How Can I Become a Certified Purchasing Manager?

Explore the career requirements to become a certified purchasing manager. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, certification requirements, and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Certified Purchasing Manager?

Purchasing managers supervise all aspects of procurement within a wholesale business, retail company or organization. They hire, train and coordinate the activities of staff members, such as buyers and purchasing agents, who are involved in purchasing equipment or products. In addition, they negotiate contracts with suppliers and handle any problems or discrepancies related to service or deliveries. After purchases have been made, they keep careful records so that they can stay on top of inventory and make sure the organization has all the materials that it needs in stock. Although certification is not required for a job as a purchasing manager, there are several professional organizations that offer designations.

The table below outlines the general requirements to become a certified purchasing manager.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Business, accounting, economics
Training Required Extensive on-the-job training provided by employers
Key Skills Analytical skills, math skills, decision making skills
Licensure Required CPP, CPPM, CSCP, CPPO available through various organizations
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%*
Mean Annual Salary (2015) $114,130*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Does a Purchasing Manager Do?

As a purchasing manager, you would work to negotiate contracts to buy commodities, goods and services for a company. Your primary responsibility would be to secure the best prices and deals to keep your company's costs low. You'd research past prices and trends in the market and manage a team of purchasing agents. You need to have knowledge of the industry in which you work and the items you might need to buy, whether its grocery products, textiles or any number of commodities for purchase in bulk. You may also use your background knowledge of supply chain management and other business concepts to find the best products at the lowest price.

What Education Do I Need?

The requirements for purchasing managers vary from company to company, but a bachelor's degree could be a good way to get started in the field. A bachelor's degree program in business or economics could provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to work in the purchasing field. The position of purchasing manager is usually attained by first gaining experience in lower-level positions such as assistant buyer or purchasing clerk.

How Do I Become Certified?

Multiple third-party organizations offer certifications for the purchasing profession. The leading certification used to be the Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) designation, which was offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), but is being replaced by the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation ( You can gain the CPSM title after completing of an accredited bachelor's degree program, three years of supply management experience and a three-part examination.

The American Purchasing Society ( offers two additional designations - Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) and Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM). You can earn these designations after proving that you have sufficient education, professional experience and ethical standards, and then pass the required examination. A third organization, the Associations for Operations Management (, offers both the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) Program, which confers the CPIM designation after completion of the program and a passing score on the examination, and the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) certification, which is awarded after sufficient educational and professional experience and a passing score on the exam. If you are interested in working as a purchasing manager for a government agency, you can go after two designations offered by the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council ( These include the Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO) and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) designations, which are also awarded after sufficient educational and professional experience and a passing score on the exam.

What Salary Can I Expect to Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that, in May 2015, the average annual wage for purchasing managers was $114,130. reported that, in January 2017, purchasing managers in the 10th to 90th percentile range with the CPM designation made between $42,608 and $97,409.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You could also consider a different manager position within a company or organization. For example, you could become a sales manager, where you would analyze sales data, come up with strategies to improve sales and direct the organization's sales team to implement your plans. Alternatively, in the financial realm, you could become a risk manager. In this position, your goal would be to figure out how to reduce and offset possible financial losses due to market fluctuations. For either of these manager jobs, you need to have at least a bachelor's degree.

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