Woman getting her nails painted
“What is a more professional job: corporate purchasing or fingernail painting?”

Don’t miss updates on Procurement & Supply Chain, Subscribe here!

Interesting title, eh?

And, because I know the typical demographics of my readers, it is very likely that you answered “Duh, corporate purchasing!”

But is it?

Well, consider this…every state in the United States requires “nail technicians” to acquire a certain number of hours of training before they are licensed and thus allowed to work in a fingernail-painting job. Alaska requires a mere 120 hours of training. My home state of Pennsylvania requires a below-average 200 hours of training. And the pack is led by Alabama and Arkansas, which both require 750 hours of training. To paint fingernails. (source: beautyschoolsdirectory.com)

And what training is required to become a purchasing professional?


That’s the way it is. Not the way it should be.

A Spend Matters whitepaper, entitled “What Is Your Best Option? Purchasing Certification and Training Today,” notes that “research suggests that fewer than 10 percent of the procurement workforce in North America has a procurement certification or has gone through a formal degree program in supply management or a related field.”

So, 100% of nail technicians had accumulated a minimum number of hours of training before being allowed to do their jobs. And less than 10% of purchasing professionals have accumulated a minimum number of hours of training.

Who is to blame?

Well, unlike the fingernail painting “profession,” the government has left the purchasing profession in the hands of practitioners and employers. And both have almost abused that freedom by not getting training or requiring certification of purchasing job candidates.

It’s a shame. And, acquiring a purchasing certification doesn’t even require the same number of hours as the least restrictive nail technician license. As an example, the SPSM® Certification requires 44 hours of training in the six online classes that comprise the Senior Professional in Supply Management® Program.

You mean to tell me that 90% of purchasing professionals can’t spare 44 hours over six months or a year?

Or that employers are too timid to require prospective employees to have spent a piddly 44 hours of learning how to do a job that may have them spending tens of millions of dollars and evaluating products and services that might involve substantial amounts of risk?

Who else is embarrassed by this behavior in our profession?

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing Association
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
Earn Your SPSM® Certification Online At

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

More Posts