Wholesale Buyer: Educational Requirements for a Career in Buying

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a wholesale buyer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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Wholesale buyers purchase goods for resale to the general public. They make purchasing decisions by meeting with vendors, analyzing prices, and researching current trends. A high school diploma is often the minimum educational requirement.

Essential Information

Wholesale buyers purchase goods for a company or organization. Specifically, wholesale buyers purchase goods with the intention of reselling those goods; for example, grocery stores buy large quantities of vegetables from a grower to sell. Buyers must conduct research before deciding what to purchase. The education required for this job varies widely, from just a high school diploma up to a graduate degree, and on-the-job training is common.

Required Education Variable, depending on the desired position level; a high school diploma OR a bachelor's degree in business, economics or applied sciences OR a master's degree in purchasing or supply chain management
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (buyers and purchasing agents)
Median Annual Salary (May 2015)* $52,940* (for wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Educational Requirements to Become a Wholesale Buyer

Education requirements vary with the company in question, and some jobs are open to fresh high school graduates. A bachelor's degree in business, engineering, applied sciences or an industry-related field may be helpful to starting a wholesale buying career. As such, coursework may range from economics, finance and business modeling to quantitative analysis and engineering principles. Students may also consider taking courses in supply chain management and distribution, which may provide further insight into purchasing controls and price optimization.

Graduate Degrees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), some firms may prefer applicants who have completed a graduate certificate or degree program. Tactical and strategic business skills are required for purchasing management. Master's degree programs in purchasing, supply chain management and other closely related fields help students hone their analytical skills and understanding of contract negotiation and outsourcing.

Programs may also help aspiring wholesale buyers to understand inventory cycles, legal frameworks and international trade, including import/export laws and other regulations. They may also gain a deeper understanding of the role that price, quality, availability, reliability and technical support play in the purchasing process.

Career Information

Wholesale buyers may work for management companies, wholesalers and other organizations. The size of the business involved determines to a large extent the amount of responsibility for wholesale buyers. A smaller company, for example, may have only one wholesale buyer who buys all essential goods. On the other hand, large companies may have many buyers with each buyer specializing in a certain product line the company sells.

Salary and Career Info

The median annual salary for wholesale and retail buyers (except farm products) in May 2015 was $52,940, according to the BLS. The lowest 10 percent earned below $30,200, and the highest 10 percent earned above $95,590. Job opportunities for buyers and purchasing agents were expected to increase by 2% between 2014-2024, according to the BLS.

Wholesale buyers act on behalf of a company to analyze business needs and current trends to purchase goods for resale. Some wholesale buyers purchase a variety of goods, while others purchase items within a specific product line. A high school diploma is usually required and higher education or related coursework is helpful.

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