Contract Administration Degrees: Bachelor's, Associate & Online Training Info

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Associate and bachelor's degrees in contract administration can lead to careers in procurement, purchasing or contract management. Get the truth about the requirements, courses and online options, and find out what you can do with your degree.
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Contract Administration: Degrees at a Glance

You can study contract administration through different fields, such as contract management, acquisitions, construction technology and management. In such programs, you can learn the principles of business and management while focusing on the legal topics in contracting. Studying contract administration can prepare you for careers in purchasing and procurement. Buyers and purchasing agents typically need a high school diploma and relevant professional training, while purchasing managers generally need at least a bachelor's degree in contract administration, business administration or a related field.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted slower-than-average job growth for purchasing managers and procurement clerks. The employment outlook for purchasing managers, buyers and agents was expected to increase seven percent from 2010 to 2020. During that same time period, employment of procurement clerks was expected to grow six percent.

AssociateBachelor's
Who is this degree for? Students who want entry-level positions in contract administration- People who are new to contract administration or making a career change
- Experienced professionals who want management positions
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) Procurement clerks ($38,000* - may vary with experience)
- Non-farm purchasing agents ($61,000* - may vary with experience)
- Purchasing managers ($103,000* - may vary with experience)
- Contract administrator ($88,000* - based on salary for administrative service managers)
Time to Completion Two years, full-time Four years, full-time
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or undergraduate transcripts
- Minimum GPA
- SAT/ACT test scores
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011)

Associate in Contract Administration

In an associate degree program related to contract administration, such as the Associate of Applied Science in Contract Management or Associate of Arts in Acquisition and Contract Management, you can learn the foundations of business, administration and management. Programs may focus on contract law, legal aspects of the field and other procurement topics. Associate programs may be designed to prepare students for further education or an entry-level career.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Graduates of associate degree programs may be able to apply their academic credits toward a bachelor's degree
  • Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training, which can be essential for inexperienced workers
  • There are advancement opportunities for entry-level workers; experienced purchasing agents may advance to manager or director with additional experience and education

Cons

  • Some employers may look for professionals with at least a bachelor's degree
  • Improved salary and advancement opportunities may require experience and additional education
  • Some program coursework may not be transferable to a bachelor's degree program

Common Courses and Requirements

In a typical associate degree program, you will spend approximately two years completing academic coursework and studying independently. In addition to general education courses, students studying contract administration can expect a range of coursework in the following topics:

  • Accounting principles
  • Contract management
  • Project management
  • Negotiation techniques
  • Marketing principles
  • Business introduction

Online Degree Options

Online programs related to contract administration are available at this level. Programs like the Associate of Science in Management and Logistics are available as well as similar degree programs in business administration with a concentration in contracting. Keep in mind that online degree programs typically require similar prerequisites and graduation requirements as on-campus programs.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

A strong employment history is a great way to stand out among other applicants in your field. If you don't have professional experience in your industry, consider working at a small company, volunteering or completing an unpaid internship, which can help you get your foot in the door and broaden your networking environment. You may also consider professional certification, such as the Certified Purchasing Professional or Construction Documents Technologist credentials. Requirements vary, but typically include passing an examination and having some combination of education and experience in the field.

Bachelor's in Contract Administration

You can study contract administration through different types of programs at this level, such as the Bachelor of Science in Management and Logistics or Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in acquisition and contract management. These bachelor's degree programs aim to teach you about the principles of critical analysis, ethics and problem solving and prepare you for careers as contract administrators or purchasing managers. Some bachelor's degree programs in business administration have business law courses or concentrations that allow students to obtain knowledge in contact administration.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • A bachelor's degree can help meet the minimum requirement for careers in purchasing management
  • A bachelor's degree may poise experienced workers for advancement opportunities within their organization
  • Some bachelor's degree programs include an internship opportunity, which provides inexperienced students with relevant work experience

Cons

  • A bachelor's degree may not be necessary for contract administrator positions
  • Some employers may prefer purchasing managers with master's degrees, particularly for leadership positions
  • Management positions typically require several years of relevant work experience, in addition to education requirements

Common Courses and Requirements

A typical contract administration bachelor's degree program requires approximately 120 credits, including a mixture of general education and business courses. Some bachelor's degree programs may encourage students to participate in an experiential learning requirement, such as an internship. Sample courses may include:

  • Managerial accounting
  • Macroeconomic principles
  • Contract management
  • Business law
  • Statistics

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's degree programs are available. Like traditional on-campus programs, degrees may be offered as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration or courses in contract administration (or similar title). Courses and requirements are generally very similar to traditional on-campus degree programs. When selecting an online program, ensure that it is part of an accredited academic institution.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

As a contract administration professional, you could consider obtaining credentials in the field to demonstrate professional proficiency. If you meet certain eligibility requirements, such as professional experience or a combination of education and experience, you may be eligible to pursue credentials like the Certified Purchasing Professional or Certified Professional Purchasing Manager. Individuals who work in government may consider certification from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council, such as the Certified Professional Public Buyer or Certified Public Procurement Officer.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Purchasing
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
      • BBA: Project Management
      • BSBA - Investment
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Arts in English - Government
      • Bachelor of Arts in Government
      • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Applied Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
      • BS in Entrepreneurial Studies
      • Bachelor of Science in Applied Business Analytics
      • BS in Business Admin.
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Ashford University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin
      • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
      • B.A. - International Business
  • Campus and Online Programs
    6. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
      • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • Bachelor: Project Management
      • BS - Business Administration - Project Management
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
      • BS - Business Administration - General
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Trident University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor's - Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    9. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Niceville, FL

    Northwest Florida State College

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • BSBA in Purchasing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BBA: Project Management

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Arts in English - Government
  • Bachelor of Arts in Government
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Business Admin Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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Grand Canyon University

  • BS in Applied Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education
  • BS in Entrepreneurial Studies

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Ashford University

  • B.A. - Business Admin
  • B.A. - Operations Management and Analysis
  • B.A. - International Business

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Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • Bachelor: Project Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Project Management

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Trident University

  • Bachelor's - Business Administration

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