Medical sales rep jobs will forever remain in high demand.
If you are interested in getting into medical sales, you may already be aware of the fact that the potential for a high income is huge in the field. In fact, according to Med Reps’ recent salary survey, the median total compensation for a medical sales rep is $149,544, with an average base salary of $92,698 and an average bonus of $63,318 in 2018. That means an average 68 percent increase in payout simply because of commission on making sales. The numbers are pretty crazy, right? But that doesn’t make them any less true!
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Although success in the field of medical sales can be found at every age, a Med Reps survey found that the highest earners fall between the age of 41 and 50.
In contrast, medical sales representative salary in the pharmacy market is an average of $158,818, with a base salary of $93,688 and a commission of $67,970. Meanwhile, medical sales representatives in the hospital market have an average base salary of $94,253 and a bonus of $72,199, totaling their average annual compensation to $161,216 — not too far behind the market segment of surgery/OR.
Although their annual income is quite high, medical sales reps prove that it is not just about making quick, one-time sales. Instead, their job responsibilities involve maintaining a trusting and long-lasting relationship with their clients and seeing the impact of their products through till the end to make sure they are exceeding the expectations of their clients.
Medical sales reps who sell surgical devices earn a slightly lower annual compensation of $165,962, with a base salary of $86,518 but boast an even higher average commission than that of sales reps for capital equipment at $92,856.
Meanwhile, medical sales reps of biotechnology products have a huge base salary of $112,711 and an average bonus of $55,214, bringing their total yearly compensation to $164,214 — an almost $2,000 increase from 2017. Yet again, a great commission is the reason for the continued success.
According to Med Reps, pharmaceutical sales reps boasted an average salary of $133,563 in 2018. Although this is a drop of almost $3,000 from 2017, it is because of a drop in base salary, which was estimated to be an average of $98,815. As far as bonuses are concerned, at $36,398, this is the highest average for pharmaceutical sales rep in three years.
In 2017, the average base salary was $103,082, with an average commission of $35,024, bringing the total compensation amount for pharmaceutical sales reps to $136,480. In contrast, in 2016, the average base at $93,516 was the lowest in three years, with a bonus of $35,286 — higher than 2017’s — bringing the total compensation to $128,802.
Top Earners in Pharmaceutical Sales
Sales reps in pharmaceuticals take home a significantly high paycheck at $128,482, with a base salary of $95,550 and a bonus of $35,015. Those in specialty pharma take home a yearly compensation of $142,093, with a base salary of $104,221 and a commission of $37,872.
These high earnings are based on various factors:
Experience: Pharmaceutical reps with less than 2 years of experience can earn a base salary of $69,711; however, if you persist, after 10 years, you can experience a jump of $36,000. Those who have an experience of 11 to 20 years can earn as much as $140,797, which is approximately $47,000 more than an entry-level pharmaceutical sales rep can make.
Professional level: Unsurprisingly, senior-level pharmaceutical sales reps earn more than twice as much as entry-level sales reps. Sales directors or vice presidents can take home as much as $245,000 in average yearly compensation while entry-level pharmaceutical sales reps earn about $88,727. Sales managers can take home as much as $191,000 in total compensation.
Company Size: Large companies have the money to pay more; their average base salary is $104,075 while their total compensation package is $39,451. However, those in smaller organizations still take home six-figure salaries and it is estimated that their average bonuses are $10,000 higher than big or medium-sized companies.
Company Type: Although manufacturers pay the highest average base salary at $103,989, distributors pay the most when it comes to the average bonus ($39,698).
Travel: Although most pharmaceutical sales reps do not travel overnight for work, those who do earn a much higher total compensation. Sales reps who travel half the time earn an average compensation of $174,641, which is $50,000 more than those sales reps who don’t travel.
Gender: The gender pay gap in the pharmaceutical sales industry is the smallest gap in the medical sales industry. Women get an average compensation of $125,117, which is 90 percent of what the average male sales rep make.
According to a 2018 survey, medical device sales reps witness a drop of almost $2,000 from 2017, which lead to a lower average total compensation of $152,250. However, their bonus increased to $62,979, which is the second-highest in three years.
In 2017, the average base salary was the highest in three years at $95,257, but the average commission was slightly lower than the 2018’s at $62,197, resulting in total compensation at $154,130. Meanwhile, in 2016, the total compensation was $147,587, with a base salary of $87,916 and a commission of $63,617.
There are several factors which result in a higher medical device sales salary:
Experience: It has been observed that the more time a sales rep spends in the fields, the higher their compensation and other benefits. People who have worked in the industry for 20 years make an average base salary of $126,250, with total compensation of $184,767. That means they earn over $87,500 more than what entry-level medical sales reps make.
Professional level: Again, leadership skills have a much larger payout. Medical device sales managers earn an average of $179,074, which means over $35,000 more than field sales reps.
Company Size: Large companies offer a whopping average of $159,170 to their medical sales reps. Interestingly, small sales companies are not that far behind with a $155,382 average compensation. That’s because small companies offer a higher base salary of $112,125, which is $18,647 more than what big companies offer.
Company Type: At $94,899 base salary and total compensation of $159,630, manufacturers are seen to offer the highest annual income, with distributors trailing behind with a compensation of $142,000 and service providers with a compensation of $113,700.
Travel: Medical device sales reps have to be on the road a lot of times. Stats show that medical sales reps who spent 75 percent of time traveling earn the highest total compensation of $162,923. Compared to the compensation of $116,019 earned by those medical device sales reps who don’t travel, that’s almost a $47,000 difference!
Gender: The continued wage inequality between men and women in medical device sales cannot be denied. Women earn an average total compensation of $136,744, which is more than $22,000 less than what their male coworkers earn at $158,940. The lower total compensation reflects the lower base salary and low bonuses earned by women. Meanwhile, only 17 percent of women hold management and executive-level titles like marketing or sales manager, director, or VP in medical device sales.
While the base salary went down by almost $3,000 in 2018, annual commission spiked by nearly $7,000, bringing the total compensation to $164,214 – the second-highest in three years.
In 2017, the base salary on average was $115,545, with total compensation of $162,544. In 2016, the total compensation was the lowest in three years at just $107,874. However, with a whopping average bonus of $58,655, the average compensation totaled up to $165,028.
Here are some of the factors that result in higher earnings:
Experience: Base salaries and bonuses steadily increase as medical sales representatives earn more experience. Those who have put 20 years in the field of biotech sales earn a stunning 68 percent more in total compensation than medical sales reps who have been in the industry for only 2 years.
Professional Level: Leadership skills play a big role in biotech sales compensation, as well. Sales management pros earn over $20,000 more in base salary as well as greater average bonuses than sales reps.
Company Size: Large biotech companies offer the most in total compensation at $169,137. However, working in small and medium biotech sales companies means big boons as well. Biotech sales reps who work in small companies earn the highest average base salary at $119,154, while those who work in mid-sized companies earn the highest average commissions at $62,558.
Company Type: The large majority of biotech sales reps work for large manufacturers which pay the highest base salary at $115,211. However, the average commission and total compensation are both larger with distributors and service providers.
Travel: Even a relatively small amount of travel earns higher income for a biotech sales rep. Those representatives who travel just 25 percent of the time earn a total compensation of $168,098, which is $20,000 more than what sales reps who don’t travel earn.
Gender: The pay gap between genders is quite large with female biotech sales reps earning a total compensation of only $148,060 to their male counterparts’ $174,007. What’s even more distressing is that while men make over $7,000 more than women when it comes to base salary, they also make almost a startling $20,000 more in average bonuses than women, who only earn an average commission of $43,494.
According to MedReps, medical equipment sales reps earned over $21,000 in average bonus since 2017, despite the fact that their base salary dropped by almost $1,000. Because of the stunning average commission, the average compensation increased by over $16,000 and totaled to $167,544 in comparison to 2017’s $151,882.
Medical equipment earnings were influenced by several aspects:
Experience: Medical equipment sales reps enjoy an almost $50,000 boost after working for two decades in the field, taking home $116,915, as compared to the $65,714 compensation that they took in their first two years. Medical equipment sales reps also see an average of $97,259 in bonuses between 11 and 20 years of working in the field.
Professional level: Sales managers take home $211,308 in average compensation, which is $50,000 more than what sales representatives make.
Company Size: Predictably, sales reps in large companies earn the most average bonus and total compensation at $102,928 and $182,118 respectively. However, mid-size companies pay the biggest average base salary at $90,470 and are the second-highest when it comes to paying total compensation ($163,271).
Company Type: Distributors pay more than service providers when it comes to average base salary, commission and total compensation at $79,323, $83,556 and $151,861 respectively. However, manufacturers win out in all three categories; their employees enjoy an average base salary that is $10,000 more than what distributors pay. Their average commission at $92,277 is more than the double of what service providers pay at $43,200.
Travel: Interestingly, medical equipment sales reps who don’t travel take home an average of $102,200 in bonuses, which is more than reps who travel sometimes take. However, those who travel just 50 percent of the time, earn $186,689 in average total compensation.
Gender: About 83 percent of medical equipment sales personnel say gender does not impact their income, even though wage inequality is the biggest in this category. This may be because women only make up only 4 percent of the management and executive positions in the field.
However, 2017 and 2016 did not fare badly at all in terms of total compensation, with 2017 showing an average of $161,492 and 2016 showing an average of $163,654, the second-highest of the three years.
This is what impacted the sales personnel high earnings:
Experience: Surgical sales reps who have been in the field for over 20 years earned total compensation of $192,232, which is a whopping $105,000 more than what entry-level medical sales reps earn.
Professional level: People in surgical sales management teams earn over $38,000 more in base salary than sales representatives.
Company Size: Large companies have been observed to reward the highest compensation to surgical sales reps at $170,348. However, it is the sales reps working in small companies that earn the highest base salary at $95,176. Meanwhile, mid-sized companies offer only $2,000 less than large companies.
Company Type: Although distributors and service providers offer the highest base salaries in the surgical sales field, manufacturers are the ones that award the highest average bonus at $95,115, which pushes the total compensation to the top at $170,348.
Travel: Surprisingly enough, those who travel the most don’t end up getting the highest compensation on average. Surgical sales reps who travel only 50 percent of the time get the highest compensation at $180,538, with a base of $109,076 and a commission of $72,825.
Gender: Female surgical sales reps earn less in all three categories of base, bonus, and total compensation than their male counterparts. Women earn only $64,639 in bonus, while men earn $97,992. That’s a total of over $33,353 in the gap in commissions. Overall, women earn $29,000 less than men in this field.
In fact, small companies have a surprisingly high average base salary of $91,911, which is almost the same as what medium-sized companies offer at $91,924 and only a little below what large companies offer at $93,913.
The biggest gap comes in regards to average bonuses and commission. While medical sales reps in large companies make $65,235, those in small companies bring in $58,201.
As more and more medical sales reps are starting to consider a healthy work-life balance, small companies have a strong edge to attract and keep top sales talent.
In fact, those who just have 2 to 5 years of experience report earning a base salary of $76,161 and a bonus of $58,608. In just 6 to 10 years, employees can make an average of $155,249, with their bonus peaking at $74,775, the highest in their lifetime.
In 11 to 20 years, those medical sales reps will have the potential to earn a base salary of $102,853 and a bonus of $69,688 on average.
- Medical insurance
- Expense account
- Car allowance
- Company car
- Gas card
- 401K with matching
- Stock purchase plans
- Profit sharing
About 73 percent of field sales reps who earn an average of $145,257 or sales director or VPs who earn an average of $233,387 are somewhat to very satisfied with their job.
About 86 percent medical sales pros said having health benefits and about 73 percent said having expense accounts, help them excel in their jobs.
When it comes to the highest income, biotech sales professional get the top dollar. On average, employees in the field earn about $165,028 in a year. Although most medical sales reps earn the majority of their pay through bonuses, biotech sales pros earn the bulk of their income with their base salaries, which is an average of $107,876.
Biotech sales pros work with complex products which are very high in demand, and as such, you need to have a high level of expertise if you are looking to sell them. Because of this, it would be wise for entry-level medical sales reps to get at least 5 years of experiencing before dipping their toes into the biotech segment. Earning a degree in science can also help you gain knowledge as well as make you appear more credible to employers.
You also need to show you have a proven history of strong relationships with clients, an excellent sales record, and industry knowledge.
Surgical Devices Sale
In the medical sales field, surgical device sales do not lag far behind biotech sales with an average total payout of $163,654. Unlike biotech sales rep, surgical device sales reps earn most of their income through their commission and bonuses which average up to $94,783. A factor which contributes to their high pay scale and gives them an edge over other segments is that they spend a lot of time working in the OR.
Since these sales reps spend a lot of time working with surgeons and clinicians, many employers look for people who not just have a great sales record but also a clinical background.
In addition, you need to gain as much industry experience as you can, as well as know about the company you are applying to. Know their customer base, understand their products, familiarize yourself with competing products and learn about the surgical procedures the products are used in. The more information you have, the more valuable potential employers will find you.
Capital/Durable Medical Equipment Sales
The third highest-earning job spot goes to the capital and durable medical equipment sales segment. This product segment offers an average total compensation of $152,199 each year as well as a base salary of 81,840 and bonuses and commissions of $78,031.
Even though capital and durable medical equipment sales take a long time to fall through, when they do, you can expect a windfall. To get this job, you need to have a proven record of strong interpersonal and communication skills to show your value to medical directors, pharmacists, physicians and other medical equipment providers. Before taking the interview, become an expert on your potential employers’ products. Also, practice your interviewing skills as it can show whether you work well under pressure.
Health IT and Software Sales
A few years ago, the health software segment made its way to the very top of the list of the highest-paying job in the medical sales field. It has now dropped to fourth place but still remains a very highly-paid segment. Medical sales reps who work in the health IT and software field make $149,985 each year.
Having a background in information technology or software can make it easier to break into this field. Since these jobs require more specialized knowledge it is good to start with a small firm where you can learn the nitty-gritty of the industry. You won’t get a pay as high as you would get in larger firms but you need to prioritize getting the right experience in this field. Once you have spent a few years with small and medium-sized companies, you can jump onto better opportunities and start earning big money.
Medical Device Sales
The fifth position for the best-paying jobs in the industry goes to medical device sales. There are several varieties of devices in the industry, but medical devices sales pros on average earn $147,857 each year.
The most important requirement to get into this field is a proven sales record. Regardless of what product niche you may have worked in previously, you will need to show your potential employers that you have strong sales numbers to back your CV. However, even with great sales skills, you will still need to get years of experience and specialized knowledge to work your way up to the salary package you expect.
Take out a few years to gain the right kind of experience and you will find yourself earning top dollar in the medical sales field.
Though medical sales reps have challenging jobs, with the right experience, skill-set and a thirst for knowledge, they are achieving great success and advancement.