If legal agreements interest you, then pursuing a masters in contract management online may be a strategic move.
Almost everything we do involves agreements or contracts, from purchasing a product or working for a company to subscribing to a streaming service. Each contract binds the parties involved with rights and privileges. Because contracts are everywhere, contract specialist jobs are in demand in the labor market.
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If you are interested in starting or advancing your contract management career, here is a comprehensive guide to this post-graduate program.
Masters in Contract Management Online Programs
An online master’s program in contract management typically covers the legal nature of contracts, from drafting to execution. It can help you obtain knowledge about the principles and analysis of contracts and how they apply in business organizations and government settings.
The legal departments of businesses and government offices need contract specialists who understand the fundamentals and complexities of contracts and their legal implications.
A professional with a master’s in contract management can navigate the life cycle of a contract relevant to business and trade, government policies, and legal compliance.
The topics usually covered in this program include:
- Contract law
- Conflict and negotiation
- Contract formulation
- Organizational behavior
- Acquisition management
- Supply chain management
- Project management
Because of the program’s multidisciplinary curriculum, it allows applications in various settings, giving graduates an option to choose a field that interests them.
An online master’s degree in contract management can help you learn how to draw up contracts, revise them, and enforce agreements within the parameters of the law with proficiency and professionalism.
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Earning a master’s in contract management may lead to advancement opportunities to higher-level positions in public or private organizations. Work performance and experience level typically factor into professional advancement as well.
Acquisition and Contract Management Careers & Salaries
Contract management graduate programs can help professionals launch or advance their careers as procurement and contract management specialists in various industries. Other relevant job opportunities include HR compensation and benefits, finance, insurance, supply chain, healthcare, and media.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are some careers related to contract management along with their median salaries.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Compensation and Benefits Managers||$127,530|
|Human Resources Managers||$126,230|
|General and Operations Managers||$97,970|
|Labor Relations Specialists||$77,010|
|Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents||$75,410|
|Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists||$73,570|
|Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers||$59,230|
Contract management skills can also be applied in tech companies, legal offices, government offices, and other business and financial occupations that involve contracts, negotiations, and compliance.
Employment for business and financial occupations is expected to grow 8% over the next ten years (Bureau of Labor Statistics). The median annual wage for this sector is $76,570, which is higher than the average wage for all other occupations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for management occupations is $102,450.
Contract Management Masters Curriculum & Courses
Contract management master’s programs usually integrate several academic disciplines into their curriculum. This design helps students gain procurement and contract management expertise in different contexts and applications while still retaining a focus on business and government.
Here’s a closer look at what you’ll likely study:
- Project Management: This class covers the tools and techniques used in project plan creation, scheduling, assessment, and execution.
- Legal Principles of Contracting: This course discusses the legal parameters of the procurement process, including contract law, claims and disputes, risks, fraud, contract termination, and other principles.
- Human Resource and Performance Management: This course covers administrative practices in the context of organizational structure management, performance evaluation, compensation, and benefits.
- Supply Chain Management: Principles and methodologies in designing and applying strategic supply chain capabilities and activities are detailed in this discipline.
- Logistics Management: This class covers procurement, shipment, warehousing, and material control models and principles.
- Conflict and Negotiation: This course discusses the methods and strategies of resolving conflicts and disputes through negotiation.
- Acquisition Planning and Cost Analysis: This course covers the legalities of the acquisition process, including planning, management, pricing, negotiation, and pre-award and post-award phases.
- Supplier Relations Strategies: This class discusses strategies involving organizational procurement, supply chain challenges, and acquisition.
- Advanced Law: This course explores business laws, including obligations and contracts, agency and employment, negotiable instruments, property, taxation, real estate, and other corporate and trade laws.
- Business Decision for Contracting: This course is designed to cover all aspects of business decisions for contracting. Topics typically include crucial activities in the pre-awarding phase, including sourcing, risk management, subcontracting, financials, and business relationships.
These courses are designed to provide a comprehensive introduction to contract law and how it’s applied within a specific field or industry. They can also help students hone their decision-making, data analysis, critical thinking, problem-solving, and relationship skills.
Although each school offering a Master of Contract Management program has its specific requirements, this list covers some of the common criteria:
- GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require them)
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
- A minimum college GPA of 2.5, on average
- Application form with personal information
Some colleges may prefer applicants who have earned a bachelor’s in business administration, commerce, contract management, or a related field. Since the prerequisites vary, it’s beneficial to check with your prospective schools and programs so you can prepare and comply accordingly.
When choosing which school or program to enroll in, it’s beneficial to check if it is duly accredited by accrediting organizations recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Regional accreditation means that a school passed the eligibility and legitimacy standard set for institutions and programs. Many job opportunities, scholarships, and grants require applicants to attend an accredited school or program in order to qualify.
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Completing your contract management degree online at an accredited school substantiates your credentials and can enhance your career prospects. Accredited schools and programs have met high-quality standards for their faculty, methodology, and coursework.
Contract Management Licensure and Certifications
Depending on your area of interest, you can pursue various industry certifications offered by NCMA. Common contract management certifications include:
- Certified Commercial Contract Manager (CCCM): This certification is beneficial for those who want to work in the private sector.
- Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM): If government contracts excite you, then this might be the certification for you.
- Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM): This certification offers the flexibility to work in the private sector as well as with government contracts.
The type of contract management certification that’s best for you will depend on your professional goals.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many financial aid opportunities you can explore, such as federal aid, state aid, employer programs, and other scholarship grants from schools and private organizations.
Attending an accredited school is often a basic requirement for various forms of aid. You can determine your eligibility for federal aid and other need-based aid by submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online.
Some states and colleges set deadlines for aid program applications for each academic year. You may want to check with your school or program so you can submit your application in time for your online classes.
What Is Contract Management?
Contract management is the process of overseeing the contract lifespan, or end-to-end procedure—from pre-award to formulation, execution, tracking, and termination.
It involves the legal documentation of the agreement stipulated between or among the contract’s parties, ensuring that they follow the legal parameters of the contract. As a career specialization, contract management has various applications in businesses, institutions, and government organizations.
It encompasses procurement, organizational management, project management, and business operations. It also plays a key role in consolidation, negotiation, and compliance within the state’s legal framework.
What Degree Is Needed for Contract Management?
Working as a contract manager requires a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree in contract management is generally a managerial level qualification, especially in large companies. Having a degree in any field, though, may still qualify you to work as a contract manager, depending on your relevant work experience.
You could also further your credentials by enrolling in a certificate contract management course to supplement your bachelor’s degree. A growing number of universities even offer online contract management certificate programs in addition to their on-campus options.
A higher degree, such as a master’s degree in contract management, may open opportunities for advancement to mid-level or top-level positions in an organization.
What Can You Do with a Master’s in Contract Management Degree?
Along with relevant work experience, earning a master’s degree in contract management could advance your expertise and help you qualify for more leadership or managerial roles.
Professionals in this field tend to work as contract managers, project managers, operations managers, procurement managers, human resources managers, or supply chain managers.
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Contract management mastery can also lead to business and finance occupations in a wide range of industries. Possibilities include healthcare, entertainment, real estate, retail, e-commerce, insurance, manufacturing, and more. Contract management expertise is also needed throughout the public sector.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Contract Management Online?
An online master’s degree in contract management can generally be completed in 2 years or less with a full-time course load. How long it takes you to complete your online degree in business program will often depend on the number of credits required for completion and whether you study part-time or full-time.
For instance, if a program has 36 credit hours and no thesis requirement, it can typically be completed in 1 year with full-time, year-round studies.
A master’s program often takes longer to finish if you are required to write and submit a thesis. It may also take you longer if you’re only enrolled part-time.
Is a Masters in Contract Management Worth It?
Yes, a masters in contract management is worth it for many students. Contract management graduate programs can help graduates step up in their current careers or pursue relevant jobs in a wide range of industries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job prospects of a contract management master’s degree holder are relatively positive.
For instance, business and financial occupations are projected to experience 8% job growth over the next ten years. Meanwhile, employment for management occupations is projected to grow 9% over the same period (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
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Earning a contract management master’s degree can also open up a range of career possibilities, with versatile applications in both the public and private sectors.
Universities Offering Online Masters in Contract Management Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Arizona State University offers an online program for a Master of Legal Studies in Contract Management. It is designed to provide students with the tools needed to effectively draft and review contracts, which is an essential function in many industries and fields.
The program consists of 10 courses, each of which is 7.5 weeks long and offered online.
Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Those seeking admission to the Master of Acquisition and Contract Management program at Bellevue University must have been employed in a contract-related field for the last 5 years.
This program consists of 36 credits and focuses on contracts as they pertain to business and the fundamentals of project management, data analysis, and contract law.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Florida Institute of Technology offers a Master’s in Acquisition and Contract Management. The program is designed to prepare students for advanced contract-related roles in public, private, and government sectors.
This dynamic curriculum can be completed in person or fully online and covers the full life cycle of a contract and the leadership skills required for successful management.
Florida Institute of Technology is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Naval Postgraduate School’s Master of Science in Contract Management program is often an ideal option for students with no former experience in contract management.
This 24 month program can be completed part-time and online. It aims to help active-duty military and federal employees acquire the knowledge and skills needed to launch careers in contract management while honoring existing commitments.
Naval Postgraduate School is accredited by the Senior Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Norwich University offers a Master of Public Administration. Students in the program can choose from several concentrations, including Fiscal Management and Procurement and Government Contract Management.
While most coursework is completed online, the program culminates in a one-week, intensive residency, allowing students to network with their cohort, faculty, and other professionals.
Norwich University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The Master of Business Administration in Acquisition program at Strayer University is offered in a fully online format. This makes it a good option for many students that need the flexibility of asynchronous courses. The program consists of 12 courses that are each eleven weeks long.
The curriculum is designed to help students gain expertise in commercial and government contracting.
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The University of Central Florida offers a Master’s in Research Administration. It is often a great starting point for students hoping to gain knowledge in compliance, pre-award and post-award management, and contracts.
This online master’s degree program can potentially be completed in just 2 years and is designed to prepare graduates for diverse roles in research and contract fields.
The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
At the University of West Florida, students enrolled in the Master’s in Administration degree program can specialize in the Acquisition and Contract Management certificate. This program is fully online and spans 2 years.
It is designed to equip graduates with a fundamental understanding of contracting in federal, local, and state government agencies.
The University of West Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Sustainability and ethical standards are at the core of the Master’s in Acquisition and Contract Management curriculum at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Classes cover topics like decisive thinking, strategic supplier relations, and legal considerations in contracting.
All of the program’s courses are available online to help ensure that students can shape their education around their needs.
The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Master’s in Procurement and Acquisitions Management degree program at Webster University is built on key business theories and principles. Students are taught to integrate these concepts and analytic techniques into their professional framework across all fields.
This flexible program consists of 36 credits and can be completed online or in person.
Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Getting Your Masters in Contract Management Online
Whether you’re aspiring for a higher position or exploring new career paths, getting an online master’s degree in contract management may help you find your career niche.
If you’re interested in the legal aspects of business, this type of master’s program could help you establish yourself as an expert in the competitive labor market. Contract specialists do more than just enforce pieces of paper. They help businesses thrive by fostering legal relationships, operational efficiencies, and growth.
You can begin your journey by finding a reputable and accredited online program that fits your preferences, budget, time availability, and career goals. Why not start exploring accredited schools today?