5 Best Procurement Certification Courses

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Purchasing management. Sourcing management. Materials and vendor management. Supply chain management. No matter what you call the discipline, the role of the procurement manager is vital to every single department in an enterprise.

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Procurement is one of the most rewarding careers for aspiring professionals, coming in at number eight on monster.com’s list of top 10 careers ranked by job satisfaction. To help you start or make the most of a career in procurement, we’ll look at the benefits of procurement certification and the five best procurement certification courses you should be considering.

What are the benefits of procurement certifications?

In the profession of procurement and supply chain management, a certification from a renowned authority gives you the added advantage of being preferred by employers over your non-certified peers. Whether you’re just starting out on your career or are looking to move on to your next job, the advantages and benefits of having a certification in procurement include:

  • Upgraded knowledge about industry best practices
  • The opportunity to qualify for an international job role
  • Recognition among employers and industry peers
  • Ability to network in your professional arena
  • 3% to 13% higher salaries than non-certified peers

That said, there are a wide array of procurement certifications out there today. We have curated the five best procurement certifications in this article.

Note: All of the certifications have online guides and self-study modules for professionals. They are priced separately depending on the certification levels.

1. Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Diploma (CIPS)

Based out of the United Kingdom, CIPS is the world’s largest professional association in procurement and supply. The institute has a global network of more than 200,000 professionals with members in more than 150 countries, and its certifications are recognized by several industry bodies and regulatory authorities.

The CIPS certifications

CIPS certifications cover six candidacy tracks, ranging from the entry-level student track to the advanced professional track. After enrollment, students are required to download study guides and prepare for each exam, progressing to the next diploma level until they finally graduate to a full-time Member of the CIPS (MCIPS). Professionals also have the option of further upgrading their qualifications to a Fellow of the CIPS (FCIPS).

The certifications are classified as follows:

  • Level 1: Student Member (Entry Point)
  • Level 2: Certification in Procurement and Supply Operations
  • Level 3: Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations
  • Level 4: Diploma in Procurement and Supply
  • Level 5: Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply
  • Level 6: Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply

Completion of Level 6 leads to the MCIPS license.

Pricing for each of the study material and exam vary and can be found here, where you’ll need to fill out a form to view the pricing in your region.

2. Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM)

The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) is based out of the USA and is renowned for its research in procurement and its Purchasing Managers Index (which was developed with the US Department of Commerce). It has successfully trained over 60,000 professionals across 30 countries since 2008, and has been in existence for more than a century.

The CPSM certification

ISM offers two certifications, and the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) is the one concerned with core procurement functions. The CPSM is a globally recognized certification for supply chain professionals who have at least three years full-time supply management experience in a non-clerical or support role with a bachelor’s degree, or five years without a degree.

The CPSM is a single certification, which includes a comprehensive coverage of all procurement and supply chain-related functions. The three main assessments for the CPSM certification include:

  • Supply Chain Management Core
  • Supply Chain Management Integration
  • Leadership and Transformation in Supply Chain Management

Pricing for the CPSM depends on whether or not you are a member of the ISM. The exam fees are $229 for ISM members and $379 for non-members. Study material costs $795 for ISM members and $1,195 for non-ISM members and is available in both print and digital versions.

3. Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) from the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM)

The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM, formerly APICS) is based in the United States and is a 62-year-old organization, originally formed by a group of 20 production control managers. Today, the organization has grown to more than 45,000 members and 300 channel partners in more than 100 countries. It offers several certifications, but we’ll be focusing on one in particular.

The CSCP certification

The Certified Supply Chain Professional certification (CSCP) from ASCM is a single certification that also offers both self-paced and instructor-guided learning tracks. Aspirants need three years of related work experience or an internationally recognized bachelor’s degree to qualify.

The curriculum comprises three main modules of assessment. These are:

  • Supply Chain Design
  • Supply Chain Planning and Execution
  • Supply Chain Improvements and Best Practices

The pricing for the CSCP examination, which includes certification, depends on ASCM membership status: ASCM PLUS members pay $695, while CORE members pay the same as non-members, $965. Exams can also be retaken for a fee of $450.

The learning option curriculum for the CSCP certification is available via its online portal. Students can also choose a self-directed learning path.

4. Certified Supply Chain Manager (CSCM) from the International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA)

The International Supply Chain Education Alliance (ISCEA) is based in the United States and has a worldwide network of members, holding supply chain management positions in more than 200 companies across the world. It conducts several workshops worldwide on a regular basis and offers a wide range of professional certifications in procurement and supply, including the Certified Supply Chain Manager certification (CSCM). It also confers the Ptak Prize for Supply Chain Excellence.

The CSCM certification

The CSCM certification covers a wide array of subjects within the supply chain discipline. The certification process includes a workshop and examination that are held in several countries. Participants also have the option to join the workshops and take the exams online, which are proctored. Course coverage includes:

  • Supply Chain Body of Knowledge
  • Theory of Constraints
  • Operational Accounting
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Leadership and Team Building

Pricing for the certification is $2,150, and a ticket fee of $19.95 is charged separately. The training workshop is held for 4 1/2 days.

5. SCPro Certification from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)

Established in 1963, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) is based in the United States and comprises a network of more than 6,000 supply chain professionals. The CSCMP also has several committees and roundtables for networking and knowledge sharing among its members. The CSCMP offers the SCPro certification, and certified members can get the benefits of continuous learning via organized events and publications.

The SCPro certification

The SCPro certification comprises three tiers, based on knowledge areas of procurement and supply chain management. These are:

  • SCPro Level 1: Cornerstones of Supply Chain Management
  • SCPro Level 2: Analysis and Application of Supply Chain Challenges
  • SCPro Level 3: Initiation of Supply Chain Transformation

The three levels are divided by the nature of each exam. The first level is an assessment of the candidate’s knowledge of the eight pillars of supply chain management according to the CSCMP curriculum. Level 2 is a case study-based exam, while the third level comprises a “real-world” project to demonstrate the capability of the applicant to impact an organization or employer in real-life scenarios.

Pricing for the SCPro Certification depends on whether or not the applicant is a member of the CSCMP. For SCPro Level 1, the exam fee is $975 for non-members and $650 for members. For SCPro Level 2, the pricing is $1,500 for members and $1,095 for non-members. SCPro Level 3 is not limited to a single project and candidates are paired with a mentor.

The third level of the SCPro certification requires a bachelor’s degree with nine years of relevant work experience, while the second level requires a level one certification with a college degree and three years of work experience. The first level is an entry level assessment of several knowledge branches in procurement and supply chain management.

While you’re earning your spurs in the professional credential arena and building your network among your procurement professional peers as a certified professional, don’t forget the importance of technology in supply chain management today. Check out Capterra’s Supply Chain Management Software directory for choosing the right software to complement your professional prowess!


Methodology

The certifications mentioned above were selected based on their emphasis on core procurement and supply chain functions, and their applications in real-world scenarios. The strength of the professional network of the certification body was also considered. The core functions considered were: procurement, strategic sourcing, inventory management, transportation, integrated SCM, technology and operational accounting.

Looking for Logistics software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Logistics software solutions.

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About the Author

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Bhaskar Bose

Bhaskar is a Content Analyst for Gartner Digital Markets. He joined the company in April 2019 after having worked in several other technical writing roles throughout his career. For Gartner, Bhaskar covers the retail and e-commerce industries and the technologies that make it easier for businesses to grow and thrive in these markets, including related market trends in this exciting and dynamic industry. Bhaskar also covers restaurant and F&B industry technologies. Follow him at @bbosetweets

Comments

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I am a purchasing specialist at a US based insurance company and i just completed the SPSM.
It is a great, self-paced course with an exam at the end. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to polish their knowledge or add value to their current role in the procurement field.

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APICS and IIPMR are the ones preferred by most companies at-least in the US. But during my stint at UK, I noticed most companies ask for CIPS Certification. So the preference varies from Country to Country. It will be prudent to choose a certification that is popular in your Country.

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Hi Andrew

I work in a training and consulting industry that provides training and certifications in multiple business area. We are expanding our business and seeking for cooperation with these procurement certification providers. Can you give me some information regarding this.
Thanks in advance.

Fahri

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CAUCUS (ctpe) is a joke. You can get that certificate in 1/2 day.

I ended up choosing ISM CPSM as the program was comprehensive and their staff was way less salesy than other programs.

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I absolutely think that the SPSM from NLP is the most helpful out of all of these. It is the most useful and helpful for the real world. I have completed many of these certifications and found the SPSM to be the best.

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My bachelor is Law and I have been working earlier in my carrier as Head of procurement unit, also as attorney and commercial advisor for 10 years I have experiences in procurement, contracting, negotiations. I just finished an MBA in Netherlands and I wanted to deep dive in procurement. What do you suggest in terms of knowledge but also in terms European and British job market?? Thanks!

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Have a Bachlors in Social work, but the past 10 years been working in procurement/purchasing/ inventory/ ship& receiving setting. Like operations side and would like to focus more on procurement/purchasinf. Any suggestions on what certs i should work on??

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Hello,

I need suggestion procurement related certification courses

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I opted for the SPSM course out of these 5 — mainly, because of how this is move at your own pace type of remote program and you can pick up where you left off throughout. Honestly, I was very surprised at how comprehensive it was! I’m gearing up for the final exam, but this program is top notch, easy to transition through and I found it challenging. I would recommend the SPSM to anyone who wants to better themselves. I just thought I would offer my feedback.

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I have a BS in business administration and have been a sales manager for the last 18 years for a large company. I want to go back to the operations side of business and pursue purchasing/procurement positions. I have read about the CPM and CPIM and APICS , but most say you have to already be a seasoned purchasing professional. What certifications or courses should I pursue to add knowledge that will open doors to this line of work?

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I prefer the courses offered at CSCMP, as they cover the ‘end to end” of supply chain management. Classes are updated and relevant as well.

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Hi..Can you suggest which one is better certification..CPP from IIPRM or CPSM for Canada ? I have 3.5 years of experience in procurement. I am searching for supply chain jobs in Canada and planning to do some certification. please help

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Great article,

I’m about to receive an offer for a Buyer/Planner position in my current job. Would you recommend the SPSM or CPP Certification?

Thanks in advance!

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Being in procurement for many years I can definitely say your best choice is ISM or APICs. Although Charles D. founder of NLP knows his stuff, he has since then sold his company to Certitrek — who is an acquisition company that attempts to turn certification companies around and make them profitable once again. ISM is more expensive and divided, but also more credible, and although they’re international they remain a USA supported company. I was researching a lot of these training companies and found out that Next Level Purchasing (a for profit company) has basically packed up and moved to India and doesn’t seem to have an expert in procurement on staff — at least that’s what I’ve experienced when I talked to 3 different people there fairly recently.

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I have the CSCP , the Certified Hardware Asset Management Professional (CHAMP) and the Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM) and I constantly receive offers to interview for jobs. For Neda, you should look at the following IT Procurement certification organizations

1. IAITAM
2. CAUCUS

I received my CHAMP from IAITAM. They also have a Certified Software Asset Manager (CSAM) Look into getting both. Good luck!

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Great article. Can you please provide some feedback on the CPP and CPPM through The American Purchasing Society?

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Hello Andrew, I am a Global IT Procurement Manager at PwC (based out of Canada) and I have a BBA, I’ve had Software Industry experience for 15+ years and I have been in my role now at PwC for 4 years total. I am going for a promotion to Senior Manager in July 2018 and I would like to get a certification to help boost my career and increase my knowledge of the industry. I am keen to learn more about IT Procurement specifically. Can you recommend one out of these 5 certification courses or any other certifications that will help me? I await your response.

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Hi, i read your comments as mention above related to CPP. Am working since 2010 as a accountant in uae and since last year am handling conplete procurement department as well in a multinational company. My educational background releated to acciunt and now i want to do only in procurement. Which course you suggest for me? In this regard that will be less costly as well.
Am very haopy and waiting your response.

Azam

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