What to Major in to Be a Buyer: Info for Students

The role of a buyer, or purchaser, is to search for services and products to resell to retailers or to the public. Find out the most common majors that train individuals to enter the field of retail and wholesale buying. View article »

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  • 0:03 Suitable Majors for…
  • 0:53 Educational Requirements
  • 1:31 On-the-Job Training
  • 2:00 Buyer Job Description

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Video Transcript

Suitable Majors for Becoming a Buyer

We discuss the different major options that aspiring buyers have, as well as the education requirements and on-the-job training that may be involved. Students can also get a detailed job description to see if this is the right career for them.

Buyers typically major in fields like business, supply management, or finance. These types of degree programs provide students with training in procuring, evaluating, selling, and negotiating merchandise sales at the wholesale and retail levels. For those interested in being a buyer for a specialty industry, such as technology or agriculture, degrees in areas related to these industries could prove beneficial. Double majoring or minoring is also an option to gain cross-training in multiple fields.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements may vary depending upon the employer. While the majority of employers do prefer applicants who hold a bachelor's degree, some employers hire candidates who possess a high school diploma, industry experience, and buying skills. Since experience can prove beneficial, choosing a bachelor's degree program that includes related internship training could help job candidates stick out among the competition. Students can also pursue certifications that are available to buyers, like the Certified Purchasing Professional certification or Certified Professional Public Buyer credential.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Merchandising and Buying
  • Merchandising Marketing, Sales, and Distribution
  • Retail Operations Management
  • Sales Operations

On-the-Job Training

Since buyers need to become familiar with how their employers do business, they usually spend at least a year training on the job. Buyers typically start out their training by checking inventory and invoices; assisting others with selling merchandise; and learning about markets, suppliers, pricing and commodities. After the initial training period, buyers begin taking on more tasks and responsibilities related to the field.

Buyer Job Description

Buyers determine what products a store will carry. On an average day, a professional buyer may keep track of sales records and inventories, research prices, locate suppliers, negotiate prices, read publications to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, conduct Internet research, check the sales activities of their competitors, monitor economic conditions, and predict what products and services appeal to consumers.

Some buyers specialize in purchasing farm products, whereas others buy products from either retail or wholesale markets. Buyers who work for medium- and large-sized businesses may specialize in procuring one or two lines of merchandise. Those who work for small stores may be responsible for procuring the store's entire inventory. Positions like assistant buyer, purchasing clerk, or trainee are common beginner roles for buyers.


Aspiring buyers would benefit from majoring in business, supply management, finance, or a related field or specialty field, such as agriculture. Graduates of these programs will be prepared to work as buyers and negotiate prices for businesses.

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