The #1 High School and University Resource for Alberta Students

How to Become a Purchasing Manager

How to Become a Purchasing Manager
Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience

Typically, purchasing managers have a minimum of a bachelor's degree along with some previous work experience as a purchasing agent or buyer.

Work Experience

Managers often have a minimum of 5 years as a purchasing agent or buyer. Duties may overlap with other managerial functions in certain industries. For instance, a purchasing manager may have marketing, logistics, planning and production skills.

Education & Training

They usually have experience in procurement. Some top-level manager positions may require a master's degree.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are a variety of certifications available for individuals employed in the procurement or purchasing related occupation. Some employers prefer certification while others do not require it. Work experience, written and oral exams encompass the majority of certifications.

The Certified Professional in Supply Management or CPSM credential is available from the Institute for Supply Management. In order to earn this credential, candidates with a bachelor's degree must have a minimum of 3 years work experience and pass 3 exams, while those without a bachelor's degree often require 5 years work experience.

The CPPM or Certified Professional Purchasing Manager and the CPP or Certified Purchasing Professional is offered by the American Purchasing Society. Certification lasts for five years. Candidates need to earn a particular number of points regarding professional development in order to obtain a renewed certification. A variety of education, purchasing-related experience and contributions to the profession via delivered speeches or published articles can help candidates with the renewal process.

The American Production and Inventory Control Society or the APICS provides the CSCP or Certified Supply Chain Professional credential. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree or 3 years of related business experience in order to be eligible for this particular credential which remains valid for 5 years. A variety of points are awarded for professional development in order for certification to be renewed.

The SPSM or Senior Professional in Supply Management certification is offered by the Next Level Purchasing Association. Applicants need to complete 6 online courses and pass and SPSM exam. There are no other work experience or education requirements. An additional 32 hours of continuing education in procurement related subjects is required in order for candidates to become recertified for another 4 years.

The UPPCC or Universal Public Procurement Certification Council provides two certifications for local government workers, along with state and federal workers. The CPPB or Certified Professional Public Buyer credential requires that applicants have a minimum of an associate's degree with at least three years of experience in public procurement. They must complete additional training courses relevant to their position. The CPPO or Certified Public Purchasing Officer requires applicants have a minimum of a bachelor's degree with five years of experience in public procurement. They also must finish additional training classes.

Individuals holding 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 NGIP or National Institute of Government Purchasing offers different preparation classes for those preparing for the UPPCC certification exams.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Analytical skills: Purchasing managers must evaluate their suppliers and decide to work with one who offers the best combination of criteria including: delivery, price, service or quality.

Decision-making skills: Purchasing managers need to make timely and informed decisions regarding securing products or parts on time. If choosing items to sell, they must make accurate decisions on what they believe will sell.

Math skills: Basic math skills are required by purchasing managers. They have to compare a variety of prices from different suppliers to make sure their company is receiving the best deal.

Negotiating skills: Negotiating contract terms with a supplier is common. Self confidence, product knowledge and interpersonal skills can ensure a successful negotiation.

How To Advance

A qualified and experienced purchasing manager may become the chief procurement officer within an organization or business.