Contract management programs teach students how to create and oversee the management of contracts. The individual will be trained to negotiate terms, manage modifications, price, legally assess, and oversee the negotiation process throughout the term of the contract. Contract management professionals perform many administrative tasks relating to the creation, duration and termination of a contract. They make sure that all parties follow the terms and conditions and are satisfied with the outcome.
Contract Management Degree Programs
There are several different methods of starting or continuing an education in contract management, ranging from short diplomas and certifications to bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Some schools may offer contract management courses within larger degree programs such as business administration, finance or accounting. Business schools will often require master’s degree applicants to have a bachelor’s degree before they will be admitted to their contract management programs.
Accrediting Organizations and Societies
IAACM -or International Association for Contract & Commercial Management- provides certification and training in contract management. Many colleges and universities also offer NCMA (National Contract Management Association) certification programs. Some industry certifications include Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM), Certified Commercial Contracts Manager (CCCM), and Certified Professional Contracts Manager (CPCM).
Distance Learning vs. On-Campus Learning
There are varying differences between distance learning and on-campus learning, though both have their merit. Distance learning allows the student to be in control of their classes and arrange them to suit their specific schedule, whereas on-campus learning requires the student to adjust their schedule to their prearranged classes.
On-campus learning makes it simple to participate in class discussions and have the added value of personal interaction, but distance learning has its own perks. With virtual classroom technology, students can participate in forums, webinars, and watch lectures, while mandatory real-time class participation is limited.
Tuition and Scholarships Available
The NCMA offers scholarship awards to successful applicants who fulfill their requirements. Several schools or universities also offer scholarship awards to contract management students in need of financial aid.
As with most college education, the student may qualify for government assistance in the form of grants, like the Pell Grant. The assistance has to be applied for and approved by filling out forms through FAFSA. With distance learning, tuition may be reduced or waived, unlike on-campus schooling.
With a contract management degree from an accredited school or certification program, the student will be able to find supervisory and management level positions in corporate, government, banking, negotiation, construction, or commercial settings. There are different jobs available for the individual types of degrees. Some of the various jobs available for skilled contract management professionals are:
- contracting specialist
- purchasing manager
- pricing analyst
- contracts administrator
- procurement agent
- subcontract specialist
- network contract manager
- contract acquisition
- contract termination specialist
- contract negotiator
- cost estimator
Earnings often fluctuate based on the industry, location, and nature of the work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that the average growth rate for the employment of contract managers (under the heading of administrative service managers) will grow 15 percent from 2010 to 2020. The BLS also reported the salary range for contract managers to be from $41,420 to $135,300, with the average salary at $77,890. They predict that the need for contract managers and administrators will be in higher demand as organizations contract many added services such as ground maintenance and repair, food services, and janitorial services.