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Top 10 Category Manager Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for category managers, including requirements, benefits, and career opportunities.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 17 min read

Certifications are important for a category manager in the job market because they demonstrate a commitment to professional development and a high level of knowledge and skill in their field. They also provide employers with an assurance that candidates have met certain standards and possess the necessary qualifications to do their job. Certifications can also help category managers stand out from other applicants by showcasing their specialized knowledge, which can be beneficial when trying to land higher-level positions or when negotiating salary. Finally, certifications may be required for certain roles and can open up new career opportunities.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Category Managers and explains how they can help to enhance a category manager's career.

What are Category Manager Certifications?

Category Manager Certification is a specialized training program designed to help professionals in any industry gain the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful category manager. A category manager is responsible for managing the assortment, pricing, promotion, and execution of products within a specific product category. Category managers are responsible for understanding consumer needs, developing strategies to increase sales and profitability of their product categories, as well as managing relationships with vendors and other stakeholders.

Category Manager Certification provides individuals with the necessary skills to develop actionable plans that drive sales, optimize margin performance and deliver results. This certification covers topics such as consumer insights, competitive analysis, pricing strategy, marketing tactics, negotiation strategies and promotional planning. In addition to these core competencies, participants learn how to create a comprehensive category management plan that includes forecasting future trends and responding quickly to changing market conditions.

This certification can help professionals gain an edge in the job market by providing them with the necessary skillset for success in this field. With this certification, individuals can demonstrate their ability to think strategically about product categories and develop effective plans that drive sales growth and profitability back into the business. It also gives organizations confidence that they are hiring qualified candidates who have been trained on best practices for category management.

Pro Tip: When considering a category manager certification, look for programs that have been accredited by an industry-recognized institution. This will ensure that the program you choose meets the highest standards of quality and provides you with the most comprehensive education and training available.

Related: What does a Category Manager do?

Top 10 Category Manager Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Category Managers today.

1. Certified Category Manager (CCM)

Certified Category Manager (CCM) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of category management. Category management is a strategic approach to retail and consumer goods marketing that focuses on managing product categories as distinct businesses, rather than individual products.

The CCM program consists of two parts: an online course and an examination. The online course covers topics such as category analysis, shelf management, pricing strategies, and promotional planning. The exam tests knowledge of category management principles and practices. It takes approximately 10 hours to complete the online course and another 4-6 hours to take the exam.

To get certified, you must first complete the online course and pass the exam with a score of 70% or higher. The cost for the CCM program is $1,995 USD plus applicable taxes. This fee includes access to the online course materials and one attempt at taking the exam.

2. Certified Strategic Sourcing Professional (CSSP)

Certified Strategic Sourcing Professional (CSSP) is a certification program offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). It is designed to provide professional recognition to those who have demonstrated mastery of the core competencies of strategic sourcing.

The CSSP certification requires applicants to have at least three years of experience in strategic sourcing, and to pass an exam that covers topics such as supplier selection, negotiation, contract management, and risk management. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and can be taken online or in person.

It typically takes about six months to complete the CSSP certification process. To get certified, applicants must apply for the program on ISM's website and pay a fee of $395 USD. Once approved, they must take the exam within one year and achieve a score of 70% or higher in order to pass. Upon passing the exam, they will receive their official certificate from ISM.

The cost of the CSSP certification includes the $395 USD application fee as well as any additional fees associated with taking the exam such as proctoring fees or travel costs.

3. Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM)

Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) is a professional certification awarded by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). It is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate mastery of the core knowledge and skills required of purchasing professionals. The CPM certification requires applicants to pass an exam that covers topics such as procurement, inventory management, supplier relations, and contract negotiation.

To become certified as a CPM, applicants must first meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having at least five years of full-time purchasing experience or equivalent education/training in supply chain management. Applicants must also have completed the ISM's Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management course or its equivalent.

The CPM exam is offered twice a year and takes about four hours to complete. To register for the exam, applicants must submit an application form and fee to the ISM. The cost of the exam varies depending on whether you are a member of ISM or not; it typically ranges from $400-$500 USD.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be awarded your CPM certification and can use it to demonstrate your expertise in purchasing management. The certification is valid for three years before needing to be renewed with additional continuing education credits or retaking the exam.

4. Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) is a professional certification program offered by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). It is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate mastery of supply chain management best practices. The CSCP designation is the most widely recognized and respected certification for supply chain professionals.

It takes approximately three months to complete the CSCP program, depending on how much time you can devote to studying. The program consists of three parts: an online course, an exam preparation course, and a final exam.

To get certified as a CSCP, you must first register with APICS and purchase the CSCP Learning System. This system includes access to online courses, study materials, practice exams, and other resources to help you prepare for the exam. After completing the online course and exam preparation course, you will be eligible to take the final exam.

The cost of becoming a Certified Supply Chain Professional varies depending on where you live and which version of the learning system you choose. The cost typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,000 USD.

5. Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)

Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) is a professional certification program offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in supply chain management. The CPSM credential is highly regarded by employers and organizations worldwide as a mark of competence, integrity, and commitment to supply chain excellence.

To become a Certified Professional in Supply Management, applicants must pass three examinations: Fundamentals of Supply Management, Strategic Sourcing and Supplier Relationship Management, and Legal & Ethical Responsibilities. Each exam is approximately three hours long and consists of multiple-choice questions. Applicants must also possess at least five years of professional experience in supply management or related fields.

The cost for the CPSM certification program varies depending on whether you are an ISM member or non-member. For ISM members, the cost is $1,295 for all three exams; for non-members, it’s $1,495. Additionally, there are fees associated with each exam that range from $150 - $200 per exam.

Once you’ve passed all three exams and met the experience requirements, you will be awarded your CPSM credential. You will then need to renew your certification every three years by completing continuing education units (CEUs) or retaking the exams.

6. Certified Supplier Diversity Professional (CSDP)

Certified Supplier Diversity Professional (CSDP) is a certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in supplier diversity and inclusion. The CSDP certification is administered by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).

The CSDP program is designed for professionals who are responsible for developing, implementing, and managing supplier diversity programs. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of supplier diversity, as well as best practices for creating successful supplier diversity initiatives.

It takes approximately three to six months to complete the CSDP program. To become certified, applicants must pass an online exam and submit a professional portfolio demonstrating their knowledge and experience in supplier diversity management. The cost of the program varies depending on the applicant's level of experience and qualifications. The fee includes access to all materials needed to complete the program, including online courses, webinars, study guides, practice tests, and more.

Overall, becoming a Certified Supplier Diversity Professional can be beneficial for those looking to gain recognition in the field of supplier diversity management or further their career opportunities in this area.

7. International Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Certification (IPSCM)

International Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Certification (IPSCM) is a professional certification program that provides individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the global purchasing and supply chain management field. The IPSCM certification is designed for professionals who want to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in this field.

The IPSCM certification is offered through the International Purchasing and Supply Chain Management Institute (IPSCMI). It takes approximately 12 months to complete the program, depending on how quickly you complete the coursework. The program consists of four modules: Introduction to Global Purchasing, Strategic Sourcing, Advanced Purchasing Strategies, and Supply Chain Management. Each module includes lectures, case studies, simulations, and assessments.

To get your IPSCM certification, you must pass all four modules with a minimum score of 70%. You must also have at least three years of experience in purchasing or supply chain management. Additionally, you must have a bachelor's degree in business or related field or equivalent experience.

The cost of the IPSCM certification varies based on your location and whether you are taking courses online or in person. Generally speaking, it will cost around $1,500-$2,500 USD for the entire program.

8. American Purchasing Society’s Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM)

The Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) is a professional certification offered by the American Purchasing Society (APS). It is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated mastery of the principles and practices of purchasing management. The CPPM is an internationally recognized certification that signifies a commitment to excellence in purchasing management.

The CPPM program consists of four courses that cover topics such as purchasing fundamentals, negotiation and contracting, supply chain management, and cost analysis. Each course must be completed within one year to receive the certification. The courses are available online or in-person, depending on the individual’s preference.

To become certified as a CPPM, applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements. Applicants must have at least five years of experience in purchasing management or related fields. They must also submit two letters of recommendation from current or former employers and complete an application form with their educational background and work experience information.

The cost for the CPPM program varies depending on how many courses are taken and whether they are taken online or in-person. Generally, it costs between $1,000-$2,000 for all four courses plus any applicable taxes.

Once all four courses have been completed successfully, applicants will receive their official CPPM certificate from APS within six weeks after completing their final exam. This certificate will serve as proof of their expertise in purchasing management and demonstrate their commitment to excellence in this field.

9. Institute for Supply Management’s Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)

The Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) is a certification program offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The CPSD certification is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the field of supplier diversity. It is intended to help organizations identify and develop qualified professionals who can lead their supplier diversity efforts.

The CPSD certification requires candidates to complete a three-day course, pass an exam, and meet certain experience requirements. Candidates must also demonstrate knowledge of supplier diversity principles and best practices through a portfolio review process. The three-day course covers topics such as understanding the business case for supplier diversity, developing effective strategies for managing diverse suppliers, and implementing successful programs.

The cost of the CPSD certification program varies depending on the type of membership held with ISM. For non-members, it costs $2,995 plus applicable taxes. For members, it costs $2,595 plus applicable taxes.

Getting certified as a CPSD typically takes between four to six months from start to finish. This includes completing the three-day course, passing the exam, submitting a portfolio review application form, and completing any additional requirements set forth by ISM.

10. Association for Operations Management’s Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM).

The Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) is a professional certification offered by the Association for Operations Management (APICS). The CPIM program is designed to provide professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage production and inventory activities within an organization.

The CPIM program consists of five courses: Basics of Supply Chain Management, Master Planning of Resources, Detailed Scheduling and Planning, Execution and Control of Operations, and Strategic Management of Resources. Each course must be successfully completed before moving on to the next one. In total, it takes about 250 hours of study time to complete the entire program.

To get certified in CPIM, you must first become a member of APICS. After that, you can register for the exam either online or through a local testing center. The exam fee is $695 USD per module (there are five modules in total). Once you have passed all five exams, you will receive your CPIM certification.

In addition to passing the exams, there are also other requirements that must be met in order to obtain the CPIM certification. These include having at least three years of work experience related to production or inventory management as well as attending an approved educational workshop or seminar related to supply chain management.

Do You Really Need a Category Manager Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual career goals and the position you are looking for. For some people, a Category Manager Certificate may be beneficial in helping them secure a job or gain additional knowledge in their field. For others, it may not be necessary as they may already have sufficient experience and qualifications.

For those who do decide to pursue a Category Manager Certificate, there are several benefits that come with having one. A certificate can help demonstrate that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage a category of products or services effectively. It can also provide evidence of your commitment to professional development and learning which is advantageous when applying for jobs or promotions. Additionally, the certificate will give you access to exclusive industry insights, resources, and networking opportunities that can help further your career.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a Category Manager Certificate depends on your individual goals and aspirations. However, if you are serious about pursuing a career in category management then having one could certainly give you an advantage over other applicants who do not have one.

Related: Category Manager Resume Examples

FAQs About Category Manager Certifications

Q1. What is a Category Manager Certification?

A1. A Category Manager Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates an individual's expertise in the field of category management. It is designed to recognize those who have achieved a high level of knowledge and proficiency in the area of managing product categories, such as pricing, assortment, promotion, and shelf layout.

Q2. What are the benefits of obtaining a Category Manager Certification?

A2. Obtaining a Category Manager Certification can help individuals gain credibility within their organization and industry, demonstrate their commitment to professional development and excellence, increase their job opportunities and career advancement potential, and allow them to stay current on the latest trends in category management.

Q3. How do I become certified as a Category Manager?

A3. To become certified as a Category Manager, you must complete an approved program that covers topics such as pricing strategies, assortment analysis, promotional planning and execution, category analysis and segmentation, store shelf layout optimization, data analytics for category management decisions, and more. After completing the program requirements successfully, you will be eligible to take the certification exam offered by leading organizations like PMA Global or ICSC International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Q4. What are the prerequisites for becoming certified?

A4. Generally speaking there are no specific prerequisites for becoming certified; however it is recommended that applicants have at least three years of experience working with product categories in retail or consumer goods industries prior to enrolling in a certification program. Additionally some programs may require applicants to hold certain qualifications such as an undergraduate degree or related professional experience before they can be accepted into the program.

Q5. How long does it take to complete a Category Manager Certification Program?

A5. The length of time required to complete a certification program varies depending on which program you choose to enroll in; however most programs require between 6-12 months of study time before taking the certification exam at the end of the program period.