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How Do I Become a Procurement Specialist?

A procurement specialist is responsible for acquiring the supplies, equipment, materials, property and services necessary for a business to run smoothly.
A background in finance and business is helpful to have before becoming a procurement specialist.
It is important to complete a 4-year-degree with a background in business, finance, or something similar, before becoming a procurement specialist.
A procurement specialist working with a colleague.
Article Details
  • Written By: Rachel Burkot
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 April 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A procurement specialist is the person within a company or organization who is responsible for acquiring the supplies, equipment, materials, property, and services necessary for the business’ existence. He or she works with the company’s financial department to secure the purchases, negotiate contracts with vendors, and implement cost-reducing methods. This person should be aware of the organization’s budget and strive to match his or her plans with the company’s financial situation. To become a procurement specialist, an individual should have a background in business, marketing or law.

Before a person can get this job, he or she should have experience in some sort of purchasing or procurement role. Many corporations will not hire procurement specialists fresh out of school with no experience. The person should have good communication and negotiation skills. He or she should have a fundamental knowledge of sales and how marketing works, and strong persuasive skills will help the procurement specialist to excel in his or her job.

A background in business and finance is also a good qualification to becoming a procurement specialist. The abilities to manage a budget and grow a business will be valued in a company that is seeking someone to fill this role. A person interested in this career should major in business or finance for an undergraduate degree. Several schools offer great programs that can be found using the Internet and by doing research on procurement programs and courses.

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Once a person is qualified to become a procurement specialist, after completing a four-year college program and gaining experience with procurement systems, he or she may look for work using the Internet or by asking at local companies. On the job, the procurement specialist will manage spending, provide pricing leadership, and deal with procurement contracts. People in this job are often paid well, making the field a competitive one, but also one that is in high demand thanks to the broadness of the industry and the many organizations that need such a specialist to help with purchasing procurement.

Many procurement specialists have a targeted area in which they work. Contracting officers promote life-cycle management for an organization and provide new, innovative services to clients. Policy analysts advise departments and officials on how to approach policies. Material management specialists organize the materials and plan the events for government programs. Real property specialists manage the life cycle of property and assets of a company or group.

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Discuss this Article

strawCake
Post 3

@Azuza - I'm guess a background in law would help when dealing with procurement contracts? Contracts are fairly tricky, so if looking over contracts is part of a procurement specialist job description, I can see why a law background would be necessary.

Anyway, regarding getting experience as a procurement specialist: I'm pretty sure there are other jobs in purchasing and procurement besides working as a specialist. I know someone who does purchasing for a grocery store, which sounds like it would be a good background for work as a procurements specialist. So, I'm sure it would be possible to get an entry-level job in the field and then work your way up to specialist.

Azuza
Post 2

@KaBoom - I think the whole problem of companies requiring experience but then not being able to get experience because you have no experience is a problem in a lot of fields. A friend of mine is a new nursing graduate, and she's having trouble finding a job right now because all the places in our areas want someone with experience.

Anyway, procurement sounds like an interesting field but I'm not sure exactly how a background in law would help. It sounds like you would definitely need business and people skills, but I'm just not seeing where the law thing would apply.

KaBoom
Post 1

I guess this is a pretty in-demand field, because I've seen lots of ads for procurement specialist jobs in my local classified section. As the article said, most of the companies want someone with a degree as well as a lot of experience, which doesn't exactly make sense to me.

If no one is going to hire a procurement specialist right out of school, how are they ever supposed to get any experience? Maybe some procurement specialist degree programs should consider offering some internships for their students. I know many places will count an internship as work experience.

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