Career Info for a Degree in Purchases & Acquisitions

Degrees in purchases and acquisitions cover logistics, accounting, management, contract assessment and negotiation techniques. Continue reading for an overview of the courses, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

The field of purchases and acquisitions management offers a number of varied career opportunities, which can present an education requirement ranging from an associate's through master's degree, though a bachelor's degree is the norm. Requirements and responsibilities vary with positions, as does remuneration. All positions call for you to be familiar with economics and basic theories of business.

Essential Information

Associate and bachelor's degree programs in purchasing, acquisitions, contract management, or some combination of the three are available at several postsecondary institutions. It is the job of professionals in these fields to manage a business's financial purchases, budgets, contracts, and mergers. Candidates for these positions should be well-versed in business theory and economics.

Career Purchasing Agent Administrative Services Manager Financial Manager
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (for purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents) 8% 7%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $62,220 (except wholesale, retail, and farm products) $86,110 $117,990

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Graduates of purchases, acquisitions or contract management degree programs can work as purchasing agents, contract administrators or finance officers. These positions focus on managing different aspects of an organization's supplies and operations. Read on to learn more about these careers and available degree programs.

Career information for Purchasing Agents

Purchasing agents are responsible for buying the equipment, tools, supplies and machinery necessary for organizations to operate. They may also arrange for the services an organization needs. Their purchases may consist of raw goods for manufacturing, office supplies, production machinery or machinery parts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, in 2015, there were 291,540 purchasing agents in the nation. In 2015, the BLS reported these agents earned a median annual salary of $62,220. The BLS also noted that jobs for these workers were predicted to grow slowly, at a rate of 2% from 2014-2024.

Contract Administrator Career Information

The BLS categorizes contract administrators as administrative services managers. A contract administrator's job duties might include preparing, negotiating and reviewing an organization's contracts for the sales and purchases of supplies, services or equipment. As of 2015, the BLS indicated there were 270,080 administrative services managers in the nation. The median annual salary for such professionals was $86,110 in May of 2015, and the BLS projected an 8% jump in employment from 2014-2024.

Career Information for Finance Officers

The BLS places finance officers within the category of financial managers. Finance officers are responsible for overseeing and managing an organization's budget, enabling the organization to meet its goals. This may include investing the organization's funds, managing its cash flow and raising cash. Finance officers are usually also involved with the organization's mergers and acquisitions. In 2015, according to a BLS report, there were 531,120 financial managers in the nation. The BLS reported an median annual salary of $117,990 for such professionals in May of 2015 and projected 7% job growth from 2014-2024.

Degree Options

Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available in purchasing, acquisitions and contracts management. In many instances, a single program will include two of these fields of study. An Associate in Applied Science in Contract Management requires two years of study in topics such as accounting, management, contract performance assessment, cost analysis and negotiation techniques. An Associate in Applied Business in Purchasing Management may include classes in production and operations management, logistics and managerial accounting.

Bachelor's degrees are available in purchasing and materials management as well as acquisitions and contract management. The curriculum in these programs includes coursework in subjects like project management, operations management, contract pricing, administration and negotiation, government contract law, economics and business statistics.

Master of Science in Acquisition and Contract Management and Master of Arts in Procurement and Acquisitions Management degree programs are also available. Core courses in these programs include in-depth knowledge courses in corporate finance, acquisitions law, operations management, pricing, logistics, managerial accounting and contract management.

If your college curriculum consists of subjects such as project management, cost analysis, accounting, logistics and business statistics, you may be able to prepare yourself for a career in purchases and acquisitions. Employment opportunities through 2014 are projected to increase anywhere between 2% for purchasing agents and 7% - 8% for financial managers and administrative services managers, respectively.

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