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How to Become a Procurement Engineer

A procurement engineer has a variety of job duties and qualifications. For this job, you’ll collaborate with other types of engineers/designers, handle inspections, track supplies, and issue different purchase orders. 

Other duties include analyzing data, evaluating equipment, and negotiating agreements for the equipment, vendor contracts, and communicating with those in charge of the equipment that was purchased. This specific position in engineering requires a bachelor’s degree in either procurement engineering or another related field, such as supply chain management or business administration. 

In this job, you need to have at least 3 years of experience, as well as strong training skills. You should also have prior experience with office software, especially Microsoft Excel.

Sample job description

Procurement engineers oversee the purchase of technical equipment for an organization’s industrial operations. Without them, companies wouldn’t have the equipment they need to run their businesses and complete projects on time. Procurement engineers need to have excellent organizational and record-keeping skills to maintain a consistent flow of equipment to the company’s factories or worksites. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced procurement engineer to take our business to new heights. If you have experience evaluating supplies and negotiating with vendors and you have extensive knowledge of the equipment, materials, and supplies used in our industry, you might be a great fit as a procurement engineer in our company.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Analyze technical data and specifications to determine the equipment needed for projects
  • Evaluate equipment suppliers and negotiate purchasing agreements for equipment
  • Devise, implement and oversee procurement strategies to meet cost savings targets
  • Administer supplier and vendor contracts
  • Ensure that purchases comply with commercial, legal and contractual obligations
  • Communicate with stakeholders regarding the nature and function of purchased equipment

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in procurement engineering or a related business field. Since undergraduate programs in procurement engineering are not common, many procurement engineers pursue undergraduate degrees in purchasing, supply chain management, or business administration. Although it’s not required, employers prefer job candidates who have a master’s degree in procurement engineering or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Able to analyze technical documents and specifications to understand critical requirements
  • High-level verbal and written communication skills
  • Proficiency with office software, specifically Microsoft Excel or similar programs
  • Influencing and negotiating skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving ability

Preferred qualifications

  • BS degree in engineering or related discipline
  • Minimum 3 years of experience
  • Good interpersonal and training skills
  • Provide technical support and assist in the resolution of manufacturing problems as required

Typical work environment

Procurement engineers typically work in an office environment. They spend most of their day directing procurement processes, including working with vendors, suppliers, purchasing agents, and buyers. They also might visit suppliers and attend trade shows and conferences. Procurement managers work in a variety of industries, including corporations, government, and wholesalers.

Typical hours

Most procurement engineers work 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday.

Available certifications

Many institutions offer certifications to help procurement engineers prove their skills and knowledge. Here are some of the top certifications for procurement engineers: 

  • Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP). The CPP is provided by the American Purchasing Society. To be eligible, you must have at least two years of experience in purchasing. The society also obtains feedback from your coworkers and suppliers as to your professional conduct. Once accepted, you have to complete a three-week online course and pass an exam. Members of the society have to renew their certification every 5 years. If you are a non-member, you have to recertify every 2 years.  
  • Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). The CPSM is administered by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) and is designed to prove your skills in all procurement and supply-chain-related functions. If you have 3+ years of full-time supply management experience in a non-clerical or support role with a bachelor’s degree, or five years without a degree, you are eligible for certification. Topics covered include sourcing, negotiation, cost and price management, and supply chain strategy. Certification is valid for 3 years.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in procurement engineering or a related business field. Since undergraduate programs in procurement engineering are not common, many procurement engineers pursue undergraduate degrees in purchasing, supply chain management, or business administration. Although it’s not required, employers prefer job candidates who have a master’s degree in procurement engineering or a related field.

Many companies prefer procurement engineers to have coursework in accounting, inventory management, and retail management to understand bidding, processing, pricing, and inventory processes. Successful procurement engineers can move into supply chain management and director of purchasing roles.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1020

2020 Employment513,400
Projected Employment in 2030494,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 4% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift19,000 decrease

According to the industry publication Future of Sourcing, one trend in the procurement engineering field is the increasing number of digital and technological tools in the procurement space. Many products focus on creating new efficiencies in areas like spend analytics, SRM, contract management, and risk management. Thought leaders say the most useful tools will emphasize the easy access to and use of big data. Another trend in the procurement industry is the volatility in the commodity market due to shifts in trade tariffs and barriers. That means procurement engineers will need to implement processes to track suppliers and manage that volatility.