Contract Management

According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, a contract is “a written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales or tenancy that is intended to be enforceable by law.” Contracts can be made with customers, vendors, partners or employees. They include terms of negotiation and consequences for failure to comply with those terms.

Because contracts are complicated matters, it is best to leave them to those who are trained in their creation and maintenance, known as contract managers.

The standard contract management model typically practiced in the United States includes the following aspects: authoring and negotiation, baseline management, commitment management, communication management, contract visibility and awareness, document management and growth (specific to sales contracts).

Every business and industry makes use of contract managers, so those who are trained in the art of contract management will find many career options available to them.

Education Requirements

Associate degree programs in contract management are available both online and through traditional settings. The program will take roughly two years to complete and includes coursework in the areas of purchasing and materials management, cost/price analysis, federal acquisition and contract management, procurement and contract law and contract/purchasing negotiation. Those who possess an associate degree in contract management are qualified to work in entry-level positions.

Undergraduate degree programs take four years to complete and focus on basic business skills, as well as business ethics, the principles of economics, management concepts and marketing principles. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree in contract management and have no prior experience in the field can expect to earn starting salary of $45,000.

Master’s degrees in contract management often are required to work for government agencies at the local, state and federal levels. It takes an additional one to two years following an undergraduate degree to earn a master’s degree. Coursework can include organizational leadership, math and statistics management, financial markets and management, microeconomics for a global economy, project management and marketing concepts in a government marketplace.

Doctorate degree programs generally are reserved for those who wish to teach contract management at a collegiate level; however, some positions within the professional industry lend themselves to this level of education, including top positions at non-profit organizations.

Regardless of the degree being sought, students are advised to select a program that has received accreditation from a reputable accrediting agency. The United States Department of Education has a complete list of approved accrediting agencies on its website.

Future Outlook

Demand for qualified contract managers is expected to keep pace with the growth for all other business and industry.

According to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of contracts managers is $100,170.

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