While it is rare to find degree programs that focus specifically in contract management for government, there are several bachelor's and master's degree programs in contract negotiation or procurement that may apply to a career as a government contract manager. Professional certificate programs in government contract management are, however, available; participants typically must have some prior experience with contract negotiation and are seeking professional advancement. Courses in such a program will cover federal regulations, negotiating skills, relevant local laws, international contracts, financial management and purchasing.
Here are some common concepts taught in government contract management classes:
- Types of contracts
- Procurement and acquisition
- Financial analysis
- Risk management
- Laws and regulations
- Payment policies and practices
List of Government Contract Management Classes
Contract Negotiation Course
Negotiation is a fundamental skill for the contract planners on both sides of the table, but the class in negotiation techniques comes in the middle of a government contract management curriculum. Students learn to analyze all aspects of a proposed contract to find a solution that's acceptable to everyone. This course may involve mock negotiations for practice in compromise, and it can be offered as either a required course or an elective.
Legal Concerns in Contract Management Course
An instructor for this course explains the laws that regulate the awarding and terms of government contracts. These include legal questions of data, patents and intellectual property. Other course material addresses the topic of contract changes, terminations or disputes. This legal class may address Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), which may also be showcased in their own class.
Types of Government Contracts Course
Future contract managers take this course to learn about the various kinds of contracts offered by the government, such as a firm-fixed-price contract or a cost-sharing contract. The structure and function of each type are discussed. Instructors explain which situations are appropriate to each contract type.
International Contract Management Course
This class explains the special considerations and potential pitfalls that contract managers face when they go global, beginning with social cues and cultural business customs. Contracting staff also need to consider the other country's economic and political situation. This elective class may also suggest methods for handling unusual contract stipulations or recommend ways to enforce the contract.
Financial Management of Government Contracts Course
Cost accounting is a key topic in a financial course about contract management. Students can also learn about payment policies, governmental audits and processes of cost allocation. This topic may appear at the beginning of a contract management program, or a prerequisite course may be required first.
Purchasing for Contracts and Materials Management Course
Sometimes, fulfilling a government contract requires the acquisition, or purchase, of supplies. In these cases, contract managers will want to know the laws and ethical principles that guide purchasing for a contract; this course covers both. Logistics and strategy may be discussed as well.