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Purchasing Agent

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Bachelor's degree

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What They Do

Purchasing Agents Career Video

About This Career

Purchases machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchases raw or semifinished materials for manufacturing. May negotiate contracts.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production Process Development pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Prepares purchase orders, solicits bid proposals, and reviews requisitions for goods and services.
  • Monitors and follows applicable laws and regulations.
  • Purchases the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
  • Negotiates, renegotiates, and administers contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Analyzes price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices.
  • Formulates policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.
  • Maintains and reviews computerized or manual records of purchased items, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories.
  • Confers with staff, users, and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determines corrective action.
  • Hires, trains, or supervises purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
  • Researches and evaluates suppliers, based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production and distribution capabilities, and the supplier's reputation and history.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Buyer — Plans and selects a range of products to sell.
  • Procurement Specialist — Negotiates contracts and acquires the goods and services that a company needs.
  • Purchasing Administrator
  • Procurement Official


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733