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Government Contract Administration Training and Education Programs

Government contract administrators are trained to adhere to related federal regulations and standards. Training typically includes certificate programs in government contracts or bachelor's degree programs in management.

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Essential Information

Individuals who deal with government contracts must have a thorough understanding of regulations and procedures that govern acquisitions, negotiations and all aspects of doing business for or with a government entity at any level. Certificate programs in government contracts are usually aimed at individuals with business or government experience and vary in length, with some requiring just a few days of study, while others calling for up to eight courses.

Bachelor's degree programs in management take four years, and offer information on business fundamentals along with courses on contracting with the government. Degree programs also require general education courses. Master's degrees are also available for graduates with a bachelor's who wants to expand their education. Students seeking enrollment into a bachelor's program are required to have a high school diploma or GED and a background in English and math.


Certificate in Government Contracts

Programs typically focus on government contract laws, regulations, negotiations, modifications, procurement cycles and audits. Though there usually aren't formal prerequisites for entry, these programs tend to be designed for professionals in the field. Students with limited contract experience may be encouraged to take preliminary contract courses early in their studies or before entering a certificate program.

Some schools offer flexible schedules or on-site training for professionals. Students who complete one of these programs might earn a certificate of completion or proficiency in government contract management or a certificate in contracting with the federal government.

Often, curricula focus on contract-related subjects like legal and regulatory issues, pricing, accounting, structure and administration. Courses may include:

  • Government contract elements, types and structure
  • Labor regulations
  • Federal contract administration, auditing, accounting, pricing, negotiation and modification
  • Cost accounting standards
  • Federal acquisition regulations
  • Procurement cycle for government contracts

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Bachelor's Degree in Management

Some bachelor's programs in management include concentrations in acquisitions, federal contract management or a combination of the two. These programs typically combine classes in business topics with specific contract-related courses. Students can develop skills in critical thinking, decision making, problem solving and customer service. Federal governmental regulations, policies and processes are also emphasized.

Classes generally focus on contracts, acquisitions, human resources and overall business skills. General education requirements in composition, humanities, natural science, social science and history also are typically required. Classes might include:

  • Acquisition pricing, administration and management
  • Organizational behavior and communication
  • Financial management, accounting and cost estimating
  • Federal operations and management
  • Employment law, staffing and labor relations

Popular Careers

Most students of certificates programs already are employed in the industry. They might use their new skills in positions that include:

  • Contract administrator
  • Chief financial officer
  • Federal accounting manager

A bachelor's degree may provide graduates with the opportunity to apply for higher-level government contract management positions. Some examples include:

  • Government contract program manager
  • Contract life cycle logistical manager
  • Government controller

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) classifies contract administrators as purchasing managers, and slower-than-average growth of one percent is expected during the 2014-2024 decade. Purchasing managers earned a mean annual wage of $114,130, according to May 2015 BLS figures. Those working for the federal government earned a mean annual wage of $126,690.

Continuing Education

Master's degree programs are available with specializations like acquisition and contract administration or acquisition and contract management. Additionally, students can pursue broader degree programs that focus on areas like private and public sectors and include coursework in government contract administration.

Purchasing agents or managers wanting to work contracts out with the government may want to pursue a certificate in government contracts. Alternatively, if an individual is just starting their education for a career as a sales manager they may pursue a bachelor's degree in management with an emphasis in government contracts.

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