Contract Administration Careers

People in contract administration jobs are a critical part of the ongoing interactions that drive the marketplace and keep the business world functioning.  Contracts help to promote and enforce fair dealing among businesses, appropriate use of funds from taxpayers or shareholders, and the safety and respectful treatment of employees, customers, and the public at large.  Contract administration jobs can provide motivated and detail-oriented individuals with satisfying and rewarding careers in a variety of different fields.

What Do People in Contract Administration Jobs Do?

Jobs in contract administration provide opportunities for an individual to fulfill a number of different roles within an organization.  The full range of contract administration jobs includes any position responsible for managing, monitoring, or negotiating services, product deliveries, or purchases involving agreements signed by both parties.   These positions may have a variety of responsibilities, depending on the type and purpose of the contract and their role in the management of it.  The following examples are representative of the tasks that may be assigned a person in a contract administration job.

People in contract administration jobs are often central to the process of negotiating the contracts that they will be managing.  Individuals in contract administration careers can leverage negotiating experience, knowledge of their business, and familiarity with legal factors to ensure that the contract provides the greatest possible benefit to their company, while also spelling out any points of contention and protecting the organization from undue liability or damage.

Once the contract is agreed upon, the business may be obligated to deliver a product or service at a certain time, within a certain budget, and in compliance with preset conditions.  A contract administration job may include planning responsibilities, to make sure that sufficient time and resources are dedicated to the task in order to fulfill the conditions of the contract.  Careful planning for contract compliance prevents damage to the reputation of the business, and protects against legal penalties that might result from lack of contract fulfillment.

When a contract has been initiated, a company subject to that contract must exercise careful control over changes to the contract.  Individuals in contract administration jobs are often tasked with change management roles, making sure that proper procedures are followed and that all involved parties sign off on any alterations before they go into effect.  Proper change management prevents the scope of contracts from increasing unrealistically, and keeps expectations of the participants aligned with the agreed-upon end product of the contract.

Some contracts are set up to provide a business with additional personnel for a project or for an agreed period of time.  When a company outsources a task or hires another company to take care of a certain aspect of production, the contract administrator may be responsible for management and supervision of contracted businesses and workers.  In such a case, the contract administrator verifies that the work being done is up to the standards of the client company, and is there to ensure that the service provider is in compliance with the requirements of the contract.

Where Do People in Contract Administration Jobs Work?

People in contract administration jobs are most often found in office environments.  Contracts play a central role in the interaction of businesses with customers, employees, other business, and governmental institutions, making advisory and supervisory roles an important aspect of contract administration jobs.  A contract administrator in an office environment may manage contract records, initiate and answer correspondence with contractual partners, handle purchasing and contract modification, and provide advice and guidance to other employees in matters affected by contractual agreements.

Contract administrators are generally attached to the purchasing, accounting, or legal departments within a business.  Contract administration positions with large corporations or government agencies may also involve remote communication or travel in order to coordinate contract resources or contract-related activities among widely scattered branches, offices, or divisions.

Jobs in contract administration may also be located on remote work sites.  Whether the business provides services at client locations, or contracts for services from another company at an external production or construction sites, contract administrators are needed to ensure that quality standards specified in the contract are being met.  Contract administrators may also be responsible for monitoring safety regulation compliance, distributing work instructions and organizing personnel, or acting as a point of contact for the home office.  In cases where contract work takes place away from the company headquarters, the job may call for the individual to be the on-site representative of the company in order to guarantee a successful outcome.

Contract administration jobs are also found in academic environments such as colleges and universities.  Grant-supported research is an important source of funding for educational institutions, and contract administrators are needed to monitor the restrictions on the use of funds, to keep track of copyright and disclosure issues, and to manage the processes of initiation and renewal.  Contract administration careers in educational institutions offer the chance to play a crucial and rewarding role in the pursuits of science and scholarship, ensuring that funding is provided when needed and used properly by those to whom it is entrusted.

Educational Requirements for Contract Administration Jobs

Contract administrators may come from a variety of professional backgrounds, but can always benefit from an educational background in the fields of business, accounting , and law.  Business degrees from four-year accredited colleges and universities can provide a comprehensive introduction to standard business practices, including the basic principles of contract management.  Many business degree programs may also offer specializations in accounting or business law that may be beneficial to individuals seeking contract administration careers.

In addition, some academic institutions offer courses of study specifically to prepare students for contract administration jobs, which focus on the basics of contract law, budgeting, supervision, and other key aspects of managing formal agreements between businesses, individuals, or agencies.  Nearly any academic business degree program will be extremely helpful when applying for contract administration jobs.

A business degree from a four-year accredited institution indicates to the employer that the applicant has been trained in business practices based on accepted industry standards.  Such a degree also demonstrates that the applicant possesses collegiate-level communication skills, as well as the ability to complete work-intensive projects and achieve long-term goals.

For prospective contract administrators looking for training outside of four-year institutions, there are many two-year colleges and vocational schools that offer courses and programs in contract administration and related fields.  Paralegal training programs offered by vocational institutions can provide individuals with the legal background needed to get started in contract administration careers.  Training courses offered for financial accounting or administrative assistant training can also be helpful in qualifying for an entry-level contract administration job.  In addition, some vocational schools also offer courses of study aimed specifically at preparation for contract administration jobs.  These courses provide exposure to the various elements of contract administration, such as contract law, purchasing and negotiating procedures, project planning, and administrative record-keeping, that will be necessary to individuals wishing to obtain jobs in contract administration.

More information on Contract Administration Jobs

Contract Administration Career Path and Earning Potential

Contract Administration Job Requirements