Certified Buyer Careers and Certifications

Professional buyers are in charge of purchasing goods for resale among other tasks. Learn about the daily responsibilities of the job along with training and certification options. Schools offering Fashion Design & Merchandising degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Buyers purchase services and products for organizations to use or resell. As a professional buyer, you may wish to obtain certification with one of a variety of certifying organizations. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) offers the Certified Purchasing and Supply Manager (CPSM) certification for buyers with three years of full-time experience and a bachelor's degree. You must also pass three ISM competency exams to earn this designation.

Certification Certified Purchasing and Supply Manager certification, Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential, the Certified Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential; Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB), Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO)
Job Outlook Job growth rate of -3%, from 2016-2026, for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents
Salary $66,610 per year (median salary for wholesale retail buyers, except farm products)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2017)

What Certifications Are Available For Public Purchasers?

As a purchasing agent working for the government, you can obtain the Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) or the more advanced Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO), an executive certificate from the National Institute for Public Procurement (NIGP). Your eligibility for NIGP certification will depend upon related completion of public purchasing coursework and the completion of a degree program. For instance, if you do not hold a degree, you will be required to obtain additional professional experience and educational contact hours in public purchasing in order to become eligible for certification.

Where Can I Get Certified?

The Association for Operations Management (APICS) issues the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential as well as the Certified Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential, which must be maintained with verified professional development hours. Other organizations, such as the American Purchasing Society, issue professional certification for buyers with varying levels of experience.

What Education Will Prepare Me For Certification?

Many professional certifications require the completion of a degree program and/or specific purchasing coursework. For corporate or government positions, you may wish to earn a bachelor's degree or graduate degree in business. To prepare you for certification, certificate programs and courses are available that focus on issues such as:

  • Purchasing contracts and negotiation
  • Finances
  • Budgeting and consumer analysis
  • Logistical considerations such as transportation costs, supply chain relationships and inventory warehousing

What Are My Career Prospects With Certification?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 2016 through 2026, career opportunities for professional buyers should decrease at a rate of 3%. While the industry shows overall decline in job growth, employment for purchase managers directly is set to increase by 5%, largely due to the relatively large size of these occupations. The BLS states that the median annual salary for wholesale retail buyers, except those who buy farm products, is $66,610 per year.

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