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Purchasing Agent

Purchasing agents are in charge of all buying for their company. They buy the raw materials, goods, and services their company needs to maintain operations.

Sample of Reported Job Titles

Buyer, Purchasing Agent, Procurement Specialist, Purchasing Manager, Purchasing Administrator


Purchasing agents, or buyers as they are sometimes called, see that their company has a sufficient supply of the materials it needs to operate. However, agents must avoid tying up too much of the company's money in supplies. Their job is to balance quality with cost to ensure that the best purchases are made. It is vital that purchasers stay up to date on overall market conditions and price trends that affect what they are buying. They use the latest pricing information available on the Internet to compute the price of items, the cost of handling and transportation for those items, and the cost of time spent by workers who unload the stock and fill out shipping paperwork.

The problem solving skills and analytical skills used in mathematics are an essential part of a career as a purchasing manager. Purchasing managers find that they are called on to solve problems, handle details, and coordinate many activities during intense work periods. They must also be comfortable handling complex data and have the ability to see the data from numerous perspectives.

Purchasing agents may work in corporate offices, large farms, government offices, manufacturing facilities, retail offices, warehouses, wholesale offices and other similar locations.

Educational Requirements

Most employers require their purchasing agents to have a degree in business, mathematics, economics, engineering or a related field (Bachelor's degree or higher), but a purchasing agent with a Master's degree will have additional opportunities. Many certification programs are also available, such as the CPM, CPP, and CPE.

Salary Information 2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following information corresponds to the salaries of Purchasing Agents in 2017. The bottom 10% of earners made less than $36,370, the median salary was $62,120, and the top 10% of earners made more than $103,480. The variation if due, in part, to an individual's experience and the location of their workplace.


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Information retrieved from We Use Math: Purchasing Agent, O*NET Online: Purchasing Agents and Bureau of Labor Statistics: Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents.

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