For those of us who want to be of service to Veterans but aren’t medical professionals, contract specialist jobs are a great path to an engaging and exciting career with VA.
While our medical providers serve Veterans directly, the work you do will handle the behind-the-scenes business that makes providing that care possible.
A day in the life of a contract specialist
Contract specialists are the folks who make strategic and innovative business decisions to help us acquire vital goods and services for our facilities. In this role, you will act as business partners to program managers throughout VA and specifically the facilities under your purview.
As a contract specialist, you’ll have a hand in every stage of the procurement process for your facility, coordinating with numerous departments and stakeholders up and down the chain of command. You’ll also be the point-of-contact for outside vendors to address concerns related to the government procurement process.
The work you do will assist program managers and facility leadership in planning for and acquiring what we need on the front lines so that everyone can continue to provide exceptional service to the Veterans we support each and every day.
Contract specialists are in high demand, as our need for goods and services has increased dramatically over the past few years. To add to our necessity, the services we require have become more technically complex. Meanwhile the contracts in question are often of a longer duration, which means we need experts like you to help us get it right the first time.
Requirements for contract specialists
A strong background is needed to become a contract specialist at VA, so whether it’s through college coursework or experience, you’ll be able to show what you know to receive your contracting certification.
For those interested in pursuing contracting from an academic background, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a major in any field or at least 24 semester hours in any combination of fields immediately applicable to the work you’ll be doing:
- Industrial management
- Quantitative methods
However, contract specialists from other government agencies and private industry are also encouraged to apply, as your experience will be invaluable as you help us tackle the challenges that are unique to government work.
This is also a great opportunity for recently transitioning military personnel with acquisition work experience, as well as Veterans. As a bonus, we provide Veterans’ preference on your application, which can give you a leg up in the hiring process in thanks for your service to the country.
Benefits of working at VA
No matter your area of contracting expertise, there are some rewards that just won’t change, because we value you the way you value our Veterans.
VA knows that your time is important, and we encourage a life/work balance by offering 13-26 days paid leave, as well as 13 sick days annually, 11 paid federal holidays each year, and 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
When the time comes to retire, your finances will be secure. VA employees have access to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), which allows you to tax-defer a portion of your income each year, similar to a 401(k).
With Federal Employees Health Benefits, you can prepare for the unexpected and choose from a variety of plans that all cover preexisting conditions for you and your family. We’ll also cover you and eligible family members with Federal Employees Group Life Insurance.
As we mentioned above, VA careers are also a perfect fit for Veterans and transitioning military personnel. For retired military personnel, our financial benefits are in addition to full monthly retirement pay or pension, while those Veterans who choose to continue their service in the reserve or National Guard can receive 15 days of military leave a year.
Our employment benefits are in addition to any benefits you earned if you served in the military. As a VA employee, you can choose to carry over eligible military service time that can be added to your total years of service for retirement purposes.
Work at VA
Your work as a contracting specialist ensures that your coworkers have everything they need to keep operations flowing smoothly and making sure care of our Veterans never slows down.