How to Become a Contract Administrator


To become a contract administrator, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for you. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for this field:


A career as a contract administrator is a great choice for those who want a profession that offers a high level of responsibility, the opportunity to negotiate contracts, the opportunity to work in a team environment, and has excellent prospects for growth.


Those who become contract administrators are typically individuals who have excellent reading comprehension skills and an eye for details. They are able to effectively review contracts and spot ambiguities, inaccuracies and inconsistencies.


If you want to work in this field, you must be comfortable working closely with others and sharing your opinions with them, no matter how unpopular they might be. You should enjoy working in a business administration environment, and prefer working a typical weekday schedule.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a contract administrator. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Contract Administrator

To qualify for a job in this field, you'll likely either need an undergraduate degree combined with years of progressive work experience related to the job, or a graduate degree.


The formal education you would need could be in virtually any field, although it's more common for contract administrators to have a background in a field such as business, economics, accounting or mathematics. Alternatively, some employers require that you have a law degree, or experience working as a paralegal.





Contract Administrator Job Description

Contract administrators, also known as contract managers, are responsible for managing various company contracts on behalf of their employer. These contracts may include employee relations, new business proposals, and purchase, sale or rental contracts. Contract administrators must act as a liaison between the company and its business partners in order to ensure production goals are reflected in the contract, and ultimately met.



Typical Duties of the Job

• Ensure internal and external client relations are running smoothly when it comes to contract drafts and negotiation

• Solve conflicts that arise from existing contracts in the business unit

• Coordinate with all levels of management to analyze contract strategies

• Review and provide oversight for all existing contracts by inspecting the contract database

• Provide technical services in developing a standard and appropriate use of language for each document

• Make recommendations for beneficial sourcing and procedure

• Oversee closeout process when all the terms and conditions have been met

• Ensure all payments have been made

• Analyze the impact of contractual changes and any liability exposure that the change might cause



Types of Organizations that Hire Contract Administrators

Contract administrators are typically hired by organizations that are involved in the management of contract resources, or contract-driven projects or business processes. These organizations include:


• Colleges and universities

• Hospitals and health care facilities

• Construction companies and contractors

• Insurance and finance companies

• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• Law firms

• Engineering firms

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Utilities





Work Experience You'll Need to Have

To become a contract administrator, you'll likely need experience in a related administration position with a lower level of responsibility. Many contract administrators began their careers by working entry-level administration jobs and then get promoted to a job that involves the management of contract resources, or contract-driven projects or processes. 


Contract administrators that take such a path are often trained on the job or are provided with formal training by their employer, in order to increase their skill set to help them competently perform their new duties.


Some employers might hire contract administrators directly out of school, although such candidates typically have graduate degrees or law degrees.



Skills and Traits Needed to Be Successful

To be a successful and effective contract administrator, you'll need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will not only allow you to perform your job duties with competence; they will allow you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work.


• Good working knowledge of the specific industry you'll be working in

• Able to understand the technicalities, including language, of contractual agreements

• Able to understand the needs of an organization, as they relate to various contracts

• Effective negotiation skills

• Effective management and leadership skills

• Able to detect inaccuracies, ambiguities or inconsistencies in the design of a contract

• Able to monitor and track contractor or owner performance, as it relates to contractual obligations

• Must be able to pay close attention to details when designing and reviewing contracts

• Must have exceptional communication skills

• Exceptional reading comprehension skills



Career Advancement Possibilities

Contract administrators often begin their careers by working in entry-level jobs, such as assistant contract administrator. In such positions they are responsible for managing limited aspects of existing contracts in order to help contract administrators, while simultaneously learning the details of contract processes for the business. With sufficient experience and the availability of jobs, entry-level assistant contract administrators then become full-fledged contract administrators.


Those whom demonstrate competence and initiative in their work typically advance to positions involving more responsibility, such as senior contract administrator. As they gain experience in their new roles, they gain familiarity with relevant guidelines, laws, and company priorities.


With five or more years of experience in contract administration (as a general guideline), a position as a contract administration manager might be available to them. In such a position their responsibilities further expand to include contract negotiation, purchasing, compiling reports, directing teams of contract administrators and other professionals in order to coordinate and optimize contract-related aspects of the business. 



Job Postings - Current Open Opportunities

Our job board below has "Contract Administrator" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.



Salary Level of Contract Administrators

The salary level of contract administrators can vary depending on their personal qualifications and the specific responsibilities of the job.


Salary in Canada (Alberta figures only): According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average overall average wage of workers in the Administrative Officers occupational group is $55,910 per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available for other Canadian provinces and territories at the time of writing (June 3, 2019).


Contract Administrator Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of workers in the Administrative Services Managers occupational group is $81,080 per year.



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to contract administrator, as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Administrative Director

Construction Manager

Legal Assistant

Public Administration Manager

Purchasing Manager




Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Administrative Officers.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved November 7, 2019.

Management:Administrative Services Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved November 7, 2019.

Agile Contract Management:How to Become a Contract Administrator.” Daniel McKenzie (October 22, 2019). Villanova University website. Retrieved November 7, 2019.

Work With Us:What to Look for in Contract Administrator Jobs.” (May 11, 2017). Robert Half website. Retrieved November 7, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Contract Administrator

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a contract administrator can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a contract administrator:


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