How To Become a Purchasing Agent

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How Long Does It Take, What Degree Do You Need, and More

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


What degree do you need

Recommended degree level

Bachelor’s Degree

We did a survey to ask other Purchasing Agents what degree they had when they became a Purchasing Agent. Here are the results.
Bachelor’s Degree

High School Diploma

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

One of the most common questions that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become Purchasing Agents or what courses do I need to take.

We also asked Purchasing Agents what did they major in college or university and here are the top 5 most popular majors that came up.

Sales, Distribution, and Marketing Operations
General Merchandising, Sales, and Marketing Operations

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. A high school diploma is enough at many organizations for entry into the purchasing agent occupation, although large stores and distributors may prefer applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree program and have taken some business or accounting classes. Many manufacturing firms put an even greater emphasis on formal training, preferring applicants who have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in engineering, business, economics, or one of the applied sciences. Purchasing agents usually have at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience in the field. A master’s degree may be required for advancement to some top-level Purchasing agent jobs.

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How hard is it


You will need a considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge or experience to be a Purchasing Agent. For example, an accountant must complete 4 years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Careers in this difficulty category will usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training. These careers usually involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Similar careers include sales managers, database administrators, chemists, and art directors.

Related work experience required
4 to 6 years

4 to 6 years

2 to 4 years


Job training
Up to 1 month

Up to 1 month

1 to 3 months

3 to 6 months

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Recommended but not required

The Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, offered by the Institute for Supply Management, covers a wide scope of duties that Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products do. The exam requires applicants to either have a bachelor’s degree and 3 years of supply management experience, or for those without a bachelor’s degree, 5 years of supply management experience and the successful completion of three CPSM exams.

Skills required

We asked other Purchasing Agents if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Reading Comprehension what does this mean
2. Active Listening what does this mean
3. Speaking what does this mean
4. Critical Thinking what does this mean
5. Writing what does this mean

= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need certain know-hows to excel at your job. Purchasing Agents are generally very knowledgeable in these 5 key areas.

1. English Language what does this mean
2. Administration and Management what does this mean
3. Economics and Accounting what does this mean
4. Law and Government what does this mean
5. Customer and Personal Service what does this mean

Learn more about Purchasing Agents

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Related to Purchasing Agents Requirements

Purchasing Agents requirements, how to become Purchasing Agents, degree required to be a Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Agents license and certifications, majors to be a Purchasing Agent, is it hard to become a Purchasing Agent and how long does it take

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