; business management; contract law
Key Responsibilities Develop request for proposals; oversee bid selection process; evaluate service offerings; monitor contractor for performance
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 8% (for all administrative services managers)*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $94,840 (for all administrative services managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Contract Administrator?

Contract administration is a process that involves managing the outcome of government or company contracts. As a contract administrator, you can expect to perform tasks related to procuring services or products, monitoring performance and resolving disputes. Administration tasks include developing a statement of work and a measurable performance plan.

The contract administration process begins with the request for goods or services. In this position, you develop statements of work and requests for proposals. You evaluate responses from potential service providers and provide input during the selection process. You also draft award letters once the selection process is complete.

Once the contract is awarded, you communicate with various team members regarding performance. The contract administrator ensures the government, or corporation, receives the services it bought. This requires performance monitoring, quality assurance and dispute resolution. You also perform tasks related to processing contractor invoices, which requires communication with members of the finance team.

What Education Will I Need?

Most employers require that contract administration professionals have a bachelor's degree, at minimum. Programs in acquisition, finance or business administration can prepare you for a career in contracts. Bachelor's degree programs offer courses in accounting, finance, economics and management. To earn a master's degree, you take courses in managerial accounting, procurement and contracting law.

You can also pursue certification through organizations such as the National Contract Management Association. For example, if you work in government contracts you can aim to become a Certified Federal Contracts Manager. The certificate validates you experience as well as knowledge of Federal Acquisition Regulations.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that administrative services managers, including those employed in contract administration, earned an average $94,840 per year in 2015. The highest-paid employees were in manufacturing and reproducing magnetic and optical media and earned $139,730 annually. The middle half of administrative services managers earned between $63,200 and $116,600 per year as of 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Those interested in becoming a contract administrator might also wish to research some related alternative careers which require a similar skill set. For example, buyers and purchasing agents buy products for their organizations. They generally require a bachelor's degree to gain entry-level employment. Cost estimators also require a bachelor's degree. They analyze data on the total costs associated with constructing a product, erecting a building or providing a service. Records and information managers manage an organization's records by making sure all employees are using standard protocols. They also are required to have a bachelor's degree to gain employment.

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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