Academic journal article International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management

An Overview of Certification Programs in the Purchasing and Materials Management Field

Academic journal article International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management

An Overview of Certification Programs in the Purchasing and Materials Management Field

Article excerpt

An Overview of Certification Programs in the Purchasing and Materials Management Field

During the past thirty years, a number of major professional associations in the purchasing and materials management field have developed professional certification programs. These organizations have continued to keep pace with the needs of the profession. This article provides an overview of the major certification programs and identifies changes made during recent years. The features analyzed focus on the critical requirements for certification--education, experience, examinations, professional contributions, costs, and recertification. The author also reviews the key elements of each program and analyzes the major changes made in each during the past five years.


During the past quarter of a century or so, professionals in the fields of purchasing, materials management, and logistics have witnessed the continued development and refinement of a variety of professional certification programs. This surge in professional certification has stimulated a need for programs that "measure up" and comply with rigorous standards. The responsibility for designing and controlling these programs has been assumed by the various professional groups that represent the different segments of the purchasing, materials management, and logistics fields. These professional organizations constantly review their certification materials and requirements, and compare them with actual practices in their areas of activity. The objective is to ensure that the quality, relevancy, and currency of the programs meet the needs of the profession.

The organizations included in this study are the National Association of Purchasing Management, Inc.; National Institute of Governmental Purchasing Inc.; National Association of State Purchasing Officials, Inc.; American Production and Inventory Control Society, Inc.; National Contract Management Association, Inc.; and The Society of Logistics Engineers. Appendix A contains a list of the key certification administrators in these organizations, along with their addresses. A study of the literature furnished by these professional organizations has served as the key resource material for the development of this article. The organizations and their programs are described in the following pages.


NAPM's certification program, established in 1974, designates as Certified Purchasing Managers (C.P.M.) individuals who meet its rigid testing and experience standards. Applications for certification are evaluated on the basis of the following criteria: (1) five years' experience in purchasing/materials management, or a four-year degree from a recognized college or university plus three years of practical professional experience; (2) the passing of four examinations (a total of seven hours); and (3) the earning of 70 C.P.M. points--acquired through educational experience, practical experience, specified contributions to the purchasing profession, and the examinations. As of September 1991, 19,363 C.P.M. certificates had been issued.[1]

The C.P.M. program has officially been accepted as the professional standard for eight other purchasing/materials management professional groups.[2] These organizations are the California Association of Public Purchasing Officers (C.A.P.P.O.); National Association of Educational Buyers (N.A.E.B.); National Purchasing Institute (N.P.I.); Insurance Company and Bank Purchasing Management Association (I.C.B.P.M.A.); Pacific North West Public Purchasing Association (P.N.W.P.P.A.); Carolinas' Association of Governmental Purchasing (C.A.G.P.); National Minority Suppliers Development Council (N.M.S.D.C.); and Newspaper Publishing Management Association (N.P.M.A.).

Since 1984, NAPM and the Purchasing Management Association of Canada have agreed to recognize each other's certifications on a reciprocal basis, and certificate holders receive respective designations upon permanent change of residency. …

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