Air Force Contracting (6C0X1) specialists are responsible for soliciting, negotiating, completing, and verifying the contracts that purchase all Air Force equipment.
This equipment ranges from backpacks to wings for aircraft.
There are different contracting positions and divisions that are all responsible for millions of dollars of purchases and agreements each year.
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Education, Requirements, and Training
Individuals who wish to join the Air Force as a Contracting Specialist will have to meet several different requirements.
This position holds high responsibility that requires both integrity and honesty.
Air Force Contracting Specialists must have a High School Diploma or GED.
They must pass the general Air Force ASVAB requirements.
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The requirements for this position are:
- Ability to communicate effectively in writing
- Ability to speak distinctly
- A minimum of 24 semester hours in business-related subjects
- Between 17 and 39 years old
- Never been convicted by a civilian court of a Category 1, 2 or 3 offense
- Cannot have a prior conviction of court-martial or nonjudicial punishment related to dereliction in the performance of job functions that involve or relate to: contracting activities, larceny, financial irresponsibility or misappropriation of funds.
Recruits will attend Basic Military Training for 8.5 weeks.
After Basic Training, they will attend technical training and Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.
This position requires honesty and no prior convictions in contracting because of the high amount of responsibility, control, and purchasing power that each individual has.
The job of the Air Force Contracting Specialist is to complete all steps of the contract while ensuring that each dollar is appropriately and adequately spent.
Contracting Specialists make the purchase of supplies, services, labor, equipment, and more, to support base activities.
Individuals in this position will be working with purchase orders, blanket purchase orders, and one-time purchase ordering.
There are a variety of different areas that Contracting Specialists can work in.
Some of the areas that Contracting Specialists can purchase for include: commodities, construction, services, specialized, plans, and programs.
Contracting Specialists support purchasing stateside or in deployed locations.
They can create purchasing procedures and evaluate those procedures.
These specialists will be required to present correspondence and briefings on the contracts they have completed or are working on.
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Prior to the Agreement
They are required to complete research to understand the uses and needs for the products they are purchasing.
Often, they will complete research to purchase products that lead to improvements such as lighter equipment.
A Contracting Specialist will work with manufacturers, companies, and individuals to solicit bids and negotiate contracts.
They will obtain data on marketing trends and trade information.
This is important because it allows the Contracting Specialist to accept bids that offer the best value to the Air Force.
Once the Contracting Specialist receives bids and completes analysis on each one, they will prepare an order or contract.
Preparing a contract requires an understanding of the work and product uses.
It also requires understanding contract clauses and potential disputes.
When preparing a contract or agreement, the specialist will make sure all work is within government compliance and meets all laws, statutes, and regulations.
The specialist must check budgets and approvals when making a contract or agreement.
The Contracting Specialist will work closely with each contractor to negotiate the terms.
They will work to advise other Air Force members who are involved plus advise the other party on any procedures or regulations.
After both sides agree to the terms, the Contracting Specialist will award the contractor with the agreement and work.
They will then create purchase orders for the required equipment and labor.
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After the Contract is in Place
The work of the Contracting Specialist is not complete once the contract is in place.
They must also complete audits of the work being performed and document any information that pertains to the work.
The Contracting Specialist uses different tracking systems to analyze all transactions being completed.
They will ensure that the contractors are complying with any legal requirements such as insurance, bonding, and tax.
Specialists will also interview the working parties to make sure labor law requirements are met and that the customer is satisfied.
It is the job of the Contracting Specialist to track deadlines, delivery schedules, and pricing then ensure the contractors are meeting all of those specifications.
Any issues related to the agreement or disputes will be attempted to be resolved by the Contracting Specialist.
Resolving a contract dispute could involve amending a contract or terminating a contract.
If a contract is terminated, the Contracting Specialist will document any necessary information then work towards possible settlement claims.
Air Force Contracting Specialist Pay
All individuals in the Air Force will receive the same base pay based on rank and years of service.
There are opportunities to earn above the base pay in certain scenarios.
The pay table for the Air Force can be found below.
|Insignia||Pay Grade||Rank||Abbreviation||2021 Minimum Monthly Pay|
|E-3||Airman First Class||A1C||$2,104|
|E-8||Senior Master Sergeant||SMSgt||$4,480|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant||CMSgt||$5,473|
|E-9||Command Chief Master Sergeant||CCM||$5,473|
|E-9||Chief Master Sergeant Of The Air Force||CMSAF||$5,473|
In addition to the base pay above, the Air Force offers competitive and appealing benefits.
Air Force personnel often list the benefits as one of the most positive aspects and a reason to join.
The Air Force offers free/low cost medical and dental, paid sick time, and low-cost life insurance.
As an airman, you can receive a housing and food allowance that covers utilities and maintenance.
A generous retirement program available after 20 years of service is also available.
Airmen receive 30 days paid vacation and travel accommodations.
They also can receive up to 100% tuition assistance through the Air Force Tuition Assistance program, the Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI bill.
Depending on the area of study and your intended length of stay in the Air Force, there are other scholarship opportunities available.
More details about Air Force benefits can be found here.
This position allows individuals to be engaged daily.
It allows for people to interact and visit with locations that they might not be able to visit or become involved with if they were not in the Contracting Specialist position.
Contracting Specialists like that their job gives them valuable experience and skills.
The travel is noted as both a positive and negative, so remember that it is all about perspective.
Negative aspects about the position include difficulty changing career paths and long hours.
Here are a few reviews from Contracting Specialists:
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Civilian Career Opportunities
The exact civilian career opportunities available will depend on the contracting area that you work in while in the Air Force.
The opportunities will range from office assistant positions with lower pay (generally less than $30,000 a year) to higher positions such as Contracting Officer with the CIA (generally over $80,000 a year).
Possible positions include:
- Office Assistant
- Programs Lead
- Claims Adjuster
- Acquisition Lead
- Contracting Implementation
- Credentialing Specialist
- Information Management Specialist
The skills learned will open the door to working with private businesses, public businesses and in government positions.
An Air Force Contracting Specialist is responsible for completing research, solicitations, creating contracts and following up on work performed.
Contacting Specialists can work in a variety of different areas but all areas require a high degree of professionalism and honesty.
They are responsible for ordering all equipment and work that is required on Military bases and overseas.
Individuals must meet the requirements for the Contracting Specialist position prior to attending Basic Training and technical school.
Once in the Air Force, the Contracting Specialist will have competitive benefits and opportunities presented to them.
Reviews from people who currently or previously held this position include that the position is challenging and engaging.
Joining the Air Force as a Contracting Specialist will give you the experience necessary to work in a variety of different civilian positions related to contracting.
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