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Become An Associate Buyer

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Working As An Associate Buyer

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Buyer Do

An Associate Buyer maintains and keeps records of the inventory and disburses the different materials as required by the departments or personnel. The Associate Buyer reports to the Buyer or Senior Buyer.

How To Become An Associate Buyer

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.


Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.


Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.


An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Associate Buyer jobs

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Associate Buyer Career Paths

Associate Buyer
Product Manager District Sales Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager Program Manager General Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Senior Buyer
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandise Planner Merchandising Manager
Merchandising Director
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandising Manager General Manager Account Manager
National Account Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Agent Operations Manager Account Executive
National Sales Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Buyer Senior Buyer Material Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Planner Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager
Procurement Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Planner Planning Manager Purchasing Manager
Project Procurement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager General Manager Account Executive
Regional Sales Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandising Manager Operations Manager Account Executive
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Material Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Manager, Procurement
11 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Merchandise Planner Planning Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Agent Office Manager Account Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Associate Buyer Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Mandarin

  • Chinese

  • Italian

  • Japanese

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Vietnamese

  • Russian

  • German

  • Polish

  • Yoruba

  • Carrier

  • Hmong

  • Hindi

  • Catalan

  • Armenian

  • Tamil

  • Filipino

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Real Associate Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate, Programmatic Buying-North America Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Mar 19, 2014 $110,000
Associate Buyer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Dec 10, 2016 $108,493
Associate Buyer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Jun 09, 2014 $91,875
Associate Buyer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Aug 23, 2010 $87,500
SR. Associate Buyer/Planner Life Technologies Corporation South San Francisco, CA Sep 09, 2014 $82,846 -
Associate Buyer MODA Operandi Inc. New York, NY Mar 21, 2016 $80,000
Associate Buyer Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation Lyndhurst, NJ Nov 15, 2010 $75,000
Associate Buyer-Retail Textile Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Aug 08, 2014 $71,282 -
Associate Buyer Saks & Company LLC New York, NY Sep 27, 2016 $70,000
Associate Buyer Saks & Company LLC New York, NY Aug 23, 2015 $70,000
Associate Buyer Valentino USA New York, NY Apr 13, 2015 $68,000
Associate Buyer Hugo Boss Fashions, Inc. New York, NY Apr 27, 2015 $67,600
Associate Buyer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Aug 04, 2015 $60,200 -
Associate Buyer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Mar 25, 2015 $60,200 -
Associate Buyer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Apr 08, 2015 $60,200 -
Associate Buyer Cache Inc. New York, NY Jul 18, 2011 $60,000 -
Purchasing Associate GK Trading LLC New York, NY Apr 11, 2015 $58,436
Associate Buyer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Aug 26, 2012 $58,240 -
Associate Buyer Francesca's Collections, Inc. Houston, TX Mar 09, 2016 $58,000
Associate Buyer, Supply Chain TRIS Pharma, Inc. Monmouth Junction, NJ Sep 15, 2016 $50,544
Associate Buyer C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc. Dayton, NJ Jun 10, 2013 $50,000
Associate Inventory Buyer L.L. Bean Inc. Freeport, ME Oct 01, 2010 $50,000
Associate Buyer Eminent Inc. Cerritos, CA Jun 01, 2013 $50,000
Associate Buyer TMW Merchants, LLC Fremont, CA Sep 09, 2016 $50,000
Associate Buyer-Men's Wovens Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Aug 30, 2015 $45,090
Omni Associate Buyer Macy's Merchandising Corporation New York, NY Oct 01, 2015 $44,637 -
Purchasing Associate East Coast Traders, Inc. Clifton, NJ Oct 15, 2009 $42,598
Associate Buyer Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Sep 09, 2014 $42,500

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Top Skills for An Associate Buyer


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Top Associate Buyer Skills

  1. Vendor Relations
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. Office Supplies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established and maintained vendor relationships, ensured timely merchandise shipments and monitored vendor contracts for compliance.
  • Analyzed inventory and consumption data in order to suggest reorder quantities and create Purchase Orders for Assigned vendors.
  • Negotiated contract terms and conditions with the awarded supplier for office supplies.
  • Team player in the creation of new merchandise and updating existing merchandise for the product line.
  • Handle, provide and acquire current accurate pricing for sales force, customer service and purchasing department.

Top Associate Buyer Employers

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