Purchasing Agents: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, OverviewLeave a Comment

Purchasing Agents

Purchasing Agents purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semifinished materials for manufacturing. May negotiate contracts.

Becoming One
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth


Job description

Purchasing Agents purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

  • Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
  • Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services.
  • Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Purchase the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
Read more about what does a Purchasing Agent really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.


Average salary
$67530 per year

Average hourly wage
$32 per hour

Purchasing Agents with little to no experience tend to make between $37080 and $47900 while the more experienced ones can earn over $82430 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $47 $98,560
NJ $39 $81,020
VA $37 $77,840
MD $37 $76,870
MA $36 $74,200

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Purchasing Agent is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Purchasing Agents are DC, NJ, VA, MD and MA.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Purchasing Agent is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Purchasing Agents what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Sales, Distribution, and Marketing Operations, General
General Merchandising, Sales, and Related Marketing Operations, Other
Read more about how to become a Purchasing Agent and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Purchasing Agent.

Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who wants job security and a good working condition
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Very good salary
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

65% of Purchasing Agents said they were satisfied with their job and 43% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Trevor Boylston, CSPM
Boston Scientific

I have been in Procurement since 2006 as a material coordinator, buyer, planner, and analyst supporting biotech & medical device organizations. I currently work as a Sr. Analyst Source & Procure supporting Supplier Diversity & Sourced Finished Device Purchases (SFMD). I have supported manufacturing and indirect procurement in prior roles.

My Typical Day

My typical day is mostly relationship management. This has been true across all roles I have held in procurement. Building solid relationships with internal stakeholders and suppliers is the key to being successful in this role. The tactical component, calculating inventory, processing orders, helping reconcile invoices, is much easier if you have solid relationships and open communication across your network of stakeholders.

Typically I spend part of my day on general tasks such as responding to emails & phone calls and ensuring that I am up to date on my training requirements. I spend tactical time, completing orders or working on invoices assigned for correction. I meet with vendors and planners to ensure supply continuity. In my Supplier Diversity role, I work with national group organizations such as the US Black Chambers, US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Diversity Alliance For Science, and the National Minority Supplier Development Council to ensure small and diverse businesses have the opportunity to bid for contracts, mentor small and diverse business owners, and support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives across my company. The procurement role requires focus and attention to detail. A misplaced decimal point or incorrect date for delivery can be costly.


For me, the biggest con of working as a Buyer in a biotech or med device role is the repetition. There is not much room for creativity in what you are purchasing. You can get creative with cost saving efforts and building the puzzle of fair & equitable contracts.


The pros have outweighed the cons in my career. I have had the privilege of working for managers who encouraged growth and exploration. Working in a procurement role gave me insight to departments across the company from Sales & Marketing to Facilities to Research & Development. It allowed me to have a better understanding of the overall operation of the company than I may have had working in a more siloed role. I was able to gain project management skills, work to develop and implement new programs across divisions & functions, be mentored by seasoned professionals, obtain professional certifications, travel for conferences, and finally find a segment of procurement that I am truly passionate about in Supplier Diversity.

Overall, purchasing is a great entry point to operations, supply chain, finance, and many other careers.

Advice to students interested in getting into Procurement

I would suggest students gain some project management, data analytic, and public speaking skills. Learn about sustainable supply chain and corporate social responsibility. There are some fantastic degree programs for supply chain management, but if you started down a different path, there are professional certifications like the CPSM certification from ISM that are widely recognized. Every organization needs procurement support whether you end up traveling the world selecting the latest fashion for a leading retailer, or negotiating long-term contracts for precious metals for a high end electronics manufacturer, there are so many places a career in procurement can take you.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Purchasing Agents

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Purchasing Agents job description, Purchasing Agents salary, Purchasing Agents information, what is the job of a Purchasing Agent like, pros and cons about Purchasing Agents, colleges and universities for Purchasing Agents, is Purchasing Agents the right career for me, careers in Business and Finance

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Area Field Person, Area Field Worker, Buyer, Contract Analyst, Contract Specialist, Contractor Buyer, Contracts Administrator, Contracts Manager, Equipment, Supplies, and Tools Purchasing Agent, Food Broker

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