Study Procurement: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate or bachelor's degree in procurement? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and procurement training programs.
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Procurement Associate and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

The procurement industry offers a range of occupations in sales, purchasing, and logistics. Specialists in the industry evaluate target markets, define customer requirements, and identify goods and services at prices that benefit employers. Procurement professionals understand supply chain management, sourcing, and negotiation techniques. Employers seek job candidates who possess strong communication, asset management, and inventory control skills.

The associate's degree program can prepare you for an entry-level procurement occupation in multiple industries. The bachelor's degree program delivers the education necessary to pursue entry-level management positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that some positions in the industry would grow at a slower-than-average rate, while others will grow at a faster-than-average rate (www.bls.gov). Purchasing managers would see between 3% and 9% job growth over the 2010-2020 decade. Logisticians would experience 26% job growth.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People seeking entry-level procurement occupations Individuals interested in management careers
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives (except scientific and technical) ($63,000)*
- Logistician ($75,000)*
- Cost estimator ($63,000)*
- Purchasing manager ($97,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years, full-time 4 years, full-time
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 60 credits - Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Procurement

The associate's degree program delivers a basic education in supply chain management and business concepts. Students learn about supply chain management terminology, delivery processes, and the federal regulations that influence distribution. In addition, courses in business round out the program by providing the knowledge required to understand accounting, economics, and technical topics. Some programs offer foreign language coursework to ensure students can communicate effectively in a global commerce environment.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives in the wholesale electronic markets are projected to see 51% job growth over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Logisticians earned relatively competitive mean annual salaries of $75,000**
  • Programs offer a combined education; you might find positions in a range of additional industries due to a strong business foundation

Cons

  • Wholesale and manufacturing sales positions in scientific and technical industries might require a bachelor's degree
  • Competition against bachelor's degree holders might present a challenge for logistics positions
  • Pursuing certification to increase your marketability will require additional financial resources and time

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

You'll gain an understanding of international trade and logistics through a range of courses in business, negotiation, and purchasing. Programs deliver courses that emphasize the development of purchasing objectives, policies, and procedures. Some programs require a practicum or related field experience. Following are some courses typically offered by the programs:

  • Regulatory compliance and international transportation
  • Warehouse management
  • Inventory management
  • Negotiation basics
  • Global sourcing
  • Procurement methodologies
  • Managerial accounting

Online Degree Info

The online associate's degree program might prove difficult to locate. Several schools offer an associate degree in logistics or business management with a concentration in procurement. Ultimately, the online program might offer courses similar to campus-based procurement options. As such, programs emphasize quality control, logistics management, and purchasing management. Online programs are generally designed for working professionals, and some schools offer learning experience credits if students have worked in procurement before.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience, certification, and knowledge of logistics technologies might influence your job prospects. For sales positions, some employers prefer candidates with experience. The Manufacturers' Representatives Education Research Foundation confers the Certified Sales Professional credential, which can develop your skills in prospecting, self-management, and negotiation. In addition, logistics positions might require experience working with industry-standard software programs. Consider participating in internships, if your school offers them, to gain practical experience.

Bachelor's in Supply Chain Management

The bachelor's degree program delivers a broader education that offers students the opportunity to select focused electives. You can expect to take courses that focus on the development of strong business and management skills. Elective courses develop knowledge of specific areas in industry, including retail management. Programs emphasize information systems, negotiation techniques, and operations management. In addition, some curricula are designed to prepare students for graduate study. Some programs prepare students to take industry-standard certification exams.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cost estimators could expect a 36% increase in job growth over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Purchasing managers earned relatively competitive mean annual salaries of $97,000**
  • Bachelor's degree programs might prepare you for entry-level management opportunities

Cons

  • Associate's degree holders earned comparable salaries; wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a mean annual salary of $63,000**
  • Programs might not provide a strong foundation in the technologies used in the industry
  • Economic downturns influence the availability of cost estimator positions

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

A bachelor's degree program teaches students a range of important business concepts in addition to logistical and supply chain management theories. You can expect to take courses in supply chain strategy, business-to-business marketing, operations management, financial management, organizational behavior, transportation management, and information systems. Some programs offer research projects that explore specific issues faced by real companies. In addition, your program might provide the opportunity to participate in special projects that utilize common technologies used in the industry.

Online Degree Info

Schools might offer an online supply chain management programs through a school of business administration. Programs generally offer courses similar to campus-based options; you'll take classes in supply chain systems, negotiation, quality management, and distribution management. Keep in mind that some schools online programs are offered as degree-completion programs, which require that you have an associate's degree or a significant deal of transferable coursework in a related discipline.

Stand Out with This Degree

The BLS reports that job candidates should gain up to 5 years of experience in buyer or purchasing agent positions prior to pursuing purchasing manager positions. Consequently, pursuing internships during your studies can get you started. In addition, several certifications exist for purchasing managers. You might consider pursuing the American Purchasing Society's (APS) Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM), Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant (CPPC), Certified Green Purchasing Professional (CGPP), or the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) credentials. The CPPM and CPPC are advanced credentials and require managerial experience and CPP certification.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

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      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
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    6. Southern New Hampshire University

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      • AS in Business Administration
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    7. Excelsior College

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      • AAS in Administrative and Management Studies
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    8. American InterContinental University

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  • Columbus, OH

    Columbus State Community College

  • North East, MD

    Cecil College

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • AASBA in Business
  • AASBA -Entrepreneurship

Which subject are you interested in?

Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Associate of Science - Business Studies

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Colorado Technical University

  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. Business
  • A.S. General Studies - Business
  • A.S. General Studies - Entrepreneurship

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Keiser University

  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Southern New Hampshire University

  • AS in Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Excelsior College

  • AAS in Administrative and Management Studies

What is your highest level of education completed?

American InterContinental University

  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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