Product Category Manager: Education Requirements and Career Info

Sep 14, 2019

A product category manager requires some formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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<Product category managers work with companies to create marketing plans that increase overall product sales. It is their responsibility to follow market trends and foster relationships across the industry in order to be as effective as possible. Product category managers need a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions

Essential Information

Product category managers use consumer trend data to create marketing plans for a variety of goods. Companies use these marketing plans to increase sales and maximize profits. Product category managers usually enter the career with bachelor's degrees in business, marketing or other relevant areas. With experience and training, they may go on to earn professional certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Certification Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -7% for buyers and purchasing agents
Median Salary (2018)* $57,340 for wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Product Category Manager Education Requirements

According to November 2014 job listings for product category managers on, employers prefer applicants with bachelor's degrees in applicable fields, such as business or marketing. Programs that grant Bachelor of Science in Marketing degrees, for example, focus on the critical thinking, marketing principles and business skills necessary for entry-level positions in product category management. Courses may include:

  • Marketing strategy
  • Consumer behavior
  • Promotion and advertising
  • Managerial accounting
  • Business statistics
  • Marketing research

Product Category Manager Career Info

Job Description

Product category managers research and analyze consumer data to develop marketing strategies for a variety of product types, such as groceries, housewares and building materials. During this process, they take into consideration a variety of factors, including consumer needs, profitability and market competition. Product category managers also collaborate with sales representatives, advertising personnel and purchasers to create detailed marketing plans. They then arrange this data into proposals, which they present to companies, retailers and vendors.


Along with developing marketing plans, product category managers may contribute to other factors of the product-planning process, such as budgeting, pricing, packaging and inventory management. They may also conduct product demonstrations for customers and sales representatives. Through their careers, product category managers are responsible for monitoring sales and maintaining professional relationships to stay informed of market trends.

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide job outlook information specifically for product category managers; however, the BLS reported that wholesale and retail buyers in general, except those for farm products, were expected to experience a 6% employment increase from 2018-2028. According to May 2018 salary data from the BLS, the median annual salary for wholesale and retail buyers was $57,340.


Product category managers may demonstrate occupational aptitude and increase employment opportunities by earning professional certification. The Category Management Association offers the Certified Professional Category Manager (CPCM) designation. To earn certification, candidates must present the evaluation board with credentialing documentation and complete 15 learning programs in category management topics, such as shopper behavior, basic business solutions and retailer economics.

Those interested in becoming product category managers should pursue a bachelor's degree in marketing, business or a related study. They may also consider earning voluntary certification in order to increase their credibility and thereby their job potential.

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