Associate Buyer: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for an associate buyer. Find out about education requirements, job duties, and salary potential to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Associate Buyer?

An associate buyer may also be called an assistant buyer or purchasing agent, and these professionals work to procure products, supplies, or other goods for a company. They can work for a manufacturer, farm business or retail store. As an associate buyer they may help a main buyer or purchasing agent interview vendors, evaluate supplies, monitor finance reports and examine purchasing contracts. They may be authorized to negotiate various deals and contracts for their business. Associate buyers must maintain accurate records for the company and monitor inventory, quality and contracts at all times. The following chart gives an overview about what you need to know before entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree or prior work experience in related field
Education Field of Study Supply management, fashion merchandising, retail merchandising, business
Key Responsibilities Investigate market trends and company needs, establish working relationships with suppliers, report recommendations
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (all buyers and purchasing agents)
Mean Wage (2015)* $62,280 (all buyers and purchasing agents, farm products); $59,270 (all wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Duties Does an Associate Buyer Have?

Job duties include researching competition or buying trends, finding potential suppliers, communicating with suppliers, touring supplier facilities, taking stock of inventory, making purchasing recommendations and placing orders for products.

In the manufacturing industry, you may purchase the supplies necessary for the factory to operate and create the products. A job working for a farming company can require you to purchase specialized equipment, seeds or animals. If working for an office, you may need to procure a large amount of computer equipment, cleaning supplies and general office supplies. Working for a retail chain may require you to purchase the equipment that keeps the stores operational and the shelves filled with merchandise. When working for a fashion designer, you may purchase the fabric or other components used in the item's design.

What are the Education Requirements?

Many employers require at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related field, but others just require experience working in the field. A degree in supply management, fashion merchandising, retail merchandising or general business may prepare you to work in the field. In any of these programs, classes you can expect to take include accounting, economics, business technology, negotiation skills, business law, business research, quality management, supply management, logistics, operations, project management and business forecasting. Some programs may offer internships with local companies that can provide you with experience working in a buying department.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015 purchasing agents working in the farming industry earned a mean annual salary of $62,280 (www.bls.gov). Also according to the BLS, at the same time, purchasing agents working in wholesale and retail industries earned $59,270.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are several related positions that require a bachelor's degree, including purchasing managers, financial managers and logisticians. Purchasing managers oversee and coordinate the actions of purchasing agents and buyers. They help determine what materials or services an organization needs. Financial managers handle all financial aspects of an organization. They analyze finance reports, develop long-term financial goals and monitor investments. Logisticians monitor, manage and may improve the life cycle of a particular product for an organization. They ensure that the process from the supplier to the consumer is as efficient as possible.

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  • Strayer University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Florida Tech

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  • Miller-Motte College

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  • New England College

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  • Northeast Community College

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    • Nebraska: Norfolk
  • Post University

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  • University of Akron Main Campus

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    • Ohio: Akron