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Government Procurement Job Options, Descriptions and Duties

Government procurement jobs require little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and certification to see if this is the right career for you.

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The government hires contract specialists, supply chain specialists, and procurement analysts to assist in obtaining goods on its behalf. These professionals might work in a variety of governmental departments. While some positions may only require a high school diploma to get started, advancement is likely to require a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

Procurement workers often specialize in procuring items for particular branches of the government, such as homeland security, agriculture or energy production. A high school diploma is required for entry-level positions in this field, but management positions often require a bachelor's degree. Common college training options include programs in business, accounting, economics or similar fields. Certification is offered through the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council for government procurement professionals working at the federal, state or local level.

Contract Specialist Procurement Analyst Supply Chain Specialist
Required Education At least a high school diploma, though a bachelor's degree is necessary for most positions At least a high school diploma, though a bachelor's degree is necessary for most positions At least a high school diploma, though a bachelor's degree is necessary for most positions
Certification Voluntary certification available Voluntary certification available Voluntary certification available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% for buyers and purchasing agents 2% for buyers and purchasing agents 2% for buyers and purchasing agents
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $59,136 $59,966 $56,449

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

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Career Options

Individuals may consider many job options within government procurement. Some titles include contract specialist, procurement analyst and supply management specialist. Their roles involve connecting vendors with government agencies and keeping track of contracts. Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't provide job outlook statistics for these specific roles, it does expect a 2% increase in job opportunities for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents, in general, from 2014-2024. The BLS noted, however, that it expected a steep decline in federal jobs, -19%, in this field during that same period of time.

Contract Specialist

Information from the Federal Acquisition Institute stated that contract specialists, federal government's most prevalent contracting professional, offer advice to project managers regarding which products and services the government should purchase. They help solicit, negotiate and monitor purchasing contracts with manufacturers and service providers. Contract specialists also verify that laws are being followed throughout the entire process. According to PayScale.com, contract specialists earned a median salary of $59,136 in 2016.

Procurement Analyst

Job postings listed in May 2011 on USAjobs.gov described procurement analysts as those who often help small businesses become government contractors. Some job postings also explained that analysts inform potential and current government contractors about changes in the acquisitions and procurement process. Procurement analysts can also work with larger companies negotiating purchase orders. As of 2016, PayScale.com notes that procurement analysts earned a median of $59,966 per year.

Supply Management Specialist

According to job postings found on USAjobs.gov in May 2011, supply management specialists monitor the inventory of received and shipped-out supplies. They also determine which supplies need to be discarded. Overall, supply management specialists make sure that the warehouses operate accordingly. The median salary for supply chain specialists in 2016 was $56,449, according to PayScale.com.

Duties for Government Procurement Jobs

Although several job options are available for government procurement careers, many share some common duties. Conducting research to find the best deals is a major priority for procurement workers. They take bids and figure out which companies can meet their needs at the most cost-effective price.

Another common job duty includes completing reports and paperwork. Some procurement workers run reports showing which products are purchased and used quarterly, while other workers write reports identifying the types of vendors used, such as small businesses versus corporations. Findings from these reports help create comparative charts to show government spending habits. Several procurement workers also create vendor files that contain such items as business contact information, contractual agreements and product invoices.

Growth in this field is projected to be slow overall, and to occur primarily outside of the public sector, so government positions may be hard to come by. The best way to ensure suitability for the job is to obtain a bachelor's degree, as well as applicable skills for the job.

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