What Type of Certification Programs Are Available in Sales?

Earning certification in sales could increase your career opportunities. Keep reading to learn about sales certification programs offered through several trade organizations. Schools offering Sales & Marketing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Types of Sales Certification

Certification can serve as a testament to your expertise and credibility as a sales professional. You can find sales certification in specific fields, such as welding and pharmaceuticals, or you can pursue general sales certification through a trade organization. This article focuses on the latter, including designations offered by Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), The Sales Association and the National Association of Sales Professionals (NASP).

Important Facts About Sales Certifications

SMEI The Sales Association NASP
Common Events Online training; CMO summit; Business marketing expo Conference; Webinar; Chapter events Mostly online events and forums
Types of Memberships Free Member; Professional Member; Executive Member Individual; Two Members Same Company; Team; Company Individual Membership; Corporate Membership
Online Availability Online training courses E-Learning courses and web meetings Online training and videos
Common Associated Careers Salesperson, marketing personnel, sales manager, marketing manager Consultative salesperson Certified professional sales person


SMEI promotes ethics and continuing education in sales and marketing and boasts more than 10,000 members worldwide. SMEI's certifying body, Certified Marketing & Sales Professionals, has offered professional designations since 1987. The certification process includes an exam. Available sales certifications include the following.

  • Certified Professional Salesperson (SCPS): Sales representatives and account managers are among the professionals eligible for this designation. Core competencies in the SCPS certification program include foundation skills, planning, executing and ethics.
  • Certified Sales Executive (CSE): Intended for top-level executives and sales managers, this certification program addresses four core competency areas: organization and management, personnel, sales and marketing, and ethics. This certification also is open to sales educators and sales consultants.

The Sales Association

The Sales Association advocates professional development and networking opportunities for sales and business development professionals. Its Consultative Sales Certification program includes several steps, beginning with an online skills and knowledge assessment. Candidates then take part in an orientation meeting, where they're joined with a coach, before embarking on an e-learning program that addresses several core sales competencies. Throughout their studies, candidates complete assessments and report on how they're applying what they're learning. An impact evaluation completes the certification process.


NASP's Certified Professional Salesperson (CPSP) program involves completion of a 6-week online course that focuses on sales attitude, effort and competence. Candidates must complete an activity each day of the course (including weekends) as well as write a course summary. Established in 1991, NASP aims to assist sales professionals in networking and professional development.

Career Prospects

In May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median salary for retail salespersons at $24,200 per year. These professionals are projected to experience 2% job growth from 2016 to 2026, which is slower than average. Also in 2018, the BLS listed the median salary for sales managers at $124,220; from 2016 to 2026, sales manager positions should grow 7%, which is on par with average.

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