To get into purchasing management, it can be a good idea to earn a degree in a subject such as business or economics first. As with any career, the sooner you get experience and learn about real world issues and practices, the more quickly you can move into high level positions. Purchase managers tend to oversee all aspects of an organization's relationship with its suppliers and vendors. For this reason, individuals who enter purchasing management positions tend to have years of experience performing similar work in a related field or industry.
A purchasing manager is a professional who is responsible for duties such as finding suppliers, placing orders, monitoring deliveries, and evaluating quality of supplies and materials. Many business specialists believe that problems such as low productivity and increased costs often are related to an organization's suppliers. For this reason, purchasing managers are highly valued by their employers and are expected to be highly skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced.
One common first step for getting into purchasing management is to enroll in an undergraduate business course. While a formal academic education might not be required to practice as a purchasing manager, many employers expect job applicants to have a strong knowledge of financial and managerial practices and principles. Entry level positions that aspiring purchasing managers frequently take also often require job candidates to have bachelor's degrees in business or in a field related to a particular industry.
While studying for your degree, it also might be a good idea to take an internship or part time job in a field in which you are interested in working. Purchasing is performed in nearly every kind of industry, meaning that an aspiring purchasing manager should explore various possibilities in order to discover which career path to take. If you express to your manager or internship supervisor that you are interested in pursuing a career in purchasing management, he or she might find opportunities for you to engage in this kind of work.
Depending on the kind of industry in which you would like to practice purchasing management, you also may benefit from earning a master's or doctorate degree. An individual who is interested in a complex field, such as chemical engineering, for example, certainly can benefit from advanced education and clinical research opportunities. A person who is interested in retail, on the other hand, might benefit more from work experience than from postgraduate work.