How to Become a Purchasing Manager:
The Definitive Guide

People who are detail-oriented and love working out a deal to help their company will do well in the role of Purchasing Manager.

As a Purchasing Manager, expect to spend your days speaking to different departments, companies, sellers, and more to negotiate sales for products and services.

Those who enjoy multitasking and are good with money will do the best in this career.

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Job Description

To be a good Purchasing Manager, you’ll need to have communication skills that will help you negotiate sales with buyers, sellers, and producers to keep up with company needs and goals.


Expect to speak to many different types of people and handle more than one account at a time as you:

  • Coordinate activities for buying, selling, and producing products
  • Hire and train new Purchasing Managers
  • Research potential suppliers
  • Meet with vendors
  • Analyze pricing
  • Negotiate with other companies
  • Uphold company values


Typically in the United States, a Purchasing Manager will make $125,716 on average each year.

Which breaks down to $2,417 each week and $60 an hour for full-time employees.

This can vary for some Purchasing Managers due to education, experience, and training.

When just beginning your career in this field, expect to make a salary closer to $67,620 yearly.

Most new Purchasing Managers can expect a weekly paycheck of $1,300 which comes out to $32 an hour.

Those who are at the top of their career can expect a yearly salary of over $150,000 in some cases.

Depending on the size of the company you work for and the area in which you work, your salary can vary drastically.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $134,590


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Delaware- NA -
District of Columbia$150,900
New Hampshire$141,430
New Jersey$175,700
New Mexico$112,520
New York$157,330
North Carolina$124,610
Rhode Island$135,270
South Carolina$114,940
South Dakota$121,740
West Virginia$126,980
Puerto Rico$72,920

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $175,700.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $175,700
Colorado - $164,090
New York - $157,330
District of Columbia - $150,900
Massachusetts - $148,170
*Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become: Step-by-Step

Step 1Earn a Degree

The first step when looking into work as a Purchasing Manager is to earn a bachelor’s degree.

This type of degree can be found at local universities as well as some online education systems.

Whether you are considering studying at home or afar, you’ll want to complete a degree that is in business management, business administration, finance, or operations management.

Each of these degrees will provide the skills needed to handle a career as a Purchasing Manager.

It will be important to take courses that focus on business relations, networking, communication, and even some more technical skills like computers, writing, and psychology.

Step 2Find a Job

Once you earn your degree, you should jump right into finding the career you’ve been waiting for.

It may start with you applying to entry-level positions, but those can soon promote you toward a full-on Purchasing Manager with experience and time.

These positions can be found online or through local manufacturing or government businesses that are hiring.

Take the time you are working this job to learn negotiation skills, decision-making, and networking.

You will likely need to complete some on-the-job training before you can work by yourself in the role of a Purchasing Manager.

You’ll learn business practices and ethics through your training, which may even consist of shadowing a senior Purchasing Manager and watching them do what they do daily.

This can take anywhere from three to five years.

Step 3Become Certified

The Institute for Supply Management offers incredible certification for Purchasing Managers.

To qualify, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree, plus three to five years of experience in the field.

Luckily, you have been working toward that and are now ready to see what certification can do to boost your career.

With the Institute for Supply Management, you can earn the Certified Professional in Supply Management title.

This credential is recognized across many industries and carries quite a bit of weight for a Purchasing Manager.

To earn this certification, you will need to complete and pass an exam.

It can cost anywhere from $495 to over $3,000 to complete the steps required to earn certification.

Once you pass the exam, you will be certified as a Certified Professional in Supply Management which you will need to reapply for every three years.

Step 4Gain a Masters Degree

Some employers require that a Purchasing Manager obtain a master’s degree to go forward in their career.

Your master’s degree should be in business and requires about two more years of higher education.

Throughout your master’s degree, you will likely learn more in-depth knowledge to complete business transactions and understand the laws of business.

While studying, it is important to continue with your day-to-day career as a Purchasing Manager.

Learning and growing in this way will allow you to take on some top positions in many businesses around the world.

Step 5Continue Learning

There is never an end to how much you can learn as a Purchasing Manager.

That is because businesses change and modify their selling, buying, and production power every year.

This is why it is important to continue growing with your company.

You can do this by attending conferences, and trade shows, and working with others in the industry to help guide you toward success.


A bachelor’s degree is your first step toward working in your dream career as a Purchasing Manager.

This type of degree can be found at any local university or college around the country and many can be done throughout the year.

Expect to take on business-related programs such as business management, finance, business administration, and even operations management as your main knowledge base.

Any of these programs will give a good base when considering a role as a Purchasing Manager.

Some of the courses that you will want to take in college include:

  • Statistics
  • Accounting
  • General Economics
  • Purchasing

Through any of these bachelor’s degree programs, you will learn economic and operational skills to help guide you toward success in your career.

It should take you about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree and you can do so online or in person.

Once you have some experience and success in the field of business as a Purchasing Manager, you may want to consider a master’s degree.

This type of degree is advanced and will help you gain top positions in the field.

Some employers may even require that you take on a master’s degree to gain promotions and raises.

Many schools across the country offer master’s degrees in business, acquisitions, and management.

The type of Master’s degree you choose is up to you, but you will want to make sure that it is relevant to the field.

Ensure that you are getting the most out of your education by taking classes that include:

  • Business Assessment
  • Government Contracts
  • Logistics and Channel Management
  • Procurement Law

A master’s degree will require another two years of your time, and you should also be able to find some great programs online or at local colleges.

In total, it will take anywhere from 4 to 7 years to complete your education to take the top positions as a Purchasing Manager.

Video About The Career

Licensing & Certification

After many years of success as a Purchasing Manager, you are ready to complete some credentials that help you gain respect and knowledge in the career.

The best way to do that as a Purchasing Manager is to become certified.

One of the most popular certifications for a Purchasing Manager is the Certified Professional in Supply Management certification given by the Institute for Supply Management.

This certification will cost anywhere from $495-$3,000 to obtain and requires that you take classes to understand topics such as:

  • Sourcing
  • Supply chain strategy
  • Quality management
  • Logistics and material management
  • Risk and Compliance
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Legalities

To be eligible for this certification, you will need to have at least three years of experience as a Purchasing Manager.

Then, you will take courses provided by the Institute for Supply Management.

After finishing these courses, you will be prepared to complete an exam.

The exam consists of three parts, supply management core, supply management integration, and leadership and transformation in supply management.

Each section is over 150 questions and will require multiple hours of concentration.

Schedule your exam and complete the multiple choice and written questions to be on your way toward certification.

You can take the exam online at home or through a local company, depending on what you are more comfortable with.

Once you pass, you will be given a certificate to show that you have the Certified Professional in Supply Management credential and can wear it proudly behind your name.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Professional Purchasing Certification which showcases those who demonstrate the skills needed to implement and improve purchasing power in their company.

For this certification, you will also need to complete an exam and provide proof of experience in the field.

Both exams will need recertification every three to five years.

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

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Job Outlook

The outlook for a Purchasing Manager over the next decade is not that great.

It looks as if this career will decline by about 6 percent over the next ten years.

This does not mean that there won’t be any job openings, as there should be about 45,000 new openings each year, just not as many as in previous years.

These openings will be due to the need to replace workers who have retired or transferred to other careers.

While the career outlook is not positive, that does not mean that you won’t have the opportunity to work in your dream career.

Employment Growth Projection: 6%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 3,400 jobs.

Purchasing Manager: Interest Over Time

Should You Become a Purchasing Manager?

Overall Satisfaction: High

Overall Satisfaction

Most Purchasing Managers find that their career is satisfying.

The reason for this is that they believe their role is fairly compensated and the hours are balanced nicely.

The money made working as a Purchasing Manager is adequate, plus there is a nice work/life balance that you don’t find in many other careers.

Some believe that their skills weren’t used appropriately in their career, and that made it less satisfactory.

However, all in all, the career of a Purchasing Manager is a highly rewarding role.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

Working as a Purchasing Manager, you can expect the average yearly salary that you earn to be about $125,716.

This is a career in which you need to be highly trained and educated, so the salary will reflect that.

When you are just beginning your career as a Purchasing Manager, you should see a yearly salary close to $67,620 each year.

At the top of your game, your annual salary can be over $150,000 in some areas.

Job Growth Outlook: Medium

Job Growth Outlook

Unfortunately, the job growth outlook for a Purchasing Manager will be more of a decline over the next decade.

This will be apparent when the career declines at the rate of about six percent, which is much more than other careers in the same field.

However, don’t worry, as there will still be new job openings near you.

With retirements and employees moving to new locations or finding new careers, there will still be about 45,000 career opportunities over the next decade to work as a Purchasing Manager.

Education Duration: 4+ Years

Education Duration

In total, it should take about six to seven years to begin work as a full-time Purchasing Manager.

This is because you will need to attend a university that requires a four-year commitment and results in a bachelor’s degree.

Then, it is important to have on-the-job training where you will likely assist or shadow a senior Purchasing Manager.

Training can last anywhere from two to three years, depending on the depth of the role.

Any additional training or certification may require another year to a two-year commitment.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

Making it as a successful Purchasing Manager requires certain skills that you must portray each day.

These skills will include but are not limited to:

  • Analytical
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Market research knowledge
  • Risk management
  • Writing
  • Computer knowledge
  • Attention to detail
  • Strategic thinking
  • Adaptation
  • Ability to work in teams

It takes a lot of mingling and networking to become a successful Purchasing Manager, so having people skills and the ability to sell yourself and your company are a big part of this career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long do you have to go to school to become a Purchasing Manager?

Your education is important when you are considering working as a Purchasing Manager.

To find opportunities in this field, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

This type of higher education can take about four years to complete.

Then, you will likely commit another two to three years to training, interning, and shadowing senior Purchasing Managers to understand the ins and outs of the career.

Q. How much money does a Purchasing Manager make a year?

In your first couple of years as a Purchasing Manager, it is typical that your annual salary will be close to $67,620.

With experience and education, the average Purchasing Manager in the United States makes $125,716.

Those who are at the top of their career can make over $150,000 every year.

Expect to gain promotions and raises the longer you stay in this career.

Q. What kind of education do you need to be a Purchasing Manager?

In total, you should expect to spend four years in college to become a Purchasing Manager.

This will result in a bachelor’s degree, and provide you with enough knowledge in business to earn an entry-level role.

Once you have training and experience, which will take about another two years, you will be ready to be a full-on Purchasing Manager.

Q. Are Purchasing Managers in high demand?

As of right now and over the next ten years, there will be a decline in the demand for Purchasing Managers.

However, you can still expect to find job openings in areas where people are retiring, gaining promotions, or transferring to new careers.

Within the next decade, there should still be about 45,000 new job openings for Purchasing Managers.

Q. What skills do you need to have to be a Purchasing Manager?

When it comes to working as a Purchasing Manager, many skills are needed to succeed.

Some of these skills pertain to people pleasing, working with others, and negotiation.

Others will include more practical skills such as writing, typing, and computer knowledge.

It is important to have a basic understanding of business and math as well to do well in this career.

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