How to Become a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

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The pharmaceutical field is a multi-billion dollar industry that develops, produces, and markets a variety of prescription medications. Highly trained professionals are required to promote, market, and sell medications to healthcare practitioners. This is the job of pharmaceutical sales representatives.

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Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

In 2015, I said goodbye to 16-hour days and hauling boxes up and down stairs for a living (I was a mover). I became a full-time entrepreneur, and I made my money by helping business owners make money.

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What does a pharmaceutical sales representative do?

Pharmaceutical sales representatives are typically employed by pharmaceutical companies to distribute information about the products of their company to a variety of medical professionals. They try to persuade healthcare practitioners to prescribe more of the medications manufactured by their company. They describe the current and new products and explain what the products are designed to do and how they work. They also explain the advantages of new medications over older medications and try many tactics to convince medical personnel of why their product is better. Pharmaceutical sales representatives use a variety of sales techniques and adapt them to healthcare practitioners of different specialties. They also often leave samples of new drugs for medical professionals to give to their patients to try.

What kind of training does a pharmaceutical sales representative need?

Pharmaceutical sales representatives must have at least a high school diploma, but many have a bachelor degree in a scientific field. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must have a basic knowledge of the human body and how it is affected by medications. Some pharmaceutical sales representatives also complete courses in sales techniques, marketing, communication, and economics. Most pharmaceutical companies provide on the job training that includes intensive study and supervised fieldwork. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must stay current on the latest medical and pharmaceutical advances and often complete continuing education courses throughout their careers. They often participate in conferences, meetings, and seminars about product information.

What are the prospects for a career as a pharmaceutical sales representative?

Employment of pharmaceutical sales representatives is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Population growth and the increased demand for pharmaceuticals will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition. Pharmaceutical sales representatives with technical training and those employed by independent sales companies will have the best job prospects.

How much do pharmaceutical sales representatives make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of pharmaceutical sales representatives earn average annual salaries between $38,516 and $65,397. The top 10% earn average annual salaries of more than $71,719 (2).

A career as a pharmaceutical sales representative is a great choice for individuals who are interested in sales and the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must have pleasant personalities and appearance and the desire to sell products. They must be able to speak clearly and concisely especially under pressure. Goal orientation, perseverance, patience, persuasion, good problem solving skills, and ability to work independently and as part of a team are essential. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must also be able to handle rejection and use it as motivation for improvement.

Joshua T Osborne

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