In today’s ever-evolving career industry, every young hopeful desire job security. Unemployment rates have been rising aggressively. Contract specialist jobs have been getting attention in the last few years. On a safe note, future students should explore the education requirements, job role, salary, and outlook.


Contract specialists or purchasing agents/managers assume roles in different private sector companies or government agencies. This role involves a collaborative effort which establishes a common interest (contract) that respects legal terms and regulations. As of 2013, purchasing managers started earning an average income of $109,640 per year. The U.S. BLS (Bureau-of-Labor-Statistics) have generated a report that predicts a growth rate of 4% into 2022. This projection included a 10-year analysis.

How to become one?

A Bachelor’s degree is the entry-level qualification of a professional contract specialist. Employers have hired candidates that hold post-secondary qualification to fill other substandard positions in their company. The salary isn’t as attractive and an employee isn’t opportune to evolve in the field as a graduate-degree holder would. Post-secondary programs in business/management, marketing, law or economics are qualifying electives of a contract specialist program.

Professionals assuming senior positions need a graduate degree. Contract specialists have an opportunity to advance their career with qualifying certification programs. Hopefuls looking to pursue a career in contract negotiation tactics should at least hold a Bachelor’s degree. Qualifying specialty areas include business management or another related program. It’s possible to assume a low-level role if a hopeful holds college-level business qualification.


The involvement of a purchasing manager depends on his/her qualifications. With this professional, it’s possible to mediate the customer and vendor relationship to gauge compliance. This includes government laws and organizational guidelines that bind both parties in a contract. A purchasing agent mediates to interpret documents, manage delivery terms and negotiate prices. Contract specialists also handle the filing of paperwork. This may include insurance policies and other pertinent documents. He or she has an obligation to analyze products description and suggest alternatives if there’s a discrepancy or crisis to fill purchase orders.

Career advancement entitle a contract specialist to lead in the areas of:

  • Evaluation
  • Negotiation
  • Administration
  • Risk management

What does a graduate-level contract management program include?

The following electives are the primary focus of a graduate studies program:

  • Business/legal decision-making
  • Contract law
  • Ethics of practice
  • Strategic negotiation

Contract management career certification

Professionals that are on the path to career advancement must complete their education to earn an FAC-C (Federal-Acquisition-Certification-in-Contracting) accreditation. The U.S. government FAI (Federal-Acquisition-Institute) offers a voluntary 3-level certification program to certify senior graduates. Another program that supplements three industry-accredited certifications is the NCMA (National-Contract-Management-Association). It focuses on consolidated or commercial contract management or federal government. The U.S. BLS (Bureau-of-Labor-Statistics) report has noted that professionals that hold advanced qualification (Bachelor’s or another high-level degree) are entitled to a greater percentage of employment opportunities.

See also: Contract Manager Job Description