Purchasing agents work with businesses, companies or organizations to purchase services or goods on their behalf. The curriculum in a purchasing agent certification program introduces new professionals to industry areas including procurement, logistics, contracts and finance.
Students can typically complete the certificate program in less than seven months, and graduates may be awarded a credential such as the internationally recognized certified purchasing supply management (CPSM) certification. Continuing education is important in a purchasing profession. Specialists who currently hold purchasing management or agent certification can put the continuing education hours (CEH) they will gain towards re-certification.
Purchasing Agent Certificate Program
Purchasing agent certificate programs are meant for current professionals, so students should hold an associate's or bachelor's degree prior to admission. Some may also require prerequisite courses in mathematics, science or business, and professional experience in the field.
Purchasing certification exams typically cover a variety of areas including computers, finance, team work, purchasing processes and other relevant topics. The following courses are available to provide the necessary exam preparation:
- Cost and pricing analysis
- Ethics in purchasing management
- Introduction to global trading
- Marketing principles
- Business law
Job Outlook and Salary Info
The job outlook for buyers and purchasing agents is projected to increase by 2% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This includes purchasing agents of farm products and purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail and farm products. In May 2015, the BLS stated that the median annual wages for purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail and farm products, was $62,220. That same year the median wages for purchasing agents and buyers of farm products was $56,270 annually.
Upon completion of a purchasing or purchasing management certification program, students may consider Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB), Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO), or Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) designations. These are awarded by national purchasing agencies and usually require professionals to complete exams in addition to their certification.
Purchasing professionals seeking advancement in their careers can pursue a certificate program to add to their resume or prepare them for national certification exams.