How to Become a Category Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a Category Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Category Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Category Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Category Manager

If you're considering starting your Category Manager career path, it's important to note the skills, qualifications, and time it takes to become a professional Category Manager and how to advance your career path. Below are the steps generally required to begin and advance your Category Manager career.

Earn a Degree

To begin your Category Manager career path, a Bachelor's Degree in Business or a related field is usually necessary in order to remain a competitive option for employers. Focus on industry-specific skill development during your education in order to be properly equipped when applying for entry-level positions and entering the job force. A Category Manager internship may be required to earn your Bachelor's Degree and acquire necessary on-the-job skills before entering the workforce.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Category Manager?

83% of people working as a Category Manager earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be a Category Manager?

  • Excellent Communication
  • Negotiation
  • EXCEL Access
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Powerpoint
  • Public Speaking
  • Leadership
  • Willingness to LEARN
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Category Manager in the United States.

Choose a Specialty in Your Field

As an Category Manager, you may be required to choose a specialty within your field. Determine which part of the Category Manager field you feel strongest in, and continue taking active steps toward growing in your chosen Category Manager specialty.

Get an Entry-Level Position as a Category Manager

Once you've acquired a Bachelor's Degree in Business or a related field, you'll typically begin your career as an entry-level Category Manager. In general, you can become a Category Manager after completing your 4 year Bachelor's Degree in a related discipline. Depending on the type of Category Manager role you’re pursuing, you may want to explore certification in certified purchasing manager.

Advance in Your Category Manager Career

Following entry-level, there are several Category Manager career path levels to advance into. It can take 2 years as an entry-level Category Manager to progress to the senior category manager position. Each advanced Category Manager position requires approximately 2 years of experience at each level to advance in your Category Manager career path. It may be necessary to receive additional education, an advanced degree such as a Master's Degree in a related field, or special certifications in order to advance your Category Manager career path.

Continued Education for Your Category Manager Career Path

Not all industries and companies require continued education to advance your Category Manager career path. However, earning this degree may help you advance to higher-earning positions more quickly. Earning a Graduate Degree in Business can take 4 years to complete. People that have earned their Graduate Degree typically make $141,854 compared to $62,013 for those without that type of degree.

Category Manager Career Path

Category Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$107K - $173K /yrMost Likely Range
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47% advanced to

Senior Category Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$124K - $197K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Category Manager

5 - 7Years of Experience
$90K - $139K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Category Manager Career Path

Category Manager I
Category Manager
Senior Category Manager
Sales Manager
Lead Category Manager
Senior Manager of Sales
Principal Category Manager
Associate Director of Sales
Director of Sales
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Related Careers in the Operations Industry

Interested in other Operations careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Category Manager skills. Discover some of the most common Category Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Digital Marketing Manager
0% skills overlap
24% transitioned to Digital Marketing Manager