Large businesses typically operate on a series of contracts, which is why it might be helpful for some business-minded students to become a contract administrator in today’s economy. This role is responsible for overseeing the drafting of contracts, making sure that a company knows the terms of a contract and follows them accordingly, and enforcing the terms of a contractual agreement if a party to the document has broken them before the contact itself expired. These duties can protect the company from litigation and financial exposure, and therefore they require the right combination of higher education and practical experience.
Start By Pursuing a Law or Business-Related Undergraduate Degree Program
Contract administration requires working knowledge of contract law and business law, but also an understanding of how corporate America works. Most students who successfully land contract administration positions have pursued a business degree at the undergraduate level, with a concentration in business law or a minor in legal studies. This combined program is a great way to learn the fundamental skills required in a contract administrator position. Other options available to students include degrees in finance, economics, legal studies, or a pure major in business law. In any case, basic classes in the law should be taken while at the undergraduate level.
Those professionals who want to be more highly qualified for a contract administrator position shouldn’t stop their educational pursuits after they receive a four-year degree. A master’s degree in business administration, or a standard law degree, will go a long way toward landing an entry-level administrator job that can eventually grow into a more senior role within the organization.
Get Some Practical Work Experience Before Applying to the Job
Entry-level contract administrators are not entry-level people. Instead, they’re often mid-career professionals who are taking a mid-level position within the company. They often bring at least five years of experience along with them, though many contract administrators have managerial or legal experience that has lasted at least ten years prior to their promotion into the contract administration role. This experience is absolutely essential, since it gives the administrator experience and context that can help them more soundly analyze a contract, adhere to its terms, or enforce its provisions against another party that isn’t playing by the rules set out in the document.
Join the National Contract Management Association
The National Contract Management Association, or NCMA, is a crucial aspect of the contract administration occupation. The organization exists to bring contract administrators together from all over the country, generally so that they can help each other perform well on the job, land a new position, and stay updated on new developments that might affect how they do their respective jobs on a daily basis. The National Contract Management Association has an exclusive job bank, and offers a number of helpful resources to new administrators that can make it far easier to transition into this role and advance into a more senior position within a few years of landing the job.
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Contract Administrators are Crucial to a Business’ Success
Reviewing a contract and enforcing its provisions is a key part of both law and business, and those professionals who decide to assume this role will bear a great deal of responsibility. Because of this, it’s only possible to become a contract administrator with extensive work experience, a bachelor’s degree, and perhaps even graduate-level education in business or law.