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A procurement professional is responsible for the purchasing activity of a business or organization. The primary role of a person in this job position is to purchase goods and services for the best possible combination of quality, service and price. There are three levels of procurement professionals: buyers, procurement officers and managers.
In order to become a procurement professional, candidates must have a combination of education and work experience in procurement. Anyone interested in working in this field should research the procurement association in his or her area. This organization provides courses and certification programs to become a recognized procurement professional. Certification from a procurement association is not mandatory but is an optional program that provides assurances to potential employers about academic credentials and training.
A buyer is an entry-level procurement professional. He or she is responsible for executing purchasing contracts, issuing purchase orders under a specific dollar value and reviewing change requests. The academic credentials required to become a buyer often include specific procurement courses offered at the post-secondary level. There is usually no experience requirement, because this is an entry-level certification.
A procurement officer is the most common type of procurement professional. He or she manages bidding, auctions, tenders and complex procurement transactions. Some procurement officers are responsible for contract negotiation, vendor management and issuing of large purchase orders. In a small organization, he or she might also complete all the tasks normally assigned to a buyer.
At this level, a minimum two-year post-secondary diploma is required, which must include purchasing-related courses. Many procurement associations require candidates to have at least one year of purchasing experience to qualify for admission into the purchasing officer certification program. At this level, he or she can be expected to take full ownership and responsibility for issuing purchase orders and signing purchase agreements on behalf of the company.
A procurement association will have different programs and required credentials for each type of professional, because the amount of responsibility and expectations are quite different for each level. All procurement professional are required to successfully complete a certification examination, as provided by the procurement association.
The procurement manger must have some post-secondary training in business as well as specific procurement-related courses. The expectations of work experience and level of responsibility are quite high, because this is often considered an executive position. Most procurement associations require completion of an additional examination or interview to receive this level of certification. There might also be a continuing education component attached to certification at this level.
@Azuza - I bet you could even work as a buyer while going to school to be a procurement officer. I know in some professions, the employer will pay for you to get your certifications. I work in insurance and my employer paid for me to get my license. I don't see why this field would be any different.
Work as a buyer sounds like it might be good for someone right out of high school. It sounds like the certification wouldn't take too long, and no experience is required!
I feel like there are so many jobs out there that require tons of experience! It's hard to find an entry level job these days. However, the job of buyer seems like it's entry level and could lead to further advancement in the field of procurement.