How Do I Become a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?

Perhaps you're interested in the sciences, but you also like meeting and talking to people, as well as traveling during your workday. Ever thought of becoming a pharmaceutical sales representative? Schools offering Sales Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Pharmaceutical companies hire sales representatives who travel to prospective clients' offices to generate sales of the company's drug lines. Sales representatives, sometimes called sales reps or pharm reps, may be required to keep track of and analyze their sales statistics and submit reports at regular intervals. They may have to make their own appointments and plan their travel itinerary, as well as turning in their expenses to be reimbursed. Your primary job is marketing. However, you may help your clients go through their supply of products to isolate and discard outdated drugs.

Important Facts About Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives

Median Salary (May 2014)$75,140 for sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products
Job Outlook (2014-24)7% increase
Professional CertificationCNPR Pharmaceutical Sales Training through the National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Reps (NAPSR)
Similar OccupationsAdvertising sales agent, purchasing agent, retail sales, sales engineers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

As a pharmaceutical sales rep, you are expected to understand the products you sell and their uses. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, notes that you'll likely need a degree if you want to sell technical or scientific products. An aspiring pharmaceutical sales rep may earn a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences or pharmaceutical sales. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) in pharmaceutical marketing or management may be beneficial if you wish to advance to a supervisory role.

You may also fashion your own degree program by taking courses in biology, business, dietetics, public health, management, pharmacy, chemistry, nutritional science, and communications. Consider taking training in computers, obtaining an internship or a related job, like as a pharmacy technician, and attending sales seminars. Once you are hired, your company may offer an in-house training program where you learn about the company's line of pharmaceutical products.

Experience and Skill Requirements

Most of a pharmaceutical sales rep's job involves making sales presentations to healthcare professionals, one-on-one or in large groups. This will require you to be comfortable talking and giving information to people, as well as asking for a sale.

If you already have sales experience, you may have an advantage when applying for pharmaceutical sales positions. The BLS points out that employers look for job candidates who are persuasive and communicate well, skills that are often learned through practice. Other desirable skills include persistence, assertiveness, and leadership, along with good writing, time management, and interpersonal communications skills.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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