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Best Bachelor's Degree in Acquisition & Contract Management

May 01, 2021

What is a Contract Management Bachelor's Degree?

A Contract Management Bachelor's Degree is worth the effort, as businesses need contract managers to deal with financial statements, pricing strategies, and to create procurement strategies. This is similar to being a Project Manager; however, they are two different degree programs. Being a Contract Manage is no pencil and paper job. As contracts and businesses evolve, so to do the technologies to aid in coping with contract issues. You will need to be mentally flexible for this career due to the wide array of contracts that you may encounter.

Best Bachelor's Degrees in Acquisition & Contract Management

Study.com looked at data from the U.S. Department of Education and details about accessibility, student life, and academic curricula to pull together our definitive list of the top schools for a bachelor's degree in acquisition and contract management. Whether you're looking to support governmental contract work or lead commercial acquisition ventures, these programs give students the technical skills and industry expertise they need to launch a career in acquisitions and contract work.

1. Northwest Florida State College

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$3,133 No Available Data (2019-2020) 35% 77% Yes Yes AP Credits

The Bachelor of Applied Science in Project Management-Acquisitions program at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida, helps students develop a strong foundation in the core competencies of buyers, purchasing agents, and purchasing managers. Those skills include legal and ethical frameworks, finance, organizational development, and leadership abilities. Students also get access to Northwest Florida State College's career services and support, including coaching, resume assistance, a school-specific jobs board and more.

2. Athens State University

Tuition Acceptance Rate Graduation Rate Financial Aid % Placement Services Career Services Accepts
$6,180 N/A** N/A** 49 Yes Yes AP / ACE Credits

The Bachelor of Arts in Acquisition & Contract Management* from Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, gives students a strong focus on the rules, laws and processes around federal contracting as well as commercial contracting. As an upper-division institution of higher learning, Athens State University specializes in empowering nontraditional students. And, with 91% of students taking a minimum of one online-only class every term and 82% of classes available in hybrid or online-only versions, Athens State University uses multiple teaching formats to help learners of all types and styles find a curriculum of study that works for them.

*Program is unavailable for freshman and sophomore level students

**Data is not reported for acceptance and graduation rate

To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com's ranking methodology page.

Tuition information is based on published tuition and required fees, per data by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

Contract Management Bachelor's Degree Concentrations

The two main concentrations a Contract Management Bachelor's Degree focuses on are government and commercial, with commercial having private and public sectors. There are two different certificate groups to choose from, depending on which aspect you choose, government or commercial. Some programs give students the option to concentrate on aspects such as accounting, financing, and marketing.

Curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Contract Management

The curriculum for a Bachelor's Degree in Contract Management includes many different courses such as:

  • Legal Facets of supply chain and commercial contracts and subcontracts
  • Financial and bidding management for commercial or government contracts
  • Critical Thinking
  • Economics
  • Accounting

Students taking the legal facets course learn to deal with the correlation of supply chain management and the laws dealing with contracts and variations in government contract buying. Students choosing to take financial and bidding management for government contracts will come to know the core pieces of the government regulations that impact bidding on contracts such as prices and terms, as well as discussing how bidders tackle invoicing, budgets, finances and closing contracts. Students who take financial and bidding management for commercial contracts will learn ways to reduce inventory, develop pricing policies that will help profitability, and understand anti-trust laws as they apply to contract management.

Critical thinking is a course where students learn to recognize false reasoning and language and to use clear reasoning while also understanding manipulative communication. By taking an economics course, students will learn about economic principles and apply those economics to social issues, ranging from pollution to taxes. During the accounting course, students will learn theory and practice of accounting and how to use financial statements in correlation to management control.

The requirements for several schools are a GPA of 2.3 to 3.4. Some require SAT scores of 510 or ACT scores of 21, while others are not excepting SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. Not meeting these requirements does not necessarily deny a potential student access, as they may be allowed in a provisional status.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Bachelor's in Contract Management?

Students attempting to gain a Bachelor's in Contract Management will be required to complete a four year or 120 semester credits program, while others have a 42 credit hour program. Courses for this degree will last around 11 weeks, with others taking longer. The number of courses vary, with some programs having four required and two electives, some having six required, and some having ten required courses, along with extra courses that vary depending on which concentration students choose.

Accreditation for Bachelor's in Contract Management Degrees

Accreditation is a process by which education programs are set standards to be met to prove a quality education. Accreditation is important because it creates and sets a higher standard of education for programs to follow allowing for better educated and trained students to enter the workforce. Students should choose an accredited college or program to ensure the best education in their chosen field. There are certain federal and state financial aids that students can only obtain by choosing accredited programs, companies will sometimes hire based on program accreditation. Some of the accreditation organizations that accredit schools with programs that offer Bachelor's Degrees in Contract Management are: ABET Accreditation, Higher Learning Commission, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education. For a full list, see accreditation associations.

Contract Management Licensure and Certification

There are two certification organizations for students wanting to become a certified contract manager. One is the FAI, or Federal Acquisitions Institute. They offer different certifications for contract managers who want to contract manage for the government, including the FAC-C, or Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting. These certificates have three different levels requiring work experience including one, two, and four years for each level consecutively. Each level requires the same education: either a Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or at least 24 semester hours of business college courses.

Another is the NCMA, or the National Contract Managers Association, which has several different certifications for contract managers. There is one general certificate which is the Certified Professional Contract Manager, or CPCM. there is one for those wanting to focus on federal contract managing, and one for those wanting to focus on commercial contract managing. The requirements for eligibility for the federal and commercial certification are a Bachelors Degree, two years of work experience in a related field, and a minimum of 80 hours of continued professional education. For the CPCM, you need a Bachelors Degree, five years of work experience in a related field, and 120 hours of continued professional education.

Should I Get a Bachelor's Degree in Contract Management?

When considering a Degree in Contract Management, there are several reasons to consider. One is comfortability: you need to know if this is going to be a good fit for you. The way you can figure this out is by understanding what the duties for jobs in the contract management field require. These jobs are usually fast paced with a lot of interpersonal contact and require learning several different programs. You need to be comfortable working in offices with some travel options, and you need to be comfortable gaining certifications that may be required for this job, which also may require you to pay certification fees. If you want to get jobs associated with this degree, but do not want a Bachelors in Contract Management, you can look into a Master of Legal Studies in Contract Management. Another option if you are only interested in a Bachelors Degree is acquiring a Bachelor of Business Administration with a major in Marketing or a Degree in Contract Administration.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor's Degree in Contract Management?

With a Bachelors Degree in Contract Management, several job options open up, such as a position as a Purchasing Manager or Logistician. These career options are different from being a Contract Manager, but they all use similar skills and have similar duties. There are also several ways you can change careers after gaining experience. You can move up to a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) position with the organization or company you are working for. Becoming a Chief Procurement Officer does not necessarily require any extra education, though gaining a Masters in Contract Management or acquiring a certification will be a helpful. You may also consider becoming a Director of Materials Management, which can offer extra experience on your move to Chief Procurement Officer.

How to Become a Purchasing Manager

The duties for a Purchasing Manager position involve using different technologies as required by the company, along with acquiring goods, freight, or material, either from within the company or outside of it. The minimum requirements for a Purchasing Manager position are a Bachelors Degree, one to five years of work in a related field, along with understanding of programs and technologies associated with this career, such as MRP, SAP, and Excel. Negotiating, interpersonal and organization skills are also valued for this role. This role will sometimes require travel, but they most often work in offices employed typically by the government, wholesale traders, and manufacturers. Having the ability to predict what will appear to customers will be an essential skill needed to perform their duties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average pay for a Purchasing Manager in 2019 was $33.46 an hour. Unfortunately this job is on a projected seven percent decline from 2019 to 2029 due to cases of outsourcing and automation. To increase your chances, demonstrate how you can work with these changes or prove them to be unnecessary.

How to Become a Logistician

For a Logistician, the duties involve using different programs that a company or group may prefer. They will need to know and maintain FIAR standards, quality control audits, and how to maintain inventories. The minimum requirements for a Logistician position are a Bachelors Degree, one to three years of prior work experience in a related field, along with understanding of programs and technologies associated with this career such experience with CMPro and NERP. Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act (DAWIA) in Lifecycle Acquisition Logistics Level 1 experience is valued for this role. This role will sometimes require travel, they are sometimes required to do physical work in the course of their job employed typically by the government, wholesale traders, and tech services. This can end up being a stressful job, as it is fast paced work. The BLS indicates an average pay in 2019 of $35.94 an hour for a Logistician. This job is on a projected gain of four percent from 2019 to 2029, which is roughly the same as other jobs. It is on an increase due to increasingly complex supply and distribution systems.

Other Contract Management Degree Options

If you feel that a Bachelors degree in Contract Management is not for you, or if you want to increase your chances for better employment, you can look into these other degrees. Each different degree level comes different time commitments and different requirements both to pass and to get into each program.

  • Associate in Arts in Acquisition and Contract Management
  • Master of Legal Studies in Contract Management
  • Doctor of Management

Associate Degrees in Contract Management

The Associate in Arts in Acquisition and Contract Management degree is a sometimes cheaper, but not always shorter, option for someone wanting a career in Contract Management. Some courses require 90 total credit hours to complete and have 20 11-week courses to complete. A downside to receiving an Associates Degree is that most certificating groups require a Bachelors Degree, though some are flexible allowing for an Associates Degree to be paired with work experience.

Master's Degrees in Contract Management

To acquire a Master of Legal Studies in Contract Management, you will be required to complete additional classes and credit hours. Starting at roughly 10 extra classes, 7.5 weeks per class and a rough total of 30 or more credit hours, this degree program will total about 18.75 months, or a year and a half. The courses for this degree focus on contract, tort and property laws, and contract structure.

Doctoral Degrees in Contract Management

Becoming a Doctor of Management requires 18 more courses on top of the ones already taken. Some programs allow you to only take one course at a time, each course taking approximately 8 weeks and allowing only 5 courses a year, totaling an extra 3.2 years and an extra 54 total credits to complete this degree. The average price is roughly $800 per credit.

Certificates in Contract Management

A certificate in Contract Management, known as a Professional Certificate in Contract Management, runs only about 7 months for a general certificate and up to a year for an advanced certificate. These can be used by students who want to receive a broad knowledge of managing and acquiring contracts. These courses offer several elective courses and sometimes work with the NCMA to help get students prepared for their CPCM, CFCM, CCCM certification exams.

Financial Aid and Scholarship Information for Bachelor's in Contract Management Degrees

When it comes gaining Financial Aid for degree programs, students may want to investigate federal aid options. They will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to receive government loans or stipends. This is only one option; military members have many options available for tuition aid as well. There are many private options students can look into that are non-governmental tuition assistance. Applicants can use the GoodCall Scholarship Search to help find the right scholarship for them.

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