Our career coaches at Breaking Into Device have worked with hundreds of candidates looking to break into the industry. In doing so, our coaches documented a list of frequently asked questions and answers candidates have when exploring the career path.
We’ve segmented this Q&A guide into four sections:
We hope this will provide you with an inside look into the requirements for a career in medical sales, the day-to-day role, and how to position yourself to succeed in the process.
In this section, we’ll address the common questions around the degree requirements and medical sales certifications for an entry level role:
Most medical sales representatives have an undergraduate degree in business. Other popular majors include biology, health sciences, and kinesiology. This is based on our data from surveying over 500+ Associate Sales Representatives.
It is important to note that your major is not critically important. Medical sales companies prioritize the quality of your work experience over your major.
Most medical sales representatives hold an undergraduate degree; however, based on our research, it is possible to land an entry level role with an associates degree.
While it is not required, we highly recommend that candidates looking to break into medical sales get certified in OR Protocol, Bloodborne Pathogens, HIPAA, MRI and Radiation Safety, and Patient Safety. These are certifications will help boost your resume and LinkedIn with relevant certifications. Furthermore, all sales representatives need these certifications prior to entering a hospital.
These online certifications are included in the Breaking Into Device All-In Course.
We’ll cover how to get started in medical sales and address common training:
Most medical sales professionals enter the industry with 0 to 5 years of experience in a sales, marketing, or clinical role. They break into the industry at an entry level role as an Associate or Junior Sales Consultant. They will typically spend between 6 months to 2.5 years until a promotion to a sales representative.
There is no set time for becoming a medical sales representative. Most sales representatives break into the industry as an Associate or Junior Sales Consultant between the ages of 22 - 30. They typically spend between 6 months to 2.5 years in this role before being promoted to a sales representative.
It depends on the specialty and on the company that you work for. Most companies provide you with essential training on the types of devices that you sell and anatomy for 2 weeks prior to entering the field. Additional training throughout your time as an Associate Sales Representative is frequently provided every six months. No formal training is required to actually land a role.
There are five types of Orthopedic medical sales specialties: Trauma and Extremities, Spine, Sports Medicine, Joint Reconstruction and Replacement, and Craniomaxillofacial.
In this section, we’ll answer frequently asked questions that candidates have about the day-to-day of a medical sales rep:
Medical sales representatives are responsible for prospecting for physicians, managing inventory, attending surgeries, advising surgeons and staff, and processing purchase orders. They are responsible for understanding the mechanics of their device and how the use of the medical device provides the best clinical outcome for the patient.
Medical sales reps frequently attend surgery. The number of surgeries that the representative attends on a daily basis depends on their specialty. For example, reps in Trauma & Extremities are in the OR multiple times a day while reps in Urology may attend surgery a few times a week.
Medical device sales reps advise the surgeon on how to appropriately use the medical device on the patient to ensure optimal clinical outcomes. This includes ensuring that the devices are in place prior to the surgery and communicating with the surgeon and staff.
The number of hours a medical sales rep works per week depends on the specialty. On one extreme, representatives in Trauma & Extremities typically work 60 - 70 hours per week and are on-call every other weekend. Contrast that to representatives in Ear, Nose, and Throat, who typically work 50 hours per week and are not on-call.
Medical sales representatives do not frequently travel outside of his or her territory. The size of the territory depends on the region and specialty. For example, a territory may be Downtown Chicago, IL or the greater Hartford, CT area.
In this section, we’ll address everyone’s favorite topic: compensation:
The average entry level medical sales representative makes $68,217 per year. The highest paid entry level role is at Intuitive Surgical with an average total compensation package of $85,258. The lowest paid entry level role is at Arthrex with an average total compensation package of $52,166. Compensation packages increase to an average of $155,358 per year upon promotion to a sales representative.
Based on our sample of Comparably™ data for the top 10 medical device companies, the average yearly total compensation is $155,358. The average base medical device salary is $94,918 and the bonus commission is $60,440 in 2021, making the commission percentage you earn 38% of your total compensation.
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