Career Planning

Career Profile: Pharmaceutical Sales

Are you thinking about a career in pharmaceutical sales? Learn more.

November 22, 2011

Career Profile: Pharmaceutical Sales
Job Description Hit the ground running and excel in a profession that’s for self-motivators. “Basically you’re running your own business,” says one rep, who received intense sales and product training and spends his time educating doctors about assessing breast-cancer risk. Besides being self-starters, pharmaceutical reps must be good at following up and deciding where to focus their time and efforts. In a typical day, a rep makes several calls to hospitals, HMOs, doctors’ offices and pharmacies. Median Salary
$61,374 – $109,014 including commission. (United States) The exact figure depends on location, specialty and company, but an experienced pharma sales rep can expect to earn somewhere in the low six figures with commission. Education Requirements Most pharmaceutical companies require that reps have a college degree. Some companies weigh previous marketing or healthcare-industry experience heavily, although clinical skills alone won’t get you hired. “The most important qualifications are people skills, such as tact and diplomacy,” explains Corey Nahman, who has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. “Science can be learned, but people skills can’t be learned.” Job Outlook Pharmaceutical sales jobs vary from state to state; however, job numbers for pharma reps are expected to increase by 26% from 2006-2016.

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