Contracts administration may not sound like the most exciting job if you compare it to high-profile jobs like marketing or public relations, but it can offer a good income to those who'd rather not be in the limelight and enjoy detailed work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes contracts administrators under administrative service managers; it lists $41,420 as an annual salary for those in the lowest 10 percent, a median annual salary at $77,890, with the top 10 percent earning up to $135,300. How much you make depends on your experience and your qualifications.
Education and Experience
The company, organization or government agency requiring contracts administrators set the educational requirement for the job. Some companies hire contracts administrators who only have a high school diploma, but have one to five years of experience in the position. But for the majority of jobs in contracts administration, a bachelor's degree with an emphasis in business, business law, economics or health administration is required along with the experience.
Some organizations and companies require contracts administrator certification as part of the qualification to apply for the job. The National Contract Management Association offers three certificate designations: Certified Professional Contracts Manager, Certified Commercial Contracts Manager and Certified Federal Contracts Manager. Each designation confirms your experience, knowledge, training and education in the chosen discipline.
Contract Writing and Review
It's a good bet that if you apply for a contracts administration position, you'll be asked about your experience in contract writing, evaluation, review and vetting. The contracts administrator typically reviews all contracts before they are signed by the company or organization's key personnel. As the administrator, you have to check the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as verify the insurance obligations called for in the contract.
You might be called on to negotiate the terms of the contract on behalf of the organization for which you work. The terms you negotiate could include contract term, pricing, delivery and insurance coverages. For instance, if you are negotiating purchases under a contract, you have an opportunity to save your employer money by negotiating good deals.
Computer Skills and Performance Evaluation
You need to be able to keep a database, requiring advanced computer skills, to assess and monitor performance evaluations that are tied to contracts. In some cases, you might be the go-to gal who determines whether a vendor has met his objective to receive partial payments on the his contract. Called milestone payments, you might need to approve these payments before they are released.
Good contracts administrators confirm that end users who receive a contract-related product or service are satisfied with the results they received under the contract. Whether it's a customer service contract or contracts used for vendors and subcontractors, she must know how to conduct a contract survey and tally the results for upper management reports.
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