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Contract Administrator

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree preferred
Average Salary: $75,000
Job Outlook: Fair

Contract administrators are high-level administrative managers who focus on contract negotiations, financial planning, and certain management duties. These administrators normally work for a company and work with vendors and suppliers for the company. Their essential duties include negotiating agreements between the employer and the vendor as well as checking that all contract terms are met. Contract administrators are also responsible for closing out contracts when the terms are met so that both parties are satisfied.

Contract administrators are typically also responsible for budget management along with contracts, and may have some project management type responsibilities, as well. They will evaluate the goods and services of a vendor before remitting payment for a contracted job. This upper-level administrative management job requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills and normally some legal knowledge, along with business management knowledge.

Education and Training Requirements

Upper level contract administrators should have at least a bachelor’s degree in areas like management, business administration, human resources, accounting, finance, or business law. No matter what the major, college courses in these areas can also be helpful in making a future contract administrator more flexible. An MBA and similar further education degrees can be helpful in this field, as well.

On the job training may also be necessary with some companies, who seek experience on the job in contract administrators. These administrators should advance by moving through lower-level management positions to get to a contract administrator’s position. Further education classes in business law, business management, or human resources can all be helpful in increasing job opportunities.

Certification can also be helpful in obtaining a contract management position. The National Contract Management Association offers courses for certification in contract management for federal, commercial, and professional contract specialties. This certification can be helpful for advancing into contract administration from other administrative or management positions.

Getting the Job

Typically, contract administrators have been in other management positions that may include project management, team management, or human resources. Contract administrators are often hired from within a company if the company is large enough, but those with the education and experience for this job may also be able to apply from outside of the company.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Job prospects for contract administrators are highly dependent on the economy, and these upper-level management positions can be quite competitive to get. However, as the economy grows and businesses expand, more contract administrator positions are expected to open.

Contract administrators may advance from a small organization to a larger one, and they may also advance to higher management positions within their own company. A Master’s degree in business administration or similar areas can increase advancement opportunities in this field.

Working Conditions and Environment

The typical contract administrator works in an office environment. Depending on the contracts he or she oversees, some travel may be required. For instance, if the contract is with a building company who is working on a new office facility for the company, the contract administrator will typically travel to the worksite periodically to ensure that contract terms are being met. This is not typically considered an overly stressful position.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for contract administrators is $75,000, though salary can range from $35,000 to over $100,000 per year. More experienced administrators in larger companies have a better chance of advancement and pay raises within their field.

Health and vacation benefits are typically included in this salaried position, though benefits vary by company. Many contract administrator positions also come with a potential bonus based on job performance.

Where to Go for More Information
For more information about contract administration requirements and training, as well as other administrative positions, check out the following resources:

Association of Professional Office Managers
PO Box 1926
Rockville, MD 20849
(240) 654-9108

National Contract Management Association
21740 Beaumeade Circle, Ste. 125
Ashburn, VA 20147
(800) 344-8096

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness