How to Become a Procurement Specialist

Posted on September 10, 2014

In the world of supply chain management, qualified procurement specialists are essential for success. Procurement specialists are in demand in a wide variety of industries ranging from retail and manufacturing, to government and healthcare. The professionals in this role are relied upon to closely manage all vendor relationships while managing the order placement process. To be effective in this role, a procurement specialist generally should be highly detail-oriented. They should have a strong interest and understanding of the planning, forecasting, purchasing, price negotiating and tracking of a product through the flow of the consumer pipeline.

To pursue a career as a procurement specialist, it is recommended that applicants have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, as well as significant related experience and on-the-job training. Bachelor’s degrees with a primary focus in engineering, business administration, supply chain management, logistics, economics, or one of the applied sciences are considered to be the most appropriate.

Pursuing a master’s degree in any of these areas might also help enhance the opportunities available within the procurement career path, such as obtaining a higher level position, or a job with a larger organization. Also, participating in training and earning certification in contract negotiation or purchasing, as well as having an in-depth knowledge of the advancements in accounting software, can significantly benefit an individual’s success in a procurement specialist career.

Along with the educational background, the abilities most utilized within this career include evaluating suppliers and product quality, purchasing, analyzing and persuasively negotiating contracts. Procurement specialists tend to be excellenet communicators, and have strong math and computer skills.

One important role of the procurement specialist is to seek quality services or products to meet the needs and goals of their organization, and acquire them at an acceptable cost. They must thoroughly understand the policies, issues and risks that can accompany the procurement process and the ensuing steps in the supply chain. If these tasks can be accomplished successfully, the role of the procurement specialist can have a positive impact on the organization’s overall cost efficiencies and bottom line, validating the importance of their role.

While all procurement specialists focus on similar functions within their role, the environment in which they work can vary by company. Some positions, depending on the industry sector, require specialists to work at a desk and use a computer to accomplish their tasks, while others may require physical work and travel. Because the environment and credentials required for these varying sectors often differ, candidates are highly encouraged to seek entry-level purchasing experience within an area of their choice. In doing so, they can help enhance their overall opportunities and potential for a successful career within the industry.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, procurement specialists earned a median annual salary of $71,470 in May of 2015, and it projects a 4% increase in job growth through 2022.