How Can I Earn a Purchasing Agent License?

While purchasing agents are not typically licensed, you might consider becoming certified. Gaining certification, which is not mandatory, is a way to prove your skills and knowledge as a professional in the field. Continue reading to learn more about your certification options. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Purchasing Agent Job Description

As a purchasing agent, it would be your job to buy the highest quality goods for your company at the most reasonable prices possible. You would be required to investigate the market, identify possible suppliers and stay on top of trends in the industry. You might analyze potential suppliers by checking out their finances, product quality, product availability, shipping methods and reliability.

In making deals with suppliers, you could be expected to negotiate prices, services and contract details. It would be necessary to remain aware of any laws or regulations that impact your purchases. Purchasing and receiving records might also be your responsibility. This might include keeping a detailed ledger of costs, inventory and relevant product notes. You might have final approval of bill payments that are associated with purchasing.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2014) $58,520
Work Environment Office setting, travel is often required especially for global companies
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 2% growth
Key Skills Analytical skills, decision making skills, math skills, negotiating skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

Education requirements may vary depending on the company for whom you work. A bachelor's degree in business, finance or supply management is a common requirement for this position in almost any industry. Some businesses, such as those in the manufacturing industry, may prefer that you also have a master's degree.

Most employers will require you to start in entry-level assistant or junior purchasing agent positions. On-the-job training may be offered to help you learn about the company and its procedures. Such training can last from 1-5 years. Continuing education options could be available to you, and they are essential if you want to advance in the field.

Certification

Certification is becoming part of the criteria many employers look for in new hires. A number of organizations offer certification options if you have the requisite education and experience. Below are three such organizations as well as information on the certifications you could earn.

Institute for Supply Management

The Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) is available to those who have bachelor's degrees and three years of experience in the supply management field; a total of five years of work experience may be considered in lieu of the degree requirement. You must then pass three examinations in order to earn this certification. These examinations test you on the basic concepts of supply management, leadership and the maintaining of effective performance with the field.

The American Purchasing Society

This organization was the first to offer certification and it now offers three certifications to those who adhere to particular codes of conduct and ethics, and who demonstrate the required skills. The Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) is a five-year basic credential for purchasing professionals.

Managers in the field who already have the CPP can earn the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM), and those who consult or teach in the field can earn the CPPC, or Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant. The Certified Green Purchasing Professional credential is available as well.

APICS - The Association for Operations Management

As a purchasing management professional, you could earn the CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) with three years of relevant work experience or a bachelor's degree. The organization includes a program to help you as you prepare to take the examination.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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