CK Logo

How to Become a Purchasing Manager

The purchasing department of any organization oversees the general purchases and any other activity related to buying materials or products for the organization. Every business needs to make purchases of goods and equipment for it to continue running and being viable. A purchasing manager oversees the operations of the purchasing department.

The purchasing manager, and the purchasing department as a whole, are crucial in facilitating the organizations' overall operation. So, the importance of having an effective purchasing or procurement department in an organization cannot be overemphasized.

If you are interested in the best business careers, then consider learning purchase management. It will prove fruitful for you. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of a purchasing manager as of 2018 was $125,630.

Additionally, there is a demand for purchasing managers across all industries. So, learning and pursuing a career in purchase management can be a great and successful career opportunity.

Keep reading to find out what it takes to become a purchasing manager, the available opportunities, salary, and job outlook.

What Is Purchasing Management?

Purchasing management is the management that oversees or coordinates the general aspects of the procurement and related sections of an organization. Purchasing management includes supplier management, cost and cost reduction management, and slow down management.

This management department is responsible for planning and the buying of materials, products, and services for an organization or retailers. The managers are expected to buy the best quality products for the lowest possible price.

In the planning phase, the needed goods and services are sought out, this is followed by price and service negotiation. Then, finally, the product is bought and finalized when all the parties involved are satisfied. In large organizations, purchasing managers head the procurement team and perform several other administrative tasks.

What Does a Purchasing Manager Do?

In a nutshell, a purchasing manager is the purchasing or procurement representative of an organization. They are also known as the purchasing director or supply manager. A purchasing manager's duties lie in managing the work of the purchasing department and buyers.

They are responsible for all stages of the buying and reselling process. They research, plan, and organize the purchase process of products, services, and materials for wholesalers and organizations. They are also expected to follow industry trends and make contacts to increase their quality of level purchasing.

One of the primary roles of a purchasing manager is to negotiate with vendors and suppliers. They ensure the best price for products and services for their businesses.

The role of a purchasing manager is vital in an organization's overall operations. While duties usually vary depending on the industry and size of the business, we’ve put together a list below of some of the most important duties of a purchasing manager.

Network and Attend Industry Meetings

One important aspect of the procurement industry is staying up-to-date on the new products and services in the market. So, as a purchasing manager, it is your responsibility to attend seminars and conferences in the industry you work for.

You are expected to learn about the industry trends to eventually help plan the purchasing of services and products. Customizing your organization's needs on the basis of industry trends is very important for overall success.

While attending industry meetings you are also expected to network and connect with your fellow colleagues. Many suppliers often attend these workshops to advertise their products. You can network with suppliers to build a rapport in order to ultimately get a potential supplier for your organization.

Negotiate Contracts

The purchasing manager needs to find the best deals and suppliers, to achieve this you will need to negotiate with suppliers. Usually, there are many suppliers for one product and you have to ensure that you are getting the best price. You will have to negotiate contracts and work out agreements with the suppliers. You are also expected to evaluate suppliers and the terms and conditions of the contract.

This includes the amount and the deadline the timeframe the goods will be delivered in. Sometimes you will also be expected to create a contract for the employees needed to facilitate the exchange. You will also be responsible for training these employees.

Establish Standards for the Procurement Team

As the team leader of the procurement department, you are responsible for setting the guidelines and policies. You are required to make policies that will make processes productive. The policies should also help to ensure that procurement professionals uphold ethical standards while dealing with suppliers.

You are also responsible for setting guidelines regarding the time frame of the entire transaction process. You will convey the rules to decide when to get price quotes and when to accept bids. You will also set guidelines to help understand where acceptable bids are permitted from. Overall, purchasing managers provide guidelines on which suppliers to give the tenders to.

Ensure the Effective Purchase and Delivery of Products

Procurement doesn’t end with simply procuring the products and services, as the purchasing manager, you will oversee all aspects of the purchasing process before finalizing deals. You must assess the supplier and their ability to deliver the desired quality products with the agreed timeframes. You have to ensure all these aspects of the transaction are met before even signing a contract or making an order.

Keep up with the Organization's Sales Record and Inventory Level

A purchasing manager is also responsible for the organization’s bookkeeping. You are expected to study and understand the sales pattern and record the inventory levels of current stock. One way to succeed in this duty is by taking the best free online bookkeeping courses.

Essential Purchasing Manager Skills

To successfully perform the duties of a purchasing manager, you must possess vital experience as a buyer or purchasing agent. Below are some of the main skills required for this profession.

Organizational Skills

The job of a purchasing manager is quite demanding and full of activity, you need to have the skills to organize yourself to be effective, accurate, and efficient. While this is a skill that is applicable to almost any profession, a purchasing manager must be extremely organized as they manage many tasks and processes simultaneously.

Numeracy and Data Analytics Skills

As a purchasing manager, you will have to deal with the financial aspects of procurement or resale. You will need to be numerically savvy. You can learn this management skill by taking some of the online management courses available.

Skills in numeracy and data analytics will help you understand and manage the purchasing process better. You will work with numbers and make calculations when buying goods and calculating pay for orders.

Leadership Skills

As a purchasing manager, you will be in charge of the procurement and purchasing team. You will be responsible for managing and leading those teams. So, having leadership skills is very important.

You are also expected to train employees and to lead meetings where company purchasing guidelines and needs are discussed. You don't have to be a born leader to succeed in this field. But you can take courses to learn the top leadership skills. You can also take courses to learn procurement to excel in this career.

Good Business Sense

This management profession is based completely on having a good business sense. To succeed in this career you need to have the business skills required to close the best deals. You will need to find the best products to purchase for your company all while adhering to the current industry trends.

Overall, you will need to strike the best deal/contract with the supplier. You can acquire these skills by learning business administration.

Purchasing Manager Salaries and Job Outlook

The average salary of a purchasing manager in the US is $98,889 per year, however, the top 10 percent of managers can make over $144,000.

The average job outlook in this profession is currently at one percent over 10 years. Although, according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, as of 2018, the job growth is expected to increase by four percent by 2028. The top three cities with the highest salaries for purchasing managers include the following:

  • Seattle, WA - $110, 711
  • New York, NY - $106,834
  • Denver, CO - $106, 140

How Long Does it Take to Become a Purchasing Manager?

The time it takes to become a purchasing manager is dependent on how long you can commit to learning. In general, it will take around six to seven years to become a purchasing manager.

You will first need to get a four-year bachelor's degree in a business-related field, then undergo on-the-job training for at least two years to obtain the relevant work experience.

Even if you start with on-the-job training, it would still take you around five years to finish the training. Some companies require a master's degree in the field which would take even longer.

How to Become a Purchasing Manager: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are different ways to succeed in this career. To become a purchasing manager, you could start as an assistant while working your way up as you acquire the necessary certifications, or you can start with education or management training.

For some jobs, employers may need you to have qualifications and technical knowledge about their industry. Whereas, some don't mind what you have studied as you will be provided with on-the-job training. Let’s assume you have decided to start by getting your education first, follow the steps below to start a career as a purchasing manager.

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Business

To begin you should get your bachelor's degree in economics, business administration, or other related courses. You can even choose to get an online business degree if you prefer. If you study business administration, you will be taught the most common functions and components of businesses and how they work.

You'll learn about finance, supply chain management, sales, etc. Having a bachelor's degree is enough for you to apply for an entry-level position in purchasing. This will eventually pave the way for a purchasing manager position.

Step 2: Get Employed

Once you get a Bachelor's degree you will need to start working. You can apply for jobs in the business field. We recommend applying for a job as a purchasing agent or an assistant buyer. This is where you will be able to garner the experience and training needed to move into a management position.

Step 3: Get Trained

No matter the level of your formal education, you will need to learn the basics of business, your training will cover this. Most companies undergo in-house training to prepare their new employees.

The training programs can last for one to five years depending on the company. You will undergo specific training related to becoming a purchasing manager. You will learn concepts such as merchandising, invoicing, inventory management, and sales supervision.

Step 4: Get Certified

Once you've got your bachelor's degree and you have gained experience for at least three years, you become eligible to become a Certification Professional in Supply Management (CPSM).

A CPSM certificate shows evidence of your purchasing skills in problem-solving and negotiation. Having certification will open many lucrative doors for you.

Step 5: Get a Master’s Degree

A master's degree is necessary to improve your chances of climbing up the ladder to the position of purchasing manager. Some companies require you to have a master's degree to even qualify for the position. For those who can get a master's degree, we recommend getting it.

Some schools offer a master's program where you focus on the process of making purchasing decisions. They also focus on logistics and channel management, and negotiating contracts. Overall, with a master's degree, you can certainly succeed in this field.

Required Education to Become a Purchasing Manager

Most purchasing managers in the industry have a bachelor’s degree in business. You can, however, major in economics, business administration, or other related courses for your bachelor's degree. The majority of the professionals in purchasing management get their bachelor's in accounting or management.

You can also choose to advance in the field by earning a master's degree. Although bear in mind that this is not required. Although, a master’s degree will increase your chances of getting to the highest levels.

Best Programs and Courses to Become a Purchasing Manager

As mentioned to succeed in this management career you need to have a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field. Below are the two best university programs you can enroll in to succeed in this field.

Supply Chain Management

The University of Oklahoma has one of the most reputed business schools in the US. You can enroll in their Supply Chain Management degree and start your journey of becoming a purchasing manager.


You can enroll in the University of Florida’s fantastic management degree and learn all about business management and administration.

Purchasing Management Certificates

Getting certified is very important if you want to climb up the ladder in purchasing management. Below are the available certifications to become a purchasing manager.

Certified International Advanced Procurement Professional(CIAPP)

This is an online certification program designed for procurement executives or managers who have had at least 5 years of experience. It is aimed at those who want to build strategic skills.

The program will last for 12 months, and it includes courses that will help you build expert skills. You will learn strategic sourcing, negotiations, category management finance concepts for purchasing, contract terms, and legal aspects in procurement. It also includes 4 courses in building advanced skills.

Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) and Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO)

CPPB and CPPO certificates can be earned by procurement professionals working for government entities. You can apply for these certifications after gaining a few years of practical knowledge in the field. You can build your career in the government sector using these qualifications.

Should You Become a Purchasing Manager in 2021?

The need for purchasing managers will never go away. Although the duties of a purchasing manager have evolved due to the new software and automation technologies.

You should become a purchasing manager if you want a career in supplier management, cost management, and contract management. To be successful you have to remain up-to-date on industry trends and be able to negotiate a good deal.


What is the job description of a purchasing manager?
A purchasing manager within an organization is responsible for buying goods and services needed by the organization. They do this by seeking reliable suppliers to supply quality products at the best price possible.
What are the different career options for a purchasing manager?
A purchasing manager can pursue many types of job options including the following: -Buyer -Procurement Director -Procurement Officer -Materials Manager
What is the difference between the Contract Manager and Purchasing Manager?
The duties of a contract manager and purchasing manager usually overlap. As a contract manager, you are responsible for understanding the conditions of the contract. You are also expected to provide contacts with suppliers and your organization. Purchasing managers also act as that contact.
What are some interview questions asked for the role of a purchasing manager?
-What is your industry market experience? -What is your process of evaluating the best supplier for your organization? -What are qualified product lists and uniform commercial codes? -Describe your management experience in the purchasing department?
Get matched to top bootcamps