Working in Public Procurement | NIGP
Become a Public Procurement Professional

Working in Public Procurement

What is Public Procurement?

  • Public procurement refers to the purchase of any goods or services required to sustain communities.
  • Public procurement professionals are public servants who work everyday to make life better for people in their communities–whether it's a small township, a county, a major metro area, or an entire state or province.

Think about this:  How do roads become roads? How are public parks, schools, libraries, and water treatment facilities established and maintained? How is water and electricity provided to commercial buildings and private residences? How does a community provide for emergency response to a natural or man-made catastrophe?

The answer to all these questions is the same: through public procurement.

Public procurement operates at every level of society and within every government entity, from the local level to the federal level.

Where Can I Direct Additional Questions?

We're excited about your interest in pursuing a career in public procurement and would be happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Simply email or give us a call at 800-367-6447.

Why Choose a Career in Public Procurement?

Having the ability to serve your community and influence its direction are two primary reasons people choose a career in public procurement. In addition, procurement professionals experience a wide variety of opportunities and are faced with unique challenges that require them to build and develop an array of skills, from technical skills to business and strategic thinking skills, to leadership and influencing skills. It's a career like no other.


Public procurement is rarely boring because there are so many different projects that you can handle throughout your career. Over the course of a procurement career, you may have the opportunity to purchase everything from IT infrastructure and mass transit systems to syringes for injecting giraffes and elephants with vital medicine. You'll be exposed to business operations and market segments across the economic spectrum that you may have otherwise never heard of, much less engaged with directly.


To excel in public procurement, you need to develop a broad base of skills and knowledge, and then work diligently to strengthen your abilities. In your role as a government procurement agent you will wear many hats. You will have the opportunity to be a strategic business person, establishing contractual relationships that leverage your buying power; a shrewd negotiator who understands how to achieve win-win solutions for both the agency and the supplier; a money manager who ensures that public funds are used in the best way possible; a visionary who creates meaningful change for the good of the community now and in the years to come; and a champion of the public you serve, ensuring that tax dollars are spent responsibly and in the best interest of the community.

Public Service

The majority of people who go into public procurement do so because they want to serve the best interests of the public. Public procurement professionals are custodians of public trust. They champion and protect the taxpayer at all times. In order to be a successful public procurement professional you must be dedicated to ethical practices and believe that government can make a positive difference in the communities they govern through best practices.


Public procurement professionals are uniquely positioned to influence the way that government works to meet the goals of the community through the political process. While politicians may approve the building of roads, procurement professionals have influence on how the road is built. For example, they may identify that the road should be constructed using recycled materials and opt to install eco-friendly lighting or solar powered traffic signals in order to best meet the needs of the communities they serve.

There are over 130,000 individual federal, state, and local governments agencies.

There are job opportunities available at every level of public procurement.
Special Districts

What is the Benefit of Being Certified in Procurement?

Obtaining procurement certification is vital for all agencies across the country. Becoming a well-trained certified procurement professional ensures that you are able to maximize value for the entity you serve, which can give you an edge when you are applying for an open position or being considered for a promotion. 

Are There a Lot of Jobs in the Public Procurement Sector?

The short answer is yes. In December 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) workforce projections report projected that the 2012–2022 period would experience 3.9 million more people leaving the work force than during the previous 10 year period. That increase is largely due to aging and retirement, which will open up opportunities for individuals who want to start a career in procurement.

What Skills and Knowledge Do I Need to Begin a Successful Career in Public Procurement?

In order to be successful as a public procurement professional, you should have the following skills and knowledge:

  • Strong problem solving skills
  • A commitment to ethical practice and personal integrity
  • An eagerness to serve, be challenged, and grow professionally
  • An ability to work collaboratively to find new solutions to community challenges
  • An undergraduate degree in business, public administration, or related course of study