Is becoming a purchasing manager right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do purchasing managers do?
Career Satisfaction
Are purchasing managers happy with their careers?
What are purchasing managers like?

Still unsure if becoming a purchasing manager is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a purchasing manager or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Purchasing Manager

Becoming a purchasing manager involves a combination of education, experience, and skill development. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to pursue a career as a purchasing manager:

  • Education: While there isn't a specific degree required to become a purchasing manager, most employers prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Common areas of study include business administration, supply chain management, economics, or a related discipline. Some purchasing managers may also have backgrounds in engineering, finance, or other relevant fields.
  • Gain Relevant Experience: Entry-level positions in procurement, such as purchasing agent, buyer, or procurement specialist, can provide valuable experience and help you understand the intricacies of the field. These roles allow you to develop skills in negotiation, supplier management, contract analysis, and sourcing.
  • Develop Skills: Acquire and hone skills that are crucial for purchasing managers, such as strong communication, negotiation, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Proficiency in data analysis, financial management, and familiarity with procurement software and tools can also be beneficial.
  • Obtain Additional Education (Optional): Consider pursuing advanced education, such as a master's degree or professional certifications, to enhance your qualifications and competitiveness. Certifications can demonstrate your expertise (see below).
  • Gain Leadership Experience: As you advance in your career, seek opportunities to take on leadership roles within your procurement or supply chain department. This could involve supervising a team of buyers or procurement specialists, leading strategic initiatives, or managing procurement projects.
  • Networking: Build a strong professional network by attending industry events, conferences, and workshops. Networking can help you stay updated on industry trends, learn from experienced professionals, and discover potential job opportunities.
  • Work on Soft Skills: Developing soft skills such as leadership, conflict resolution, and team management is crucial for success as a purchasing manager. Effective communication and collaboration with cross-functional teams are also essential in this role.
  • Apply for Purchasing Manager Positions: Once you have gained sufficient experience and skills, start applying for purchasing manager positions. Look for job openings in various industries, such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, technology, and more.
  • Prepare for Interviews: Be ready to discuss your relevant experience, skills, and achievements during interviews. Highlight your ability to manage supplier relationships, optimize procurement processes, and contribute to the organization's overall strategic goals.
  • Continuous Learning: The field of procurement is dynamic, and staying updated on industry trends, regulations, and best practices is essential. Continuously invest in your professional development through workshops, certifications, and advanced courses.

Certifications can enhance your credentials as a purchasing manager, demonstrating your expertise and commitment to the field. Here are some recognized certifications:

  • Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM): Offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), the CPSM certification is designed for supply chain professionals, including purchasing managers. It consists of three exams covering supply chain foundations, supply chain planning, and supply chain execution. The CPSM certification demonstrates your proficiency in various aspects of supply chain management.
  • Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM): Provided by the American Purchasing Society (APS), the CPPM certification is tailored for purchasing professionals, including managers. It covers topics such as strategic sourcing, contract management, negotiation, and supplier relations. Earning the CPPM certification showcases your skills in procurement and purchasing management.
  • Certified Professional in Distribution and Warehousing (CPDW): Also offered by APS, the CPDW certification is ideal for purchasing managers who have responsibilities related to inventory management, distribution, and warehousing. It covers topics such as logistics, transportation, and supply chain optimization.
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP): Offered by APICS (Association for Supply Chain Management), the CSCP certification covers end-to-end supply chain topics, including planning, sourcing, production, delivery, and returns. This certification demonstrates your broad supply chain knowledge and capabilities.
  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM): Another certification from APICS, CPIM focuses on production and inventory management, making it relevant for purchasing managers who oversee inventory levels and production processes.
  • Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD): Also provided by ISM, the CPSD certification is valuable if your role involves promoting supplier diversity and inclusion. It demonstrates your commitment to fostering diverse supplier relationships.