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Colleges for Aspiring Government Contract Specialists: How to Choose

Government contract specialists negotiate for government acquisitions, assess contractor work, and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations. Specific education in government contract negotiation and project management typically exists at the graduate level.

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Various colleges and universities around the country offer programs for those wishing to begin a career in government contract negotiations. Both master's degree and graduate certificate programs are available.

Schools with Government Contract Management Programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Graduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
Villanova University Villanova, PA 4-year, Private Master's Certificate $6,885
University of Virginia Charlottesille, VA 4-year, Public Graduate Certificate $8,244 (In-State), $15,660 (Out-of-State)
University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA 4-year, Public Certificate $5,700
George Washington University Washington, DC 4-year, Private Master's $27,810
Old Dominion University Norfolk, VA 4-year, Public Graduate Certificate $478 per credit hour (In-state), $1195 per credit hour (Out-of-State)
Northcentral University San Diego, CA 4-year, Private Graduate Certificate $11,642 (Post-baccalaureate), $19,074 (Post-master's)
Southern New Hampshire University Manchester, NH 4-year, Private Master's $1,881 per course
Indiana Wesleyan University Marion, IN 4-year, Private Master's $18,756
University of the Potomac Washington, DC 4-year, Private Master's, Graduate Certificate $741 per credit (Master's program for domestic students), $250 per credit (Certificate program)

Sources: *NCES College Navigator, School Websites

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School Selection Criteria

Students may want to consider the following when looking for a government contract school:

  • Assess the course in relation to your career goals because those interested in increased responsibilities, such as subcontractor and project management professionals, may want to consider a master's degree program that provides the necessary multidisciplinary education.
  • Consider the flexibility of class schedules and the option of online classes as some schools also provide part-time options or flexible scheduling with night and weekend classes to accommodate working students.
  • Look into areas of specialization as this may be a contributing factor when researching potential schools, with some master's degree programs offering concentrations, such as military contracts or public acquisitions.
  • Assess the available internships opportunities for the course and opportunities to secure practical, supervised experience.

Graduate Certificate in Government Contract Management

Certificate programs are designed for experienced professionals with a bachelor's degree. Graduate studies prepare employees to advance their careers or transition into a different field. Courses include cost and price analysis, purchasing, materials management and government procurement law.

Master's Degree in Contract Management

A master's degree provides students with advanced knowledge of government contracting and aids in career advancement into management positions. This degree program is suitable for individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a related field of study. Coursework commonly includes business research methods, management information systems, government contract law and negotiations.

Students interested in government contracts can either obtain a Master's degree or a graduate certificate, with some specialization, depending on the school and student's career path.

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