In today’s ever-evolving career industry, job security remains a top priority. Unemployment rates have been rising aggressively. As a result, contract specialist jobs have been getting attention in the last few years.
What is a Contract Specialist?
Contract specialists or purchasing agents/managers assume roles in different private sector companies or government agencies. This role involves a collaborative effort that establishes a common interest (contract) that respects legal terms and regulations.
Contract Specialist Salary
According to Salary.com, the average Contract Specialist salary in the United States is $61,247 as of July 28, 2021, but the salary range typically falls between $56,222 and $67,972.
How to Become a Contract Specialist
A Bachelor’s degree is the entry-level qualification for a professional contract specialist. Employers have hired candidates that hold post-secondary qualifications to fill other positions in their company.
Post-secondary programs in business/management, marketing, law, or economics are qualifying electives of a program.
Professionals assuming senior positions typically need a graduate degree. Contract specialists also have an opportunity to advance their careers 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 while some move up to the position after previously holding the role of office coordinator or manager.
What Does a Contract Specialist do?
The involvement of a specialist depends on his/her qualifications. With this professional, it’s possible to mediate the customer and vendor relationship to gauge compliance and fair contract terms. This includes government laws and organizational guidelines that bind both parties in a contract.
A purchasing agent, also a contract specialist, 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 entitles a contract specialist to lead in the areas of:
- 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 Certification
Professionals that are on the path to career advancement must complete their education to earn a 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 the federal government. The U.S. BLS (Bureau-of-Labor-Statistics) report has noted that professionals that hold advanced qualifications (Bachelor’s or another high-level degree) are entitled to a greater percentage of employment opportunities.