What Does a Procurement Specialist Do? And How To Become One

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A procurement specialist is the glue keeping an organization together with what it needs to operate. Read on for more on what this position entails

Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
March 20, 2024
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As supply chains face challenges new and old — such as inflation, geopolitical tensions, workforce reduction, and more — the role of the procurement specialist has grown increasingly important, not only in daily operations but also in strategic decision-making across the business. 

Procurement specialists are responsible for identifying and obtaining the relevant products, services, and supplies that a company needs to operate. You can think of procurement specialists as the glue keeping an organization’s operations together and running smoothly — no matter the economic or business environment.  

Whether you’re looking to hire a procurement specialist or become one, it’s important to understand what the position entails in today’s dynamic business world. In this guide, we’ll give you an overview of what a procurement specialist does, the skills and education necessary, salary expectations, and other key requirements.  

Here’s everything you need to know about the role of a procurement specialist:

  • What is a procurement specialist? 
  • Procurement specialist roles and responsibilities. 
  • Procurement specialist salary.
  • Requirements to become a procurement specialist.
  • How to get a job as a procurement specialist.
  • Vendr: The ultimate toolkit for procurement specialists.
  • Procurement Specialist FAQs. 

What is a procurement specialist?

A procurement specialist is responsible for researching and purchasing products, services, and supplies required for a company to operate successfully.  

A procurement specialist shouldn’t be confused with a purchasing specialist, which is a subset of procurement in general. Whereas purchasing is typically a transactional, tactical role, procurement takes a more strategic lens to evaluate the supply chain. Procurement specialists will often work alongside the procurement manager to create the procurement strategy.

Here are some of the tasks that a procurement specialist might be responsible for to ensure the operational success of a business. 

Procurement specialist roles and responsibilities

The top roles and responsibilities held by a procurement specialist include:

  • Supplier management: Finding suppliers that best fit an organization’s needs based on cost, customer support, and speed of service. This includes managing contracts and relationships.
  • Quality assurance: Ensuring suppliers meet the organization's needs through in-depth research, evaluations, and trial runs. 
  • Inventory control: Continuously managing inventory to ensure all products acquired via suppliers are delivered safely, securely, and promptly.
  • Market research: Staying at the forefront of industry trends and news to make the most informed decisions possible when choosing suppliers to work with.
  • Compliance knowledge: Verifying that all suppliers comply with local and federal data, environmental, labor, and trade laws. 


Procurement specialist salary

The average salary for a procurement specialist in the United States falls around an average of  $60,800 annually. For an entry-level procurement specialist, the average annual salary is around $48,750, while the most experienced specialists earn up to $91,000 annually. 

What it takes to become a procurement specialist

To help you better understand what it takes to step into the role of a procurement specialist, here is a look into common skills and education qualifications many procurement specialists have.


A successful procurement specialist will have a balanced mix of technical skills, leadership acumen, and strategic thinking. Here are some specific skills that would benefit a procurement specialist in their day-to-day work: 

  • Negotiation comfort: A procurement specialist must be comfortable interacting with suppliers to secure the lowest cost and best deal possible for their company. 
  • Relationship management: Building and maintaining relationships is key to supplier management. Procurement specialists should ensure a high level of respect and trust between their company and their suppliers. 
  • Data analysis skills:  A procurement specialist must be able to analyze data and market trends to find potential cost savings, process optimization opportunities, and possible risk areas.
  • Communication skills: Procurement specialists can help the C-suite make more informed decisions. To do so, however, they must know how to effectively communicate the needs of the business and navigate difficult conversations regarding budget.
  • Risk management: When a disruptive event occurs (internally or externally), a procurement specialist must take action to protect the business and its finances while meeting stakeholders’ expectations. 
  • Strategic sourcing skills: Pinpoint the best mix of products and services that will effectively support the business’s success. 
  • Financial skills: A procurement specialist must handle cost management, forecasting, data analysis, and report building to make informed, cost-effective procurement decisions and better comply with various regulations.
  • Attention to detail: Ensure robust, risk-free procurement processes by reviewing documentation and managing contracts to identify any errors — as well as create in-depth documentation and perform data analysis.


Many procurement specialists pursue a Bachelor’s degree in economics, supply chain management, or business administration. These majors are good options for those looking to enter the field, as they arm students with the basic skills and knowledge necessary to become a high-achieving procurement specialist.

While pursuing one of the majors listed above, prospective procurement specialists should consider taking classes on topics such as:

  • Product distribution. 
  • Accounting.
  • Financial management.
  • Materials handling.
  • Legal standards of global supply chains.


How to get a job as a procurement specialist

Prospective procurement specialists can increase their chances of landing a role in their industry of choice by acquiring certain certifications and joining relevant organizations.


Procurement specialists can work in many different industries, which means there are plenty of opportunities to deepen their expertise in a specific field or niche. Certifications are a great way to show employers a willingness to take the initiative to better understand their industry or specific needs. 

Here are some examples of niche or industry-specific procurement specialist certifications, each of which takes several months of studying and preparation to earn: 

  • Certified Procurement Professional (CPP): Provided by the American Purchasing Society (APS), this certification is ideal for anyone interested in purchasing and supply chain management for public or private companies. Costs $299 for APS members to apply and $515 for nonmembers. 
  • Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM): This advanced certification from the APS is available to procurement professionals who already hold a CPP certification. Costs $294 for APS members to apply and $500 for nonmembers.
  • Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB): This certification from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) is considered the gold standard in public procurement. This certification is designed for anyone who performs essential functions for government or public procurement but does not have management responsibilities. Costs $98 to apply. 


Joining an organization can help prospective procurement specialists network with other industry professionals. Networking can be key for finding a mentor, guiding your job search, and uncovering employment opportunities you may not have known about before. 

Here are some popular procurement specialist groups: 

  • American Purchasing Society: An organization of buyers, executives, and purchasing managers who wish to access procurement certification and training programs for all experience levels.
  • Institute for Supply Management: A non-profit organization focusing on improving the supply management industry by providing leadership research, development, certification, and education opportunities.
  • National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO): A non-profit association that promotes education, research, professional development, and innovation to advance public procurement processes.

Vendr: The ultimate toolkit for procurement specialists 

Vendr can help procurement specialists maximize their impact across the entire business via increased savings on software, lower purchase cycle time, and enhanced stakeholder trust.

Here are some key areas where Vendr can support new and seasoned procurement specialists alike:

  • Pricing benchmarks: Vendr’s Software Buyer Guides provide valuable market insights to help you efficiently identify and purchase software that best supports your business. With in-depth supplier profiles, community insights, alternative solutions, and more, you can increase transparency to find the perfect match.
  • Negotiation support: With expert support and insights, procurement specialists can build a deep understanding of suppliers before purchasing a service or product, upload contracts into Vendr’s chat feature for instant price checks and expert review, and gain access to valuable SaaS negotiation playbooks. 
  • Automated workflows: A centralized point for all of your organization’s purchases will satisfy stakeholders with streamlined workflows, ensure that approvers have full visibility into request details and documentation, and expedite approval processes. 
  • Manage renewals: Stay one step ahead of renewal needs to increase savings with a comprehensive dashboard. Get early renewal alerts and immediately contact the right stakeholders, as well as obtain data and product reviews to make more informed decisions.

Procurements specialist FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about procurement specialists.

Is procurement specialist a good job? 

Whether a role in procurement is considered a “good job” will depend on what someone is looking for in a career. If you’re looking for a role that requires attention to detail, creative problem-solving, negotiation skills, and strong communication capabilities, a procurement specialist career could be a great option.

What is the highest-paid procurement jobs?

The highest-paid procurement jobs include Chief Procurement Officer, Head of Procurement, and Director of Supply Chain positions which typically earn from $180,000 to $300,000 annually. 

What is the primary role of a procurement specialist? 

The primary duties of a procurement specialist include identifying key suppliers, negotiating purchasing contracts and agreements, and ensuring all products and materials meet the organization’s specific needs.

Who does a procurement specialist report to? 

As procurement specialists are commonly seen as cost-saving experts, they often report up to the Chief Financial Officer of their organization. On larger procurement teams, the specialist may report directly to the procurement manager, who will then report to the CFO.


Vendr Team
Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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