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Professional Purchasing Certification

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The two main bodies responsible for the examining of procurement professionals and issuing professional accreditation are the American Purchasing Society and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply. Broadly speaking, buyers in the United States gain their accreditation from The American Purchasing Society, while European, particularly UK and increasingly Chinese buyers, gain accreditation from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

The American Purchasing Society

The American Purchasing Society created its certification program in 1970 with the aim of improving the professionalism of the purchasing and supply chain functions. Certification of qualified purchasing professionals is one of the primary goals of the society. The American Purchasing Society offers three certification programs worldwide, Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) and the Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant (CPPC).

Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP)

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The aim of the program is to promote recognition of the profession of procurement, to develop professional standards and ethics and to develop guidelines for procurement. To receive this accreditation, procurement professionals complete an online application that requests them to relate their professional experience and knowledge. Candidates are then required to sit an exam. This is the American Purchasing Society’s entry level qualification.

Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM)

The next level of accreditation for the purchasing professional is the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager. Candidates for this certification are required to display managerial experience and should be in a managerial post. Before the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager accreditation can be obtained, procurement professionals must have first gained their Certified Purchasing Professional accreditation. Candidates then take an exam which they must gain a mark of 70 percent before their candidacy is evaluated before being awarded the accreditation.

Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant (CPPC)

The Certified Professional Purchasing Consultant accreditation is available to Certified Purchasing Professionals who consult or teach outside of their main employment. Candidates must have gained 85 percent in their CPP exam, have a related degree qualification and teach or consult outside of their own company.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply

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The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply also offer professional procurement accreditation by either examination or non-vocational qualification (NVQ) route. Successful candidates gain membership to the body and are allowed to use the letters MCIPs (Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply) after their name.


Offers 6 levels of qualification, ranging from level 2 to level 7. Levels 2 and 3 are introductory level qualifications for those new to the profession. Level 4 is the Foundation Diploma, Level 5 the Advanced Diploma, Level 6 Graduate Diploma. At this stage the equivalent of degree standard has been reached and membership of the Chartered Institute is granted.