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What does a Procurement Specialist do?

Are you a smart shopper? Sometimes, there's more to it than meets the eye. You need to research alternatives, weigh the trade-off between quality and price, and negotiate with vendors. If those are things you think you can do well, then you should consider a career as a procurement specialist.

A procurement specialist is a person who is responsible for obtaining the goods and services an organization needs to function. This can include everything from office supplies to inventory. Obtaining things on time and at a competitive price can have a direct impact on an organization's profitability and performance. This is why becoming a procurement specialist can be a rewarding career.

Job requirements for procurement specialists

There are several job titles for people who have the responsibility to obtain goods and services for an organization's use. They may be known as procurement specialists, purchasing agents, or purchasing managers, among other things. Just as the title may vary, so may the particular prerequisites for the job, depending on the organization. You are likely to need at least a bachelor's degree, and a master's degree can enhance your chances at advancement or getting a procurement job with a larger organization.

Courses of study that can help prepare you for a career as a procurement specialist include general business classes, budgeting, accounting, logistics and negotiation. It is extremely helpful if you can gain some experience related to procurement, such as in a support role, before seeking lead responsibility for procurement.

Another way to enhance your career credentials is by obtaining certification from the American Purchasing Society. This organization offers designations for Certified Purchasing Professionals (CPP), Certified Professional Purchasing Managers (CPPM), and Certified Professional Purchasing Consultants (CPPC).

Career opportunities

Procurement specialists, purchasing managers or purchasing agents can be found in organizations of all sorts, including businesses, schools and government agencies. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows that the greatest concentration of these jobs can be found in the Washington, DC area, but because of the wide variety of organizations that need this function, you should be able to find career opportunities in most parts of the country. These opportunities remain widespread despite the fact that the decline in U.S. manufacturing and the emergence of the Internet could stunt employment growth in this field in the years ahead.

You may already know that smart shopping can save you money. If you pursue a career as a procurement specialist, you might also find that smart shopping can make you money as well.

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