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Purchasing Agent Certification and Certificate Programs

Read about certificate programs and certifications that are relevant to the purchasing agent. This article includes educational prerequisites, program coursework and job outlook statistics.

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Essential Information

Purchasing agents work with businesses, companies, or organizations to purchase services or goods on their behalf. The purchasing management certificate program is primarily designed for professionals seeking management positions in their current careers. The curriculum introduces new professionals to industry areas including procurement, logistics, contracts, and finance. These programs will also build on the professional knowledge in purchasing topics such as negotiation, cost management, and ethics, and provide them with up-to-date industry information.

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.

Education Prerequisites

Students should hold an associate's or bachelor's degree prior to admission into a purchasing management certificate program. Some may also require prerequisite courses in mathematics, science, or business, as well as professional experience in the field.

Program Coursework

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:

  • Negotiations
  • 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 purchasing agents is projected to increase by 5% from 2010-2020, 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 2012, the BLS stated that the mean annual wages for purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail and farm products, was $62,310. That same year the mean wages for purchasing agents and buyers of farm products was $59,770 annually.

Continuing Education

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.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics