Certifications matter. They always have, and they always will.
They are the gold standard by which we measure our professional competence and commitment. They provide an objective, third-party validation of our skills and knowledge and give us the confidence that we are qualified to do the job we’ve been hired to do.
In the world of procurement, certifications can mean the difference between getting your dream job and being relegated to the sidelines. We exist in a highly competitive marketplace, and employers are looking for candidates with the right mix of skills, experience, and credentials.
By obtaining one or more of the available procurement certifications, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have what it takes to be a top-performing procurement professional. And that, my friend, is worth its weight in gold.
So, what do you need to know about procurement certifications? Let’s take a look.
What Is a Procurement Certification Program?
A procurement certification program is a voluntary, industry-recognized credentialing system that provides individuals with the opportunity to earn a credential by passing an examination that measures their knowledge, skills, and abilities in the field of procurement.
While there are different procurement certification programs, they all have one common goal: to improve the professional practice of procurement and foster a more qualified and competent workforce.
As technology and the global economy continue to evolve, the skills required to be a successful procurement professional are also changing. Certification programs help individuals stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices, giving them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing marketplace.
Most people pursue procurement certification for one simple reason: to improve their career prospects. The competition for procurement positions is fierce, and having a certification on your resume can help you stand out from the crowd.
Some employers require certification for certain positions, while others view it as a strong indication of a candidate’s commitment to their chosen profession. Either way, having a certification can only improve your chances of landing the job you want.
Other popular reasons for acquiring a procurement certification include:
- To improve job performance
- To earn a raise or promotion
- To broaden job prospects
- To keep up with industry changes
- To network with other procurement professionals
- To earn continuing education credits
Procurement is a broad field, and there are many different types of jobs that people with procurement certifications can have. Some popular job titles include:
- Purchasing Manager
- Purchasing Agent
- Procurement Specialist
- Supply Chain Manager
- Logistics Manager
- Inventory Control Manager
- Materials Manager
- Production Planning Manager
The specific job duties of each position will vary depending on the size and type of organization, but all procurement professionals share one common goal: to obtain the best possible price for the goods and services their organization needs.
Procurement professionals work in various industries, including technology, manufacturing, retail, government, and healthcare. No matter what industry you’re in, if your organization buys goods or services from suppliers, there’s a good chance you’ll find a job in procurement.
The tech industry is one of the most rapidly changing industries in the world, and procurement professionals play a vital role in keeping up with the latest trends and technologies.
As the demand for new and innovative technology increases, so does the need for qualified procurement professionals who can identify and procure the best products and services at the best possible price.
With a certification in hand, you’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of the many career opportunities in the tech industry.
Procurement Certification Overview: Time Commitment, Curriculum, and Projects
The time commitment for a procurement certification program will vary depending on your chosen program. Some programs can be completed in as little as six months, while others may take up to two years.
Before deciding on a procurement certification program, it’s essential to consider your career goals and the specific job you’re hoping to land. If you’re already working in the field of procurement, a shorter certification program may be a good option.
But if you’re just starting out or looking to make a career change, a longer program may be a better fit. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about the field and build up your skills before taking the certification exam.
No matter which program you choose, you can expect to learn about topics such as:
- Supply chain management
- Inventory control
- Purchasing and sourcing
- Contracts and negotiation
- Logistics and transportation
- Project management
- Quality control
- Risk management
- Data analysis
- Global trade
- Materials management
- Production planning
The specific curriculum for each program will vary, but most programs will require you to complete some combination of coursework, exams, and projects.
Once you’ve completed the program, you’ll be ready to take the certification exam. This multiple-choice exam covers the material you learned in the program.
You’ll need to pass the exam to earn your certification, but the exam is just one part of the process. To maintain your certification, some programs will require you to earn continuing education credits or complete other requirements on an ongoing basis.
Earning a procurement certification can open up a whole new world of job opportunities. And with the right certification, you’ll be prepared to take your career to the next level.
While there can be some variation between different procurement certification programs, they are typically divided into three main categories: entry-level, advanced, and professional.
Online Procurement Certification Programs: Advantages and Disadvantages
With the technological advances of the 21st century, it’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to online education. Online learning offers a flexible, convenient way to learn and is often more affordable than traditional programs.
Between work, family, and other commitments, finding the time to attend classes in person can be challenging. Online programs offer the flexibility to study when and where it’s convenient for you.
Compared to traditional programs, online procurement certification programs have several advantages:
- You can learn at your own pace: With online learning, you’re not constrained by the traditional semester schedule. You can complete courses at your own pace, and there’s no need to wait for the next semester to start.
- You can study from anywhere: As long as you have an internet connection and a computer, you can access your online courses from anywhere in the world. So, whether you’re at home, on vacation, or traveling for work, you can still make progress on your studies.
- You’ll have access to the latest information and resources: Since online courses are updated more frequently than traditional courses, you’ll always have access to the most up-to-date information and resources.
- You’ll have access to a global community of learners: When you study online, you’ll be part of a global community of learners. You can connect with other students worldwide and learn from their experiences.
While there are many advantages to online learning, there are also some disadvantages to consider:
- You’ll need to be self-motivated: Since there’s no instructor present in an online course, you’ll need to be self-motivated to stay on track. If you’re not comfortable working independently, online learning may not be suitable for you.
- You’ll need to be organized and disciplined: Without the structure of a traditional classroom, you’ll need to be organized and disciplined to successfully complete an online course. And, since there are no deadlines for assignments, it can be easy to procrastinate.
- You might feel isolated: Yes, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with other students from around the world. But chances are you won’t have the same interaction or connection that you would in a traditional classroom.
So, what’s the verdict? Is an online procurement certification right for you?
The answer depends on your learning style, goals, and schedule. If you’re self-motivated, organized, and disciplined, and you’re looking for a flexible and convenient way to learn, an online program might be a good fit for you.
Procurement Certifications Cost
The cost of procurement certification programs can vary depending on the type and length of program you choose.
Some certifications, like the Certificate Program in Public Procurement (CPPP), are free. Others, like the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) offered by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), cost between $1000 to $3000.
There are a few options to consider when looking to finance your procurement certification.
- Employer reimbursement: Some employers will reimburse employees for the cost of certification programs. So, check with your HR department to see if they have a reimbursement policy.
- Financial aid: You may be eligible for financial aid to help cover the cost of your certification program. To learn more, contact the financial aid office at the school you’re interested in attending.
- Scholarships: Several organizations offer scholarships to help students cover the cost of procurement certification programs. For example, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) provides scholarships for eligible individuals from countries taking the International Master in Public Procurement Management program.
Procurement Professional Career Outlook
The career outlook for procurement professionals is positive. According to Talent.com, the median salary for a purchasing officer is $67,005. And the demand for procurement professionals is expected to grow by -6 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Want to pursue a career in procurement? Here are some things to increase your chances:
- Be knowledgeable in a few areas so you can become a subject matter expert
- Build strong relationships with vendors
- Keep up-to-date on the latest technology
- Be proficient in Microsoft Office, especially Excel
- Be able to negotiate and haggle
- Have a firm understanding of the legal aspects of procurement
- Possess strong critical thinking skills
- Be able to work well under pressure
The job description for a procurement officer will vary depending on the company’s size. But, in general, duties may include:
- Researching and evaluating suppliers
- Negotiating contracts
- Coordinating with other departments to ensure timely delivery of goods
- Maintaining records of purchases and pricing
- Analyzing data to find opportunities for cost savings
- Preparing reports on spending
- Ensuring compliance with government regulations
Whether you’re just starting out in your procurement career or looking to take the next step, pursuing a procurement certification can give you the skills and knowledge you need to succeed.
Procurement is both an art and a science. And while hard skills are essential, soft skills are just as critical for success in this field.
While the basics of procurement are the same, there are some key differences between public and private sector procurement. For example, public sector procurement is governed by laws and regulations, while private sector procurement is not.
Supply chain management is the process of coordinating the flow of goods and services from suppliers to customers. Procurement is part of supply chain management that focuses of the acquisition of goods and services.