Become a Health Products Distributor: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a health products distributor. Research the job description and education requirements, and find out how to start a career in health products distribution.

Should I Become a Health Products Distributor?

Health products distributors are responsible for marketing and selling wholesale products that have been created by health and nutrition companies. These products may include items such as nutritional supplements, weight loss aids and skin care regimens. Distributors are expected to be familiar with the products they sell to help them explain the benefits and features to potential customers, which may include physicians' offices, retail stores and individual consumers. Other common responsibilities of this profession include locating prospective clients, answering questions and staying up-to-date on the latest products and advancements in the field. Travel is often required in this sometimes competitive occupation.

Career Requirements

Degree Level No degree required for non-scientific or non-technical sales; bachelor's degree may be required for scientific and/or technical sales (such as pharmaceuticals)
Degree Field Not specific; some employers may prefer candidates who possess a degree in a field relevant to the types of products being sold; sales and marketing courses may prove helpful
Experience Often acquired through on-the-job training; previous sales experience may be beneficial and required for certain positions
Key Skills Strong customer service and interpersonal skills; confidence, persuasiveness and stamina are also good qualities to have
Salary $75,140 (2014 median salary for all sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Consider Postsecondary Education

Although many jobs in the health products distribution field require only a high school education, competitive individuals may consider completing an associate or bachelor's degree program to increase the chances of success. While sales and/or marketing degree programs may provide the skills necessary to become a proficient distributor and salesperson, degree programs relevant to the health products being sold may be beneficial as well. As representatives of the health industry, health products distributors may want to learn as much as they can about the field so they are able to provide accurate and detailed information to customers. For example, those who earn a degree in sales and/or marketing may also wish to enroll in a few health-related courses to expand their knowledge.

Step 2: Gain Sales or Marketing Experience

Prior work experience in either sales or marketing may be especially helpful, as manufacturers rely on distributors to be the local faces of their companies and communicate effectively with customers. Individuals may consider taking a part-time position in sales or marketing to increase communication skills and sales strategies. Experience can also be gained through attending seminars demonstrating effective tools used in advertising, marketing and sales.

Step 3: Become Familiar with Potential Employers' Products

Health products distributors market and distribute a wide variety of products in the health and nutrition field, such as dietary supplements, herbal medicines, weight management aids, anti-aging remedies and vitamins. Before embarking on this career path, prospective distributors may want to familiarize themselves with potential employers' catalogs, as well as research their products and services. Additionally, reading up on the latest advances as they relate to a specific company's products may also be beneficial.

Step 4: Build a Clientele

A key part of being a successful distributor of any kind is to build a solid client base. If individuals are distributing directly to consumers themselves, initial clients may be family members, friends and neighbors. Physicians' offices, retail stores, salons and other local businesses may also be good places to market and promote health products.

Success Tip

  • Consider using social media marketing. Given the immense popularity of social media, health products distributors may consider utilizing it in their marketing schemes. Promoting and advertising products via social media may increase their target audience and overall client base.

Step 5: Seek Promotions

As a health products distributor builds a solid sales reputation, opportunities for advancement arise. Promotions often result in higher commissions, and may lead to supervisory roles within a company.

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