Government contract managers draft, negotiate and implement contracts with federal, state and municipal governments. Programs are designed for professionals who want to enter the field and for those who desire continuing education.
Four-year institutions and community colleges offer online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs in government contract management. The curriculum focuses on the legal, financial and purchasing issues manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, suppliers and other businesses must handle when dealing with government contracts.
Some schools may offer continuing education courses that have few if any prerequisites for enrollment. Students seeking an undergraduate certificate in contract management may only need to have a high school diploma or GED for admission. Graduate programs, however, require students to have bachelor's degrees and possibly relevant work experience. In order to participate in classes, students may also need to ensure that their computers are equipped for VoIP and video streaming before they enroll.
In online undergraduate certificate programs, distance learners study government contract management basics, including procurement, pricing, budgeting and federal contracting laws and regulations. The programs typically prepare students to take certification exams administered by the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
Courses in online programs in this field prepare students to oversee contracts to sell goods and services to government agencies. Common courses cover the following topics:
- Contract pricing
- Contract management technology
- Contract types
- Creating contracts
- Federal acquisition regulations (FAR)
Individuals who want to study government contracting in-depth may pursue online graduate certificate programs. Students are typically working professionals with varying levels of contracting experience. This program focuses on government contract management administration, contract analysis and research methods.
Distance learning coursework also focuses on the theories, principles and practices of contract management. Students learn to plan, write, negotiate and implement contracts by taking courses like the following:
- Cost analysis
- Contract law
- International contracts
- Price analysis
- Cost accounting
Online certificate programs are typically available completely online and are usually asynchronous, allowing students to study at their own pace. Depending on the online certificate program, instructors and students communicate through chat rooms, e-mail, instant messaging, message boards and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP). Instructors may deliver lectures through streaming video and present case studies that students analyze and discuss.
Online undergraduate and graduate certificate programs can provide introductory and advanced instruction in the development and implementation of government contracts. Because most programs are self-paced, students can structure coursework around their own schedules.