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Top 11 Purchasing Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top purchasing assistant certifications available and the benefits they offer.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for a purchasing assistant in the job market, as they demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has the necessary skills and knowledge required to be successful in their role. Certifications show employers that the individual has received formal training and has a comprehensive understanding of the principles and practices of purchasing. Additionally, certifications can help distinguish an individual from other applicants and make them more attractive to potential employers. They also indicate that an individual is committed to staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Purchasing Assistants and explains how they can help to advance a purchasing assistant's career.

What are Purchasing Assistant Certifications?

Purchasing assistant certification is a professional designation issued by the National Association of Purchasing Professionals (NAPP) that recognizes individuals who have achieved a certain level of knowledge and experience in the purchasing field. This certification provides evidence to employers that an individual has the skills necessary to work in the purchasing department. It also serves as a valuable benchmark for measuring competency and performance in the profession.

Purchasing assistant certification can help individuals demonstrate their commitment to their career, increase their job prospects, and improve salary potential. It also validates a person's knowledge of the principles and practices of purchasing, including cost analysis, financial management, negotiation tactics, contract law, supply chain management, inventory control, and other related topics. Furthermore, it can open up opportunities for advancement or specialization within the profession since many companies prefer to hire certified professionals. Finally, having this certification may give an individual a competitive edge when applying for promotions or higher-level positions within their organization.

Pro Tip: When purchasing an assistant certification, be sure to research the program to make sure it is accredited and provides comprehensive training. Additionally, look for programs that include hands-on experience and practice exams to ensure you are fully prepared for the certification exam.

Related: What does a Purchasing Assistant do?

Top 11 Purchasing Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Purchasing Assistants today.

1. Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP)

Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) is a professional certification offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). It is designed to help purchasing professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skill in the field of purchasing.

The CPP certification requires passing an exam that covers topics such as supply chain management, contract management, negotiation, and supplier selection. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately four hours to complete.

To get the CPP certification, you must first apply for it through ISM's website. You will need to provide proof of your educational background, work experience, and professional references. Once approved, you can register for the exam and pay the associated fees. The cost of the CPP certification varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of ISM; members pay $495 while non-members pay $695.

Once registered, you can take the exam at any Prometric Testing Center in your area. After passing the exam, you will receive your CPP certificate within 6-8 weeks.

2. 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 achieved a high level of knowledge and expertise in supply management.

The CPSM program consists of three levels, each with its own set of requirements. To become a CPSM, you must pass all three levels within five years from the date of your first exam.

Level One requires that you complete an online course and pass an exam. Level Two requires completion of two additional courses and passing another exam. Level Three requires completion of two additional courses and passing yet another exam.

It takes approximately 18-24 months to complete all three levels of the CPSM program, depending on how quickly you can complete the required courses and exams.

To get started, you must register for the ISM’s CPSM program and pay a registration fee. The cost varies depending on which level you are registering for; however, it typically ranges from $400-$600 per level. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exams or purchasing study materials.

3. Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM)

Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in the field of purchasing management. The CPM designation is awarded by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), an organization dedicated to the advancement of supply management professionals.

To become a CPM, applicants must meet certain educational and experience requirements and pass an exam administered by ISM. Applicants must have at least five years of full-time purchasing management experience, or three years of full-time purchasing management experience with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.

The CPM exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as purchasing strategy, supplier selection and evaluation, cost analysis and negotiation, inventory control, materials handling, logistics and transportation, quality assurance, risk management, legal aspects of purchasing, project management and financial analysis. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost of applying for the CPM certification is $495 for ISM members ($595 for non-members). This fee covers the application fee and the cost of taking the exam. Once certified, there is an annual maintenance fee of $95 for ISM members ($145 for non-members).

4. Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) is a certification program offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). It is designed to help professionals demonstrate their knowledge and skills in supply chain management, which includes planning, sourcing, manufacturing, logistics, and customer service. The CSCP program provides a comprehensive body of knowledge and best practices that are essential for successful supply chain management.

The CSCP program consists of three parts: an online exam, an online course, and a hands-on workshop. The exam covers topics such as supply chain strategy and design, global supply chain operations, customer relations management, inventory management, transportation management, warehousing and distribution operations, performance measurement and improvement strategies.

To become certified as a CSCP professional it typically takes about 6 months to complete the entire process. To get started you must first register for the exam with ASCM. Once you have registered you will be able to access the online course materials which include videos lectures and practice exams. After completing the online course materials you must then attend a two-day hands-on workshop in order to complete your certification process.

The cost of becoming certified as a CSCP professional varies depending on where you live but typically ranges from $1,500 - $2,000 USD. This cost includes registration fees for the exam as well as tuition fees for the online course materials and hands-on workshop.

5. Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS)

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) is a global professional body dedicated to promoting best practice, professionalism and integrity in the procurement and supply chain management industry. It was established in 1932 and has over 100,000 members in 150 countries.

It offers a range of qualifications that are recognised by employers worldwide. These qualifications are designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in their chosen field. The CIPS qualifications can be taken at various levels, from Foundation Level up to Professional Diploma level.

The length of time it takes to get a CIPS qualification depends on the level you are studying for. For example, if you are studying for the Foundation Level qualification, it typically takes around three months full-time or six months part-time. If you are studying for the Professional Diploma level qualification, it typically takes around 15 months full-time or 30 months part-time.

To get a CIPS qualification you need to register with an approved training provider who will provide you with all the materials and support needed to complete your studies. You will also need to pass exams set by CIPS at each stage of your studies in order to progress onto the next level.

The cost of getting a CIPS qualification varies depending on which level you are studying for and which training provider you use. Generally speaking, Foundation Level qualifications cost between £500 - £1000; Intermediate Level qualifications cost between £1,000 - £2,000; Advanced Level qualifications cost between £2,000 - £3,000; and Professional Diploma Level qualifications cost between £4,000 - £5,000.

6. American Purchasing Society (APS)

American Purchasing Society (APS) is an online membership-based organization that provides purchasing professionals with access to exclusive discounts, educational resources, and networking opportunities. It is the largest professional purchasing organization in the United States.

To become a member of APS, you must complete an application form and pay a one-time enrollment fee. The enrollment fee varies depending on the type of membership you choose; however, it typically ranges from $50 to $200. Once your application is approved, you will receive a welcome email with instructions on how to access your account and take advantage of all the benefits that come with being a member.

Once enrolled in APS, members have access to special discounts on products and services from over 500 vendors, as well as exclusive educational resources such as webinars and podcasts. In addition, members can network with other purchasing professionals through online forums and events hosted by APS.

The cost of membership depends on the type of membership chosen; however, most memberships are valid for one year from the date of enrollment. After one year has passed, members may renew their membership at a discounted rate or opt out altogether.

7. Institute for Supply Management (ISM)

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is a professional organization that provides educational resources and certifications for supply chain management professionals. It was founded in 1915 and is the oldest and largest not-for-profit association dedicated to supply chain management.

ISM offers four different certifications: Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM), Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD), Certified Professional in Production & Inventory Management (CPPIM), and Certified Professional Logistics, Transportation & Distribution (CPLTD). Each certification requires a certain amount of education, experience, and testing before it can be earned.

To get an ISM certification, you must first complete the required coursework or training program. Depending on which certification you are seeking, this can take anywhere from one to three years. Once the coursework is completed, you must then pass the applicable exam(s). The exams are offered twice a year at various locations throughout the US.

The cost of getting an ISM certification varies depending on which one you are pursuing. Generally speaking, it costs between $500-$1,000 to register for the exam and up to $2,000 for additional study materials. The total cost of obtaining an ISM certification can range from $2,500-$5,000 depending on your individual situation.

8. National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM)

The National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) is a professional organization that provides education, certification, and networking opportunities to purchasing professionals. NAPM was founded in 1915 and has more than 30,000 members worldwide.

To become a member of the NAPM, you must have at least three years of purchasing experience or a degree from an accredited college or university. Membership fees vary depending on your level of experience.

Once you are accepted as a member, you can take advantage of the various benefits that the NAPM offers. These include access to exclusive events such as conferences and seminars; discounts on products and services; networking opportunities with other purchasing professionals; and access to job postings.

You can also pursue certifications through the NAPM. The Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) is the most popular certification offered by the association. To obtain this certification, you must pass three examinations that cover topics such as supply chain management, procurement processes, and supplier relationships. It typically takes about two years to complete all three exams. The cost for this certification is approximately $1,500 USD plus any applicable exam fees.

Overall, membership in the NAPM can be beneficial for those who are looking to advance their careers in purchasing management or supply chain management.

9. American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS)

The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) is a global nonprofit organization that provides education, certification, research, and networking opportunities to individuals and organizations in the fields of operations management, supply chain management, inventory control, and logistics. APICS has been helping members succeed since 1957.

It takes about two to three months to get certified by APICS. The first step is to register for the exam with APICS. After registration is complete, you will need to prepare for the exam by studying the material provided by APICS or taking an approved preparation course. Once you feel ready to take the exam, you can schedule it at an approved testing center.

The cost of getting certified by APICS depends on which type of certification you are seeking. The Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) exam costs $495 for members and $695 for non-members; the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) exam costs $695 for members and $995 for non-members; and the Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM) exam costs $795 for members and $1,095 for non-members.

In addition to these fees, there may be additional fees associated with taking a preparation course or retaking an exam if necessary.

10. International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM)

The International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM) is an international nonprofit organization that promotes the professional development of purchasing and supply management professionals. It was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The IFPSM's mission is to promote the profession of purchasing and supply management, provide a forum for exchanging information and ideas among its members, and to facilitate the development of standards for the profession.

It takes approximately 6-12 months to become an IFPSM member. To become a member, you must first fill out an application form on the IFPSM website. Once your application has been approved by the IFPSM Board, you will be required to pay an annual membership fee which varies depending on your country of residence. The fee typically ranges from $50-$150 USD per year.

Once you have paid your membership fee, you will receive access to exclusive resources such as webinars, conferences, publications, research reports, online courses, networking opportunities with other members around the world, discounts on products or services related to purchasing and supply management, and more. You will also be eligible for certification through the IFPSM Certified Professional Program (CPP). This program requires passing an exam which covers topics such as procurement processes & procedures; contract law; negotiation & communication; supplier selection & evaluation; inventory control & logistics; risk management; project management; and international trade regulations & compliance.

11. Global Supplier Quality Professional Certification Program (GSQP-CP).

The Global Supplier Quality Professional Certification Program (GSQP-CP) is a comprehensive certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved and demonstrated the highest level of competency in the field of supplier quality. The GSQP-CP provides a standard for assessing and recognizing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of supplier quality professionals.

The GSQP-CP consists of two parts: an online assessment and a practical exam. The online assessment covers topics such as supplier selection, supplier management, risk management, and quality assurance. The practical exam tests the individual’s ability to apply the concepts learned in the online assessment to real world scenarios.

The program takes approximately 8-12 weeks to complete depending on how quickly the individual can study and complete the coursework. After completing both parts of the program, individuals are eligible to receive their certificate from ASQ (American Society for Quality).

To get certified through this program, individuals must first register with ASQ and pay a fee which varies depending on whether or not you are an ASQ member. Once registered, individuals will receive access to an online portal where they can begin their coursework and take the online assessment. Upon completion of both parts of the program, individuals will be able to download their certificate from ASQ’s website.

The cost for registering for this certification program is $395 for non-ASQ members or $295 for ASQ members. This fee covers all materials needed for taking both parts of the program as well as access to additional resources such as webinars and forums that can help individuals prepare for their exams.

Do You Really Need a Purchasing Assistant Certificate?

Whether or not you need a Purchasing Assistant Certificate depends on your career goals. If you are looking to make a career out of purchasing and want to work in a professional setting, then having a Purchasing Assistant Certificate can be beneficial. It shows employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the job requirements. Additionally, it may open up opportunities for promotions or advancements within the company.

On the other hand, if you just want to do some purchasing as a hobby or part-time job, then having a certificate may not be necessary. Most companies will accept applicants without any formal qualifications. However, it is still recommended to gain some experience in order to better understand the role of purchasing assistant and develop your skillset.

At the end of the day, whether or not you need a Purchasing Assistant Certificate really depends on what kind of career you are hoping to pursue. If your goal is to become an expert in this field and climb up the corporate ladder, then having a certificate can be beneficial. Otherwise, there are plenty of opportunities available without one.

Related: Purchasing Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Purchasing Assistant Certifications

1. What is a Purchasing Assistant Certification?

Answer: A Purchasing Assistant Certification is a professional certification that verifies an individual’s knowledge and skills in purchasing, inventory management, and supply chain management. It is designed to help individuals develop the necessary skills needed to succeed in their job as purchasing assistants.

2. How do I become certified as a Purchasing Assistant?

Answer: To become certified as a Purchasing Assistant, you must complete a training program or course that covers the fundamentals of purchasing and supply chain management. After successfully completing the program, you must pass an assessment to receive your certification.

3. What are the benefits of having a Purchasing Assistant Certification?

Answer: Having a Purchasing Assistant Certification can increase job opportunities and salary potential, demonstrate expertise in the field of purchasing and supply chain management, help build credibility with employers, and help professionals stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs.

4. How long does it take to receive my certification after I have completed my training program?

Answer: The length of time it takes to receive your certification after completing your training program depends on the provider you choose; however, most providers offer certifications within two weeks of completion of their program.

5. Is there an expiration date for my Purchasing Assistant Certification?

Answer: Yes, most certifications have expiration dates ranging from one to three years depending on the provider you choose; however, some certifications may need to be renewed annually or every few years depending on the requirements set by the provider.