20 Online Contract Management Certificate Programs for 2021

contract management certification programs online

Earning an online contract management certification is the best way to advance your career if you are working in an office or company that deals with a lot of different legal contracts. As a contract manager, you will be in charge of creating, signing, storing, and retrieving them. Your job as a contract manager is to make sure contracts contain all of the necessary information and are legally binding. As a contract manager, you are responsible for the contracts and legal agreements your company takes part in. Contract management certification is a way of showing that you meet or exceed the expectations of your company, as well as the industry.

An online contract management certification can help you advance your career in a number of ways. If you want to move up the ladder before you earn an actual degree, then taking a certification course in contract management may be the way to go. You will be able to earn an online certificate in just a few months. This will give you the skills you need to start out with. You will be able to accept advancement opportunities and continue with your education at a later date. The certification will lay the foundation for what you will learn if you choose to pursue a higher degree.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Contract Management Certification Programs 

To rank the best online certificate programs in contract management, Great Business Schools editors researched online and hybrid certificates from trusted, accredited institutions. Programs are ranked according to practical factors like cost, graduate salary, and student satisfaction, using data from IPEDS and Niche.  

1. University of Washington

The University of Washington has one of the best contract management certifications. Contracts are the lifeblood of business transactions. Two entities agreed to abide by the terms of the contract with rewards and penalties stipulated in legalese. Students in this program prepare to work in nonprofits, commercial enterprises and government agencies. Contract management professionals ensure that contracts signed by their leaders are sustainable, responsible and comprehensive. This three-course certification provides the training needed to negotiate and manage contracts. Students explore the financial business impact of contracts.

The University of Washington has 30,000 students in the undergraduate level. Just over half of those who apply are accepted into one of the university’s programs such as psychology, political science and communications. Despite the low acceptance rate, the university graduates 84% of incoming freshmen. Students rated the university and A based on academics, value and diversity.

Highlight The University of Washington ranks first among the best colleges in the state, which makes in a good match for residents wanting an excellent education close to home.

Program: Certificate in Contract Management and Negotiation

2. UCLA Extension

One of the best contract management certifications is offered by UCLA extension. This program caters to professionals who want formal training in contract management and the private or public sectors. It’s also a great opportunity for current contract managers to enhance their skills. Individuals who want to learn more about negotiation, bidding and the legal process of contracts will also benefit from this program. Graduates go on to pursue targeted career paths and contract management.

UCLA has educated students for more than a century, and UCLA extension helps students enrich their careers through continued education. UCLA extension is one of the oldest continuing sources of distance education. The school gives students a range of options based on personal growth and career goals. It hosts a number of courses geared toward college students and working adult who are also lifelong learners.

Highlight UCLA Extension gives you a wide range of options to advance in your career, switch careers, or achieve personal growth. For example, it offers non-credit courses and workshops.

Program: Certificate in Contract Management

3. University of Virginia

The University of Virginia also has one of the best contract management certification programs. Students learn the art of procurement and contract management in a mid-level program that targets working professionals. Many students who take the course want to move up in their existing company or seek advancement opportunities elsewhere. Topics are based on competencies emphasize by the National Contract Management Association and include negotiations, policies and procedures, procurement, and regulations for government contracting.

Another of the best contract management certification programs is the Federal Acquisition—Government Contracting Certificate, which helps students who want to change their career learn more about contract management. Recent college graduates and veterans also take advantage of this program to pursue careers in government contract positions. This certification helps students achieve the first level of contracting certification and graduates are well positioned to go to work for Department of Defense and civilian agencies. Students learn how to use the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) databases, evaluate proposals and develop acquisition strategies.

UVA has been rated an A+ plus based on academics and value for money. Located in Charlottesville, the school has 16,000 undergraduate students. The application process is grueling and UVA accepts fewer than one in four applicants. Those lucky enough to make the cut major in economics, business and other majors.

Highlight UVA is the number 4 rated top public university in the country. Additionally, the school graduates an astounding 95% of freshmen.

Program: Graduate Certificate in Procurement and Contracts Management or Graduate Certificate in Procurement & Contracts Management – Government

4. University of California, Irvine

At the University of California, Irvine, students can access one of the best contract management certification programs. UC Irvine’s Contract Management Certificate Program lays the foundation for proficiencies set up by the National Contract Management Association. Students learn about procurement and contracting at the international, commercial and government levels. Graduates develop their skills in negotiation, contract formation and risk management. Some students go on to work for corporations or government agencies.

UC Irvine is a respected university in the Los Angeles area. Just 27% of those who apply receive a welcome letter. Nonetheless, there are 30,000 students at the undergraduate level majoring in biology, social psychology and other majors. The school graduates 84% of admitted freshmen.

Highlight UC Irvine is ranked #26 among the top public universities. It has an A rating and diversity and academics.

Program: Contract Management Certificate

5. Cornell University

eCornell at Cornell University has one of the best contract management certification programs in the country. The certification prepares students to execute different aspects of contract negotiation and formation. Those who take the certification courses learn the importance of setting up contracts with precise rights and obligations. While completing the coursework, students learn how to breakdown the procedures, laws and elements that influence contracts. They also investigate ways to minimize consequences and risks in case other contract breach.

Cornell University was founded in 1865 as an elite, modern college rooted in the sciences and liberal arts. Today, it remains one of the world’s most prestigious institutions, with multiple Nobel winners from many different disciplines. 

Highlight Cornell University is the youngest of the Ivy League and is one of the few private land-grant universities in the nation. 

Program: Certificate in Business Contracts 

6. The Professional Institute at WashULaw

Students can also obtain one of the best contract management certifications at the Washington University at Saint Louis Law School’s Professional Institute. This program is offered at one of the nation’s top law schools and is considered one of the best distance learning programs for contract management.

The Professional Institute offers a number of programs that can help students with contract negotiation careers. Available tracks include contract management, negotiation in business, mediation in the workplace, and US arbitration law and practice. Graduates explore careers where they can put their skills to work.

Highlight Certifications offered by the school are intensive and distance-learning based. Each program offers practical tools and a firm foundation in the legal issues affecting contracts.

Program: Contract Management & Negotiation

7. San Diego State University

San Diego State University hosts one of the best contract management certification programs in the United States. This program falls under the purview of the local chapter of the National Contract Management Association. It helps students prepare for a variety of certification exams including the following: CPCM, CFCM, and CCCM. These certifications are recognized as standards of excellence when it comes to contract management. The university’s Advisory Board consists of industry experts and students can take more than one of course at a time.

San Diego State is a large school with 27,000 undergraduate students. Competition to get into the school is fierce with just 34% of students accepted in a typical year. Approximately 73% of freshmen finish their education at San Diego State.

Highlight This highly rated university ranks number nine among the top public universities in California.

Program: Professional Certificate in Contract Management

8. Villanova University

Villanova University also has one of the best contract management certification programs led by industry experts. The Certificate in Contract Management Provides the training students need to become proficient at government and commercial contract management. Topics include everything from the requisitioning process to closing out a contract. Students learn concepts from both the seller and buyer points of view to ensure complete understanding. Other topics include risk control, cost containment and the importance of contributing to organizational success. This program helps students prepare for National Contract Management Association (NCMA) certifications.  

As a private University, Villanova has deep roots in the Catholic faith. It’s located in the Philadelphia area and enrolls nearly 7,000 undergraduate students. The school accepts less than one third of those who apply, and popular majors include nursing and finance. Approximately 90% of students complete their education at the university. Villanova has an A+ rating for value for money and academics, according to Niche.com.

Highlight Villanova is ranked number four among the best Catholic colleges in the country.

Program: Certificate in Contract Management

9. University of Alabama in Huntsville

The University of Alabama in Huntsville offers one of the best contract management certification tracks. Students can take courses at night, so they don’t have to leave their jobs. The Federal Contracting & Procurement Management Certificate helps students prepare for careers in federal contract procurement and negotiation. Topics include cost analysis, pricing and accounting. Some credit hours earned as part of this certification can be applied to a master’s degree at the university.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville has over 6,000 undergraduate students and accepts 83% of those who apply. The school has high ratings for academics, diversity and value for money.

Highlight The University of Alabama in Huntsville ranks number three among best universities in Alabama.

Program: Certificate in Federal Contracting and Procurement Management

10. University of Central Florida

One of the best contract management certification programs can be found at the University of Central Florida. Students can take courses at UCF online and learn financial management, contracting and intellectual property topics. Graduate emerge ready to tackle jobs in procurement and acquisitions.

The University of Central Florida is a well-respected public university with 42,000 undergraduate students. Just 44% of those who apply are accepted by the school, which graduates 72% of students.

Highlight UCF is ranked number four among the top public universities in Florida.

Program: Research Administration Graduate Certificate

11. California State University, San Bernadino

California State University, San Bernardino has one of the best contract management certification programs available. There is a growing demand for procurement specialists at the public and private levels. Receiving a certification can help students obtain better-paying jobs in public administration. With this Management Certificate in Public Procurement (MCPP), those already working in the field can update their training and education. The MCPP also presents opportunities for those already working in public service who want to move up the chain of command. This program has rigorous educational requirements focusing on procurement practices.

The California State University San Bernardino is a well-respected school and a branch campus of the state’s premier public university. This medium-sized university offers small class sizes and offers strong support in the form of close faculty contact with students.  

Highlight About 93% of students who attend CSU San Bernardino receive some form of financial aid.

Program: Management Certificate in Public Procurement

12. University of Illinois Springfield

Students can also find one of the best contract management certification programs at the University of Illinois Springfield. Those who complete the Graduate Certificate in Public Procurement Management often go on to pursue jobs in procurement management, supply chain management and contract management. Graduates of this program are prepared to become a Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB). All courses are completed online.

Illinois at Springfield has 1,800 undergraduate students. This small institution is a top public University in the Springfield area. Admissions are somewhat competitive and just 77% of students who apply are accepted. Popular majors include computer science and business.

Highlight The university ranks third among the state’s top public schools.

Program: Management Certificate in Public Procurement

13. Sacramento State University

Sacramento State University has a program that is among the best contract management certification opportunities. The contract management certificate program at the school is offered 100% online and includes a mixture of practical and theoretical topics. Graduates emerge ready to take on responsibilities, including awarding contracts and developing a contract management network. Courses also cover contract modifications, surveillance tools, cancellations and claims.

Sacramento State accepts more than eight out of 10 students who apply and is a large public institution with 24,000 undergraduate enrollees.

Highlight Of students who attend Sacramento State, 85% receive some form of financial aid.

Program: Contract Management Certificate

14. Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University has one of the best contract management certification tracks in the country. Graduates emerge with the skills and knowledge needed to procure, negotiate and administer contracts. As part of the program, students learned how to develop good relationships with distributors, suppliers and users. They master legal and financial concepts related to contract management in numerous industries and in both foreign and domestic markets. Among the fundamentals covered in the program, graduates master contract management, monitoring, accounting and analysis. They also learn effective negotiating skills and the ethics involved in contract management.

Saint Louis has 6,400 undergraduate students. The admission process can be somewhat grueling. Of those who apply, the university accepts just 58%. However, 79% of students graduate from the school. The school offers numerous majors including exercise science and nursing. Niche.com gives the school an A rating in academics and value for money.

Highlight Saint Louis University ranks number eight among the best Catholic colleges in the United States, making it a potentially good fit for conservative Christians seeking a university that mirrors their values.

Program: Certificate in Contract Management

15. University of West Florida

Students can also receive one of the best contract management certification options at the University of West Florida. This certification is titled Acquisition and Contract Administration Certificate. It prepares students to enter careers managing acquisitions for public entities. The coursework helps students obtain skills that can expand their career horizons. This certification program includes every step from precontract preparation to execution and closeout.

West Florida is a public university with nearly 7,000 undergraduate students. It only accepts 31% of students who apply. This suggests that students who do receive an acceptance letter are a great fit for the school, which is based in Ferry Pass, Florida. The school’s majors include liberal arts and science degrees in numerous fields.

Highlight The University of West Florida is ranked number eight among the top public universities in the state. Of those who attend the school, 90% get some kind of financial aid.

Program: Acquisition and Contract Administration Certificate

16. Old Dominion University

Old Dominion University has an excellent online graduate certification in contract management. It’s among the best contract management certification programs available. Students take five courses that teach them the tools and skills needed for managing contracts that deal with goods and services. Graduates can help their organizations make informed decisions on contract negotiation. The program can be completed in one year but often takes longer. ODU’s Graduate Certificate in Public Procurement and Contract Management is the first public procurement certificate offered at the graduate level.

Old Dominion, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has more than 15,000 undergraduate students. The University accepts 89% of those who apply and offers diverse majors including criminology and mental health services.

Highlight Nine out of 10 students who apply are accepted into the program and 94% of all students receive some kind of financial aid.

Program: Public Procurement and Contract Management Graduate Certificate

17. Weber State University

Another one of the best contract management certification tracks is available at Weber State University. Weber’s Graduate Certificate in Contract Management teaches students how to manage contracts responsibly. Learners explore the communication process involved with contract negotiation and learn how to use surveillance tools and process terminations and claims.

Weber State is located in Ogden, UT, near Salt Lake City. It has 11,000 undergraduate students and accepts all applicants. This progressive school has diverse majors including nursing and computer science. Its open admission policy offers a unique opportunity for students who do not test well on standardized exams but want to pursue higher education.

Highlight The university is ranked number six among best value colleges in Utah, meaning students get a high-quality education at affordable tuition rates.

Program: Graduate Certificate in Contract Management

18. The Catholic University of America

The Catholic University of America also has one of the best contract management certification tracks. Graduates from this program go onto careers in public and private contracting jobs. Courses included in the certification program include legal aspects of government contracting, pricing, source selection, negotiations, federal contract management and execution of government contracts. This program provides an introduction to procurement and acquisition of government contracts. Students gain insight into how to become managers and the different roles in acquisition teams.

The Catholic University of America has a 176-acre campus in the Washington, DC, area. Its students include both graduate and undergraduate students from a number of countries. It ranks 23rd among the best Catholic universities in the country. The location of the brick-and-mortar school makes it convenient for students who already work in the DC area. Approximately 85% of students felt confident that they would find jobs in their field after graduation.

Highlight About 91% (compared to a national average of 83%) of students receive some form of financial aid, making this one of the more affordable options for prospective students.

Program: Certificate in Federal Contract Management

19. Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City University has one of the best contract management certification programs in the United States. The Government Contract Management Certificate gives students the skills they need to master government contract acquisitions. Students also learn how to manage every stage of the contract process. For students who are new to government contracts, this program provides a range of knowledge that will help them succeed in managing government Acquisitions and procurement contracts. Through this program, students can advance their career or start a new career working for private and public entities in need of government contract managers.

Oklahoma City has just 1,600 undergraduate students. It is a private university with roots in the Christian religion. As the name suggests, it is located in Oklahoma’s capital city and its admissions committee admits 75% of applicants. Some of these students major in nursing and liberal arts while others focus on music performance and other majors.

Highlight Oklahoma City University is ranked number four among the best colleges in Oklahoma. This is good news for students who want to get their education from an OK-based institution.

Program: Government Contract Management Certificate

20. University of the District of Columbia

It should come as no surprise that the University of the District of Columbia’s Certificate in Procurement and Public Contracting would be one of the best choices for professionals who want to go into government contract management. This online program is designed for current professionals who are already working in the field and want to increase their skills and credentials. Courses include cost analysis, purchasing, contract administration, and more. The curriculum is currently under revision.

The University of the District of Columbia is the only public university in Washington, DC. As a historically black university, UDC is committed to social improvement. UDC is home to a comprehensive wealth of programs, from a community college to a law school, with a special focus on public administration and service – fitting its location. 

Highlight UDC has a unique mission as an urban, public land-grant institution, and takes pride in its leadership in government and public service. 

Program: Certificate in Procurement and Public Contracting

Why Should I Get My Contract Management Certificate Online?

Earning a certificate of contract management online gives you a chance to continue working while you are going to school. Online learning offers many advantages over and above being able to continue working. Students are able to study at their own pace. They are able to study when it is best for them to actually absorb and retain the information. Less time and money is wasted traveling to and from campus. Another advantage is the ability to attend whatever school you choose, even if it is across the country. You can complete your courses while you are at work or while you are traveling. The online learning platform offers you the most convenience as well as a quality education.

How Do I Choose an Online Contract Management Certificate Program?

There are several ways to choose from one of the many online contract management certification programs. The first thing to look for is a certification program that offers the skills you need. Look for the online contract management certification program that offers the necessary skills, plus a few extra perks that you may be able to use in other areas. Find out what resources the certification program offers and how you can access them.

Next, look at affordability and time-frame. Longer classes will cost more. Remember, however, to make sure that if the certification program runs longer, that you receive more in the way of skills and information. Take the time to look closely at the course list and determine what you are actually getting for your money. If you aren’t sure about how a program is broken down, call and talk to an advisor, They can give you the answers you are looking for and help you find a program that is more in line with what you want. 

Finally, when choosing an online format, you may want to find out if you have set class times when attendance is mandatory. This may be a problem if you work a full-time job. Talk to your academic advisor and they will be able to help you find a class that will fit into your busy work schedule. No conflicts between work and school mean less stress when it comes to the learning process.

Will a Government Contract Management Certification Help My Career?

Government contract management certification is a great way to give your career a healthy boost. These certificates go above and beyond what a traditional contract management certificate does because they allow you to work at a government level. Government contracts are sometimes more confidential and highly detailed. Government contracts can be between two countries or the government and a domestic or international company.

Working with government contracts involves a much more complex set of rules and regulations. If you go the extra distance to earn a government contract management certification, you will have a higher level of qualifications that will allow you to take on more responsibilities and perform more complex tasks. If you are already employed and choose to enroll in an online certificate in government contract management, you will be able to start using your new skills right away.

Government contract management certification gives you the opportunity to apply for advanced job openings that involve negotiation strategies and the processes involved with mergers and acquisitions. At this level, you will be able to use your skills to help broker large business deals between your company and government agencies. The more experience you gain in this field, the better off your career will be.

Carrie Morris

Warren Dahl