How to Become a Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience in the field.
Purchasing managers need a bachelor’s degree and work experience as a buyer or purchasing agent.
Purchasing managers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience in procurement. A master’s degree may be required for advancement to some top-level purchasing manager jobs.
Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Purchasing managers typically must have at least 5 years of experience as a buyer or purchasing agent. At the top levels, purchasing manager duties may overlap with other management functions, such as production, planning, logistics, and marketing.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
There are several certifications available for purchasing managers and others employed in a procurement-related field. Although some employers require certification, many do not.
Most of the certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.
The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience for those with a bachelor’s degree or 5 years of relevant work experience for those without a bachelor’s degree.
The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) and the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) credentials. Certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible, and can renew their certification, through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as articles published or speeches delivered).
APICS, founded as the American Production and Inventory Control Society, offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of related business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential, which is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.
The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional 4-year period.
The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, to have at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and to complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, to have at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and to complete additional training courses.
Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.
The National Institute of Government Purchasing’s (NIGP’s) Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.
An experienced and qualified purchasing manager may advance to become the chief procurement officer for a business or organization.
Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, purchasing managers must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, service, or other criteria.
Decisionmaking skills. Purchasing managers must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.
Math skills. Purchasing managers must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal.
Negotiating skills. Purchasing managers often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiation.