Medical Representative Career Growth

Aug 30, 2019

Medical representatives have their feet in both the sales and healthcare fields, working with medical staff to provide products and services. Several career options in the sales and marketing fields are available to this versatile professional.

Career Opportunities for Medical Representatives

Medical representatives sell products that serve the medical field. They are experts in both the sales process and in the medical and technical aspects of their products. A clear understanding of the healthcare industry as it relates to their products, as well as the ability to communicate to a variety of professionals on their level, are common qualifications for this role. Medical representatives looking for a career change have several options, depending on their background, strengths, and interests. Four are examined here, including requirements for each.

Job Title Median Annual Salary Job Growth (2016-26)*** Qualifications
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative $78,392 (2019)* 5% (Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products) Bachelor's in marketing or similar; pharmaceutical regulations & medical vocabulary knowledge; previous sales experience
Biomedical Sales Engineer $101,015 (2018)** 7% (sales engineers) Technology and sales experience; sales training; bachelor's in engineering possibly required
Sales Manager $124,220 (2018)*** 7% Several years of sales experience; bachelor's in marketing or similar possibly required
Market Research Analyst $63,120 (2018)*** 23% Bachelor's in market research or similar; master's degree possibly required

Sources: *, **, ***U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Medical representatives who specialize in pharmaceuticals are known as pharmaceutical sales representatives. These sales specialists are responsible for identifying possible new clients, such as physicians, pharmacists, medical facility management, and other healthcare professionals. Other general responsibilities include creating and maintaining sales accounts, handling orders, and communicating their companies' branding message. A pharmaceutical sales representative must have thorough knowledge of the pharmaceutical arena and be able to address issues such as client concerns and the development of competing products. Strong presentation skills and a consistently professional demeanor are vital. Pharmaceutical sales representatives must also have a working understanding of computer and tablet technology and be able to meet the physical demands of traveling, walking, and standing that this job often requires. Common qualifications include a bachelor's degree in marketing or similar, current knowledge of pharmaceutical regulations, a strong medical vocabulary, and previous sales experience.

Biomedical Sales Engineer

A medical representative with experience in the biomedical industry may move into the role of biomedical sales engineer. Biomedical sales engineers are responsible for the business-to-business sale of complex biomedical technology products. They have a thorough understanding of their products, and they collaborate with both customers and biomedical engineers in order to determine that system designs meet specific client needs. Many of their daily responsibilities are like those of a medical representative, including building a client base, giving presentations, and completing sales. Biomedical sales engineers also go beyond customer sales and service. They can aid engineers in product development and perform market research. While some employers may seek applicants with a bachelor's in engineering or a similar field, others are more interested in an employee with a strong combination of technical knowledge and sales experience regardless of degree. Sales training is a common requirement, and biomedical sales engineers are expected to continue their training and education throughout their careers in order to stay up to date with their markets.

Sales Manager

Experienced medical representatives can also seek advancement as sales managers. Sales managers oversee territories, set sales goals, and conduct hiring and training for a company's sales staff. They work alongside other departments such as marketing and research in order to assure the continued relevance and demand of the products being sold. Sales managers also maintain relationships with distributors and monitor product availability. Some employers expect a sales manager to have a bachelor's degree in marketing or similar, though this is not always required. Several years of experience in sales is a consistent qualification.

Market Research Analyst

An affinity for market research and analytics can spur a medical representative on toward the in-demand job of market research analyst. More of a backend role within the sales field, a market research analyst studies the market in order to determine the potential success of a product. Market research analysts gather and analyze data in order to forecast sales trends. Companies use market research analysts to determine product marketability, appropriate price points, and marketing strategies. An understanding of statistical analysis and statistics software is necessary for this role. Analysts often come to the job with a bachelor's in market research or similar, or a background in business and communications. Market research analysts in technical fields may have a master's degree in an area of marketing or statistics. A Professional Researcher Certification is available, but not necessarily required.

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