Purchasing Degree Programs for Aspiring Purchasing Managers

Learn about undergraduate and graduate degree programs for aspiring purchasing managers. Get details on admission requirements and the kinds of courses you'll take, and discover what careers you could pursue after graduation.

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Essential Information

Purchasing managers buy goods to resell to the public or buy products for their companies to use. Currently, few U.S. colleges and universities offer specific degree programs in purchasing, but aspiring purchasing managers might benefit from a bachelor's or master's degree in business administration. These programs often include courses that cover purchasing strategies, supply chain management and financial management.


Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration

A 4-year degree in business administration exposes students to most aspects of business, including purchasing, production, management, finance, marketing, sales and advertising. Some programs allow students to choose a particular area of study or concentration. Admission to a bachelor's degree program in business administration typically requires completion of a high school diploma or the equivalent, in addition to submission of SAT or ACT scores.

Program Coursework

Students enrolled in a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) or Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) program who wish to become purchasing managers will likely take several introductory and advanced courses in the following topics:

  • Purchasing
  • Purchasing and business management
  • Marketing management
  • Supply chain management
  • Strategic planning
  • International business
  • Advertising
  • Sales
  • Retailing

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Jobs in purchasing management are expected to increase by seven percent during the 10-year period between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that the median annual salary for a purchasing manager was $100,170 in 2012.

Continuing Education Information

The Institute for Supply Management offers a voluntary Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.) credential for bachelor's degree graduates with at least three years of purchasing and supply management experience. C.P.M. applicants also must pass an exam that includes sections on management, the purchasing process, supply environment and value enhancement strategies. Recertification is required every five years, during which a C.P.M. must earn at least 84 continuing education hours.

Master's Degree in Business Administration

Those seeking to obtain mid- to upper-level purchasing management positions are generally encouraged to pursue a master's degree. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a concentration in supply chain management may prepare one to further his or her career as a purchasing manager. Those with an MBA might have better opportunities as purchasing managers in larger companies or government agencies or offices.

Education Prerequisites

In many cases, a bachelor's degree is required for those who wish to enter an MBA program, though the undergraduate degree does not have to be in business. Prerequisites might include introductory courses in accounting, finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, management and statistics.

Program Coursework

Program coursework for an MBA program for those seeking to become purchasing managers or advance their careers in this field may include several types of management courses, including:

  • Operations management
  • Strategic management
  • Production management
  • Supply chain management
  • Management economics
  • Change management
  • Marketing management
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