Contract Administrator/ManagerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Contract administrators specialize in developing, negotiating, reviewing, and managing contracts for an organization. They specialize in arranging agreements between parties. A contract administrator must also interpret the terms of contracts between the organization and its vendors and partners, and make sure both sides are fulfilling the terms of the agreement.

A contract administrator needs to be able to interpret complex technical language and communicate the terms of the contracts they draft. They also must ensure that contracts follow federal, state, and local laws.

Sample job description

Contract administrators manage business contracts for organizations. They review each contract and ensure they meet objectives and conform to legislative requirements. Contract administrators need to have excellent verbal and written communication skills and a high level of integrity and accountability. [Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced contract administrator to take our business to new levels. As an ideal candidate, you have experience in managing contract creation, execution, and analysis, maximizing financial and operational performance, and minimizing risk. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Discuss the proposed terms of a contract with potential partners and vendors
  • Draft contracts
  • Review proposed contracts
  • Interpret terms of a contract
  • Routinely review contracts to ensure both sides are meeting the terms

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or pre-law. However, employers prefer that candidates have a master’s degree in business administration and coursework in business or contract law.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of federal and state contract laws and regulations
  • Research skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Negotiation skills
  • Organization and time management skills

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a contract administrator is $68,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$68,100$92,150
Los Angeles, California$76,850$104,000
Denver, Colorado$64,050$86,650
Washington, DC$78,000$105,550
Miami, Florida$63,750$86,250
Orlando, Florida$58,800$79,550
Tampa, Florida$59,400$80,350
Atlanta, Georgia$62,300$84,300
Chicago, Illinois$71,600$96,900
Boston, Massachusetts$77,450$104,750
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$61,700$83,500
New York City, New York$81,500$110,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$66,400$89,800
Dallas, Texas$64,650$87,450
Houston, Texas$64,050$86,650
Seattle, Washington$74,550$100,850
National Average$58,250$78,800

Typical work environment

Contract administrators usually work in offices where they review contracts and work on a computer. Some contract administrators work from home either part of the week or all week. Contract administrators typically work from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday but may work overtime as needed to meet contract deadlines.

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a contract administrator are from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, many work more than 40 hours a week, especially when preparing for trials or nearing deadlines.

Available certifications

Contract administrators typically work for law firms, E-discovery vendors, the government, or in academic settings. Many institutions offer certifications to help contract administrators improve their skills and knowledge. Here are some of the top certifications for Contract administrators: 

  • Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM). This certification is managed by the National Contract Management Association and provides you with a deep understanding of the terminology, practices, policies, and processes used in contract management. A bachelor’s degree and 5 years of related experience are required to sit for the exam. A passing score of 72.2% is needed to earn certification. 
  • Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM). The CFCM demonstrates your knowledge and skills in federal contract management. To be eligible for the exams, you are required to have a bachelor’s degree, with 24 hours of coursework in business management topics, 2 years of experience in contract management or a related field, and 120 hours of continuing professional education, at least 40 of which are specific to federal contracts management. You must pass the Business Knowledge and Federal Knowledge exams to earn the CFCM credential.

Career path

Contract administrators are required to have a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, or pre-law. Some companies prefer contract administrator candidates to have an MBA as well as coursework in business or contract law. Some contract administrators begin as contract associates and progress to contract specialists before becoming contract administrators.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-3010

2020 Employment322,000
Projected Employment in 2030350,500
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift28,600 increase

There are some significant trends that industry observers say contract administrators should be aware of in the coming years. According to the digital document-signing company DocuSign, data security is a significant issue in managing contracts. The trend toward moving in-house data storage to more secure, cloud-based storage options is expected to continue, as is building provisions for data security and privacy into contracts between businesses and both consumers and other companies.

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is also becoming increasingly common in the legal field. Legal teams are using AI to automate things like document creation and internal workflows, and turning clauses and concepts in contracts into searchable and filterable data.

Sample interview questions

  • What is the role of a contract administrator?
  • What steps do you take if you spot an error on a contract that the company has been using?
  • What are your career goals?
  • How do you ensure the confidentiality of digital and physical contracts?
  • What are the top skills that a contract administrator needs?
  • How proficient are you in detecting errors and inconsistencies in contracts?
  • What would you do if an employee or partner does not honor a contract agreement?
  • What is the best way to organize the physical records of contracts?
  • How do you file contract updates?
  • How do you track deadlines to ensure you don’t miss them?
  • What are the most common mistakes a contract administrator makes and how would you avoid them?
  • Can you describe a recent contract you worked on that demonstrates your negotiation skills?
  • What key things do you need when writing terms of use for purchase contracts?
  • How do you prioritize your workload?
  • How experienced are you at negotiating contract terms?
  • How do you keep track of various versions and updates of contracts?
  • How would you monitor the future expenses of a contract?
  • How do you work with large volumes of information?
  • How do you stay up-to-date with legislative changes?
  • Have you ever missed a deadline? If so, why did you miss it and how did you resolve the issue?

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