Pharmaceutical Rep Schooling Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a pharmaceutical representative, read on to learn what education is required for the career as well as what courses to expect, certification procedures, and job responsibilities. Schools offering Healthcare Management & Public Safety Leadership degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Degree Requirements to Become a Pharmaceutical Rep?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that a bachelor's degree may not be necessary to work as a pharmaceutical sales rep, but it can improve your employment opportunities. Many employers prefer to hire applicants who have obtained a bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences, as well as sales and marketing. The pharmaceutical company that you work for may also offer additional training to help you become accustomed to products, practices and client needs.

Education Expectations Bachelor's degree in pharmaceutical sciences, or sales and marketing are not required, but often preferred
Common Courses Pharmacology, dosage principles, and drug discoveries and mechanisms
Certification CNPR certificate is offered by the NAPSRx through an exam
Job Duties Selling pharmaceutical products, traveling, maintaining knowledge of products

What Courses Can I Expect in a Pharmaceutical Sciences Bachelor's Program?

If you enroll in a pharmaceutical sciences bachelor's degree program, you'll take general education courses with a science and math focus. As you progress through the program, classes will focus on pharmaceutical science topics like drug discoveries and mechanisms, pharmacology, dosage principles and regulatory measures. A bachelor's degree program can teach you how the drugs you will be selling are manufactured, processed, regulated and used. Internships can allow you to explore the pharmaceutical industry firsthand. For example, you may train in a laboratory, or you may spend your internship focusing on drug manufacturing and distribution.

What Certification Opportunities Can I Find?

The National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (NAPSRx) offers a certification option that can award you with the title of Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative (CNPR) and allow you to apply for entry-level positions. Certification requires the successful completion of a multiple-choice examination.

Pharmaceutical sales certificate programs can prepare you to apply for certification with the NAPSRx. These programs can provide a more flexible schooling option for those who don't want to pursue a traditional degree program. Some certificate programs are offered online, which can allow you to complete the program even while traveling. In many cases, all you need is a reliable Internet connection and regular email access.

Certificate programs will train you on the inner workings of pharmaceutical representation by explaining industry regulations, important pharmaceutical terms, selling techniques and how to work with government agencies like Medicare. A certificate program can also enhance your selling skills in a hospital setting by providing instruction on how to use sales materials and adhere to hospital drug sampling regulations.

What Tasks Are Pharmaceutical Reps Required to Perform?

Pharmaceutical representatives work for drug and supply companies to provide and sell products to doctor's offices and hospitals. Much of the job is spent traveling, locally or beyond, because representatives must remain in direct contact with the locations they sell to. In order to work as a pharmaceutical rep, you'll need to hold detailed knowledge of the product you're selling and exercise strong communication skills when meeting with customers. You'll also need to be patient with your clients, since some transactions may take a long time to complete.

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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