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Procurement Industry Certifications – Yes or No?

Most of us want to be at the top of our game and do all we can to excel in our chosen fields. For procurement professionals, getting certified is a common subject when discussing success and moving up the ladder.

But are procurement industry certifications must-haves? And what are some of the most common ones out there? We outline some of these niche certifications so that you can better decide which one—if any—is right for you.


What Procurement Industry Certifications Are Out There?


 There is a variety of procurement certifications available to procurement professionals these days. We have curated five of the best procurement certifications in this article to help you decide what’s suitable for you.


Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Diploma (CIPS)


CIPS is the largest professional association in procurement and supply globally, thanks to its network of over 200,000 professionals represented from over 150 countries. As it is so far-reaching, it is no surprise that CIPS certifications are widely recognized within the industry and governing authorities.


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


Based in the U.S. and in operation for more than six decades, the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM, formerly APICS) offers the CSCP certification, which requires three years of related supply chain work experience or an internationally recognized bachelor’s degree to qualify for. The curriculum for this certification includes Supply Chain Design, Supply Chain Planning and Execution, and Supply Chain Improvements and Best Practices.


Certified Professional in Supply Management from the Institute for Supply Management (CPSM)


In existence for nearly a century now and based in the United States, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) is known most for its research in procurement and its Purchasing Managers Index, which happens to have been developed with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certification is globally recognized and specifically for supply chain professionals with three years or more of full-time supply management experience in a non-clerical or support role with a bachelor’s degree or five years without a degree.


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

The process for CSCM certification involves attending a workshop and undergoing an examination—both of which are made available in several different countries. There are even proctored online options as well, with the course catalog covering topics like Supply Chain Body of Knowledge, Theory of Constraints, Operational Accounting, Lean Six Sigma, and Leadership and Team Building.


SCPro™ Certification from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals


Offered by the U.S.-based Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), the SCPro™ certification consists of a three-tiered curriculum that includes this trio of levels:

1) Cornerstones of Supply Chain Management
2) Analysis and Application of Supply Chain Challenges
3) Initiation of Supply Chain Transformation

What Is the Value Proposition of Procurement Certification?


 Now that you know what procurement certifications are out there, the most common next question is, what are the benefits of procurement certifications?

I won’t sugarcoat it: In today’s competitive professional procurement world, those possessing certification from a trusted and known authority in the industry gives you a distinct edge over your competitors that do not possess any certifications. Certifications give you a bit more weight in setting you apart as an authority.

Further advantages of getting certified, as well as the above-mentioned air of distinction, include:

  • upgrading your knowledge and skillset regarding best practices and beyond,
  • networking opportunities,
  • gaining recognition and respect,
  • and last but certainly not least—higher salaries (3%-13% on average) compared to non-certified co-workers and peers.


Should You Invest Your Time?


 So, the advantages are clear. But, the question remains: Is procurement certification worth your time? My quick answer is YES, but it depends on what your specific goals are.

I say that because if your purpose for getting an industry certification is to get more money as a junior associate and a procurement associate, then based on the past salary data, a certification will achieve this goal. But if you are anything above a manager, you’re better off getting an MBA, financially speaking. Data reveals that once you go from team lead to the manager, to the director, to vice president, to C level, the first two levels are paid more with a certification. But the following four levels show people without certifications get paid more money than people with certifications.

And then, of course, there is the fact to consider that the next generation that’s coming up has a mindset of wanting every kid to get a trophy, which lends itself to favoring getting that certification and accompanying recognition.

So, regardless of whether you are at the beginning of your procurement career or if you are perhaps looking toward making a career transition and eyeing your next job, there are definite benefits to getting a certification. You just have to define your specific goals and measure whether a certification—and which one—is necessary to meet your end aims.

Would you like to learn more? For the readers out there, I have put together a reading list of what I feel are the best procurement-related books recently published. Each offers amazing food for thought and an abundance of industry-related insights.

 You can also do one better and join the Foundry. We are here to support you every step of your journey, so reach out to us today.

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