How do I Become a Purchasing Manager?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2019
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A purchasing manager manages the ordering and buying of goods a company needs for its own use or to sell to its customers. The requirements for a person interested in this position may vary from employer to employer. Many employers prefer individuals who have earned college degrees in a business- or economic-related field, however. Some may also prefer job candidates who have earned certification in the field as well.

Often, a person who wants to become a purchasing manager handles purchases for his employer. In many cases, this involves purchasing the items, products, and services the company needs for normal functioning. This job may also involve ordering and purchasing goods for resale. Typically, a person in this field has a supervisory role as well, which may include managing assistants or even other purchasing agents. He may also create systems that allow employees to make their own purchases.


Generally, a person who wants to become a purchasing agent needs a bachelor’s degree to land a job in this field. For example, those with bachelor’s degrees in business or economics may be viewed as attractive job candidates. An individual may secure this job after completing a degree in another major, however, especially if his education includes such subjects as negotiation, data analysis, and supply chain management. Some employers are willing to hire individuals who do not have degrees, however. In such a case, a person who wants to become a purchasing manager may work his way up from other positions within a company, such as purchasing clerk or expediter positions.

A person who wants to become a purchasing manager may prepare educationally, but he’ll usually need some training as well. Even if an individual understands the duties of a purchasing manager and has a good grasp of purchasing processes, he’ll usually have to spend a good deal of time learning about the particulars of his employer's business. Training may be very lengthy in some cases, especially if the business is large and complex. A person who wants to become a purchasing manager may spend as many as five years preparing for this job.

Some individuals who pursue careers as purchasing managers opt to become certified as professional buyers. A person who wants to become a purchasing manager make seek such certification in order to demonstrate his knowledge and level of negotiating skill to employers. Certification requirements may vary, but individuals are often required to hold degrees and have significant experience in supply management in order to be eligible for certification.



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