Contracts, Purchases and Acquisitions Management

Learn about career options in contracts, purchases and acquisition management. Find out what types of degree programs and courses can help you prepare for a position, as well what your job duties might be and how much you can earn in this specialized field.

Are Contracts, Purchases and Acquisitions Management for Me?

Career Overview

Managers of contracts, purchases and acquisitions negotiate deals, evaluate contracts and maintain ties with customers and suppliers. Purchasing managers are aware of the cost and demand of the particular products they are responsible for buying and selling. Acquisitions managers and other related professionals typically work for corporations or the federal government.

Most of these managers work at least 40 hours each week. Contract administrators often work extra hours to resolve issues and stay on schedule. You might have to travel often in order to meet with clients, suppliers and other managers.

Employment and Salary Information

As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of purchasing managers was expected to increase by just 2% nationwide from 2012-2022, a negligible growth in jobs when compared to all other occupations. By comparison, the number of openings for administrative services managers was projected to grow by an average rate of 12% nationwide during the same period. As of May 2013, purchasing managers earned a median annual salary of $103,780. In the same month, the median annual salary for an administrative services manager was $82,310 (

How Can I Work in Contracts, Purchases and Acquisitions Management?

Educational Requirements

Entry-level management positions usually require a postsecondary degree in a relevant field of study. While not required, the Certified Purchasing Manager designation can increase your job opportunities and open the doors to advancement.

Educational Options

A bachelor's degree in business or economics can be a good fit for purchasing managers. A business administration program with an emphasis on acquisition management may offer courses in contract pricing, organizational behavior, government contract law and labor relations. If you wish to work for the government or advance to higher paying positions within a company, such as operations manager or purchasing administrator, a master's degree in contract and acquisition management may be a good choice. Although each program is different, you may have the chance to study negotiation principles, government contracting and subcontractor selection.

Required Skills

Communication skills are vital to administrative and purchasing managers. Proficiency in math is helpful for structuring agreements and evaluating contracts.

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