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Become A Buyer

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Working As A 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

  • $62,567

    Average Salary

What Does A Buyer Do

A buyer is any person who contracts to acquire an asset in return for some form of consideration.

How To Become A 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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Buyer jobs

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Buyer Career Paths

Product Manager Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
12 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Global Supply Chain Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Equipment Operator Production Supervisor
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Senior Purchasing Agent Material Manager
Material Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Owner Merchandiser Merchandising Manager
Merchandising Director
9 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Program Manager Marketing Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Procurement Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Account Manager Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Project Procurement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Manager, Procurement
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Manufacturing Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Sourcing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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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

  • German

  • Japanese

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Cantonese

  • Korean

  • Russian

  • Carrier

  • Vietnamese

  • Arabic

  • Hindi

  • Turkish

  • Urdu

  • Tagalog

  • Polish

  • Swedish

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Buyer Education


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Real Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Buyer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Union, NJ Aug 09, 2016 $175,000
Buyer III The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 18, 2016 $135,000
Buyer III The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Apr 08, 2016 $135,000
Procurement Specialist Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 03, 2016 $124,530
Women's Buyer YVES Saint Laurent America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 15, 2016 $120,000
Buyer II The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 19, 2016 $118,371
Buyer-Men's Shoes Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jun 08, 2015 $115,000
Buyer, Women's Collection Calvin Klein, Inc. New York, NY May 09, 2016 $115,000
Buyer The TJX Companies, Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $115,000
Advanced Purchasing Coordinator (Electronics) Automotive Lighting LLC Auburn Hills, MI Nov 15, 2016 $108,576
Procurement Specialist Broadband Telcom Power Inc. Santa Ana, CA Jun 05, 2016 $107,266
Strategic Procurement Specialist Accenture LLP Houston, TX Aug 21, 2015 $100,300
Strategic Procurement Specialist Accenture LLP King of Prussia, PA Aug 21, 2015 $100,300
Procurement Specialist Grant Supplies Hackensack, Inc. Hackensack, NJ Aug 19, 2015 $71,282
Buyer Jhony USA Inc. New York, NY Nov 08, 2016 $71,282
Buyer III Dresser-Rand Company Olean, NY Aug 25, 2015 $70,179 -
Buyer (Purchasing Agent) Reckitt Benckiser LLC Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Dec 08, 2016 $70,000
Procurement Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Aug 29, 2015 $69,758
Buyer 2 Permasteelisa North America Corp Windsor, CT Sep 18, 2015 $69,534
Buyer 3 ASML Us, Inc. Wilton, CT Sep 25, 2016 $69,364
Specialist Procurement CBU II Kautex Inc. Troy, MI Feb 11, 2016 $69,000
Buyer A.M. Castle and Co. Oak Brook, IL Mar 09, 2016 $57,475
Buyer (Food Products) Dowon America, LLC Irvine, CA Nov 22, 2016 $57,304
New Projects Buyer Magneti Marelli of Tennessee, LLC Pulaski, TN Jan 12, 2016 $57,304 -
Buyer II North American Lighting, Inc. Paris, IL Jul 23, 2016 $57,000
Buyer II .04) North American Lighting, Inc. Paris, IL Jul 23, 2016 $57,000
Buyer CNH Industrial America LLC Burr Ridge, IL Aug 28, 2016 $57,000
Buyer Monsanto Company Saint Louis, MO Aug 13, 2015 $56,732
Procurement Specialist Omnivision Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 10, 2016 $56,400

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Top Skills for A Buyer


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Top Buyer Skills

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. New Vendors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Order & manage all office supplies/equipment for California & Texas branch.
  • Maintained record of purchase orders using Oracle based software.
  • Research, identify, and recommend new product sources and new vendors.
  • Leased and rented heavy equipment, vehicles, and spare parts.
  • Develop and implement purchasing and contract management instructions, policies, and procedures.

Top Buyer Employers

Buyer Videos

Retail Buyer: Job Profile

Food Buyer: Job Profile

Career Advice on becoming an Art Buyer by Dawn N (Highlights)