Purchasing Certification Programs

Sep 10, 2019

A purchasing certification is a professional certification given to purchasing and supply chain professionals by industry organizations. Continue reading for an overview of the qualifications, educations and experience for certification, as well as job growth and salary info for a few career options for certified professionals.

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There are many certification options available for purchasing professionals, offered through three major organizations. Each organization has its own requirements for certification, so this information will help you decide which certification may be the right one for you.

Essential Information

Aspiring purchasing professionals can eventually qualify for one of several types of professional certification. Professional organizations sponsor several certification programs for those who work in both the public and private sectors. The certifications show tenure in the purchasing industry as well as education, ethics and experience.

Certifications CPSM CPPB CPP
Certifying Body Institute for Supply Management Universal Public Procurement Certification Council American Purchasing Society
Requirements 3 years experience and bachelors degree or prior work experience Combination of education and work experience Pass online courses, obtain letter of reference and have prior consulting experience
Testing Pass three exams Pass exam Pass Exam

Institute for Supply Management

Founded in 1915, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is an industry organization that conducts research, promotes education and provides ongoing information to the purchasing industry. New purchasing professionals become eligible for one of ISM's certification programs after at least three years of full-time employment.

The Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)

The CPSM is a professional credential that indicates a person has both significant knowledge and experience in the purchasing management industry. To earn the CPSM certification, a purchasing professional must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, work for three years as a supply management professional and pass three certification exams.

Certified in Supply Management (CSM)

The ISM created the CSM designation to allow purchasing professionals who do not hold a bachelor's degree to earn professional certification. According to the Institute for Supply Management's website, the certification exam for both the CSM and CPSM covers the same body of knowledge (www.ism.ws).

American Purchasing Society

The American Purchasing Society began operations in 1969 and provides educational and certification opportunities for those in the purchasing profession. Certification requirements include subscribing to the organization's codes of ethics and conduct, completing proprietary coursework, and in most cases, obtaining letters of reference from suppliers.

Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP)

The CPP designation certifies that a purchasing professional has documented education and experience in the purchasing profession. The application also requires evidence of a candidate's financial responsibility as well as references from colleagues and business associates. CPP candidates must also complete several online courses offered by the American Purchasing Society.

Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM)

Those who have experience in purchasing management can become eligible for the CPPM designation. Earning the credential requires the applicant to already have the CPP designation or to earn that credential at the same time as applying for the CPPM. A CPPM candidate needs to document his or her management experience and pass a certification exam that tests his or her understanding of business and management issues.

Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant (CPPC)

The CPPC designation is for purchasing professionals who offer third party consulting or educational services. To apply for a CPPC designation, one must already hold the CPP credential, have experience in consulting and pass the certification exam with a score of at least 85%.

Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC)

The UPPCC offers certification programs for purchasing professionals who work in the public sector. Criteria for certification include a combination of formal education, the completion of procurement/purchasing coursework and work experience.

Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB)

A CCPB candidate must be able to document significant work experience, education and specialized purchasing coursework before sitting for his or her exam. The amount of education, coursework or work experience required for certification varies. Those who hold a graduate degree are only required to have two years of work experience, while those who hold a high school diploma must have at least five years of employment in the areas of procurement or purchasing.

Certified Public Procurement Officer (CPPO)

CCPO candidates must either hold the CPPB designation or have a bachelor's or graduate degree, and as with the CPPB designation, the exact requirements vary according to an applicant's work experience and level of education. In addition, CCPOs must have work experience as procurement managers.

Career and Salary Information

While overall employment growth for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents is only expected to decline six percent from 2018-2028, a slower than average pace, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the agency reported that those industry specific jobs may grow at a different pace. (www.bls.gov).

The BLS reported that in May 2018, purchasing managers earned an average salary of $125,630, and the top-paying industry was oil and gas extraction industry. The states with the highest levels of employment for purchasing managers were California, Texas, Illinois, New York and Florida.

Purchasing agents may choose from a number of certification options from either the Institute for Supply Management, the American Purchasing Society, and the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council. While certification is not mandatory, it provides proof of tenure, experience, ethics and knowledge of the field and can help with your employment prospects.

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