A question that we commonly get from candidates looking to break into medical device sales is, "What are the Different Medical Device Sales Specialities?"
Before you start applying to roles and networking, you need to have a clear answer to this question. You should only be targeting 1-3 medical device sales specialties in the application process.
Why? You need to concentrate your research and networking efforts to achieve the best outcome. The medical device field is complex: a trauma sales representative's day-to-day looks markedly different than that of a urology sales representative. The procedures are different, the products are different, and the amount of time spent in the operating room is different. Focus on really understanding these intricacies for each speciality you target.
We put together a short six-question path finder quiz that will help you narrow down your search. We'll provide you with a recommendation(s) at the end based on how you respond to the questions.
The quiz asks you questions on your preference in the following areas:
Here are the main specialties in the medical device sales industry:
A Trauma and Extremities representative sells implants and products to treat bone fractures. Extremities are defined as arms and legs. Common products sold are plates and screws.
Sales Representatives in trauma work long hours (between 6:30AM - 9:30PM) and are typically on call every other weekend. While the hours are long, Trauma representatives at top companies tend to earn between $175K - $325K. Trauma representatives are in the action — they are in surgeries daily advising surgeons on how to use the products.
The top device companies in trauma are: DePuy Synthes, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, Smith & Nephew, Acumed, and Arthrex.
A Spine representative sells implants and products to treat spine ailments spanning from the occiput to the pelvis. Products include: interspinous stabilization devices, disks, plates, and screws.
Sales Representatives in spine work relatively long hours (between 6:30AM - 7PM) and are typically on call every other weekend. Trauma and Cardiovascular specialties tend to work longer hours. Top spine reps can earn between $200K - $350K. These reps are often in surgeries advising the surgeons on how to properly implant the devices.
The top device companies in spine are: Medtronic, NuVasive, DePuy Synthes, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, and Globus Medical.
A Sports Medicine representative sells implants and products to service the knee, shoulder, hip, and small joints. The injuries treated are primarily the result of sports-related injuries. Products include: sutures, anchors, pins, and repair systems.
Sales Representatives in Sports Medicine have great work-life balance compared to other specialties in the field. The typical day starts at 7:30AM then concludes at 6PM. Reps can earn between $175K - $275K. These reps are often in surgeries advising the surgeons on how to properly implant the devices.
The top device companies in sports medicine are: Arthrex, Smith & Nephew, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, DJO Medical, and DePuy Synthes.
A Joint Reconstruction and Replacement sales representative sells implants and products to help repair and restore the function of a joint, for example, knee, shoulder, hip. Reps sell various replacement systems for the hip, knee, ankle, should, and elbow.
Sales Representatives in Joint Reconstruction work long hours (between 6:30AM - 9:30PM) and typically work every other weekend. Unlike Trauma surgeries, Joint Reconstruction surgeries are often scheduled in advance so you know exactly when weekend work will come up. Joint Reconstruction representatives at top companies tend to earn between $150K - $325K. Joint Reconstruction reps are constantly in surgery advising surgeons on how to best use the products.
The top device companies in joint are: Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Aesculap, and DJO Surgical.
A Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) representative sells implants and products encompassing the cranium, mandibular and maxillofacial skeleton. In other words, the skull and surrounding areas. Products sold include screws, plates, and mesh plates.
CMF Sales Representatives will work between 6:30AM to 7PM are typically on call every other weekend. Top CMF reps can earn between $200K - $350K. As is the case with most roles in orthopedic specialties, a CMF representative will frequently spend the day surgery advising the surgeons on how to use the products.
The top device companies in craniomaxillofacial are: DePuy Synthes, Stryker, Zimmer Biomet, OsteoMed, Medartis, and KLS Martin.
Neurosurgical Representatives sell products that are used in neurosurgery, which is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, surgical treatment, and rehabilitation of disorders which affect any portion of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, central and peripheral nervous system, and cerebrovascular system. Products sold include: drills, burs, aspirators, and saws.
Neurosurgical Sales Representatives work between 7:30AM to 5PM and possibly some weekends. High performing neurosurgical reps can earn between $175K - $400K. Compared to an orthopedic rep, the neurosurgical representative does more selling and less case coverage.
The top neurosurgical device companies are: Stryker, Medtronic, DePuy Synthes, Integra LifeSciences, Penumbra, and Terumo.
An ENT representative sells implants and products to treat ailments involving your ear, nose, and throat. Products include: endoscopes, balloon dilation systems, shaver systems, and a variety of instruments.
Sales Representatives in ENT typically work from 7:30AM to 6PM. Weekends are off. ENT reps can earn between $125K - $300K depending on the company, market share, and products sold.
The top device companies in ENT are: Acclarent (Johnson & Johnson), Medtronic, Stryker, Olympus Corporation, Smith & Nephew, and Integra Lifesciences.
A Cardiovascular representative sells implants and products to treat the cardiovascular system. For example: pacemakers, valves, and cardiac loop recorders. Monitor and defibrillators can also be sold.
Sales Representatives in cardiovascular work long hours (between 6:30AM - 9:30PM) and are typically on call every other weekend. While the hours are a drawback, cardiovascular representatives at top companies tend to earn between $175K - $400K. Cardiovascular reps are often in surgery daily advising surgeons on how to use the products.
The top device companies in cardiovascular are: Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Abbott, Terumo, Edward Lifesciences, and Zoll Medical.
Capital equipment is generally any piece of equipment whose cost is beyond a preset mark. Each hospital defines its own preset mark. For example, $5,000 can be one hospital's preset mark while $7,600 can be another hospital's preset mark. Examples of capital equipment include: Imaging Equipment, Anesthesia Machines, and Robot Assisted Surgical Machines.
Due to the technical complexity, Capital Equipment tends to be more costly than implants and thus has a longer sales cycle. As a result, reps do not spend a lot of time in surgery. The day to day job tends to be more sales oriented. Typical hours are from 8AM - 6PM. No weekend work is required. The compensation varies widely depending on the type of capital equipment you sell. The range is between $125K - $500K.
The top companies in the capital equipment space are: Intuitive Surgical, Stryker (MAKO Division), Accuray, and Mazor Robotics.
Urology is the branch of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary-tract system and the male reproductive organs. Urology sales representatives sell products such as catheters, stents, and guidewires.
Urology sales representatives tend to have good work life balance. The typical day is from 8AM to 6PM with every weekend off. On average, the role tends to be less case coverage and more sales-oriented. Compensation is in the $120K - $250K range.
The top urology companies include: Coloplast, Boston Scientific, Bard Medical, Medtronic, Karl Storz, and Olympus Corporation.
Neurovascular sales representatives sell products to treat Neurovascular conditions, which are diseases and disorders of the blood vessels that supply the brain and spinal cord with oxygenated blood. Products sold include coils, diverters, and stents.
Neurovascular Sales Representatives work between 7:30AM to 6PM and possibly some weekends. Top performing neurovascular reps can rake in between $125K - $300K. The role includes attending surgeries to advise physicians on best practices, while also prospecting and selling new products.
The main players in the market are: Medtronic, Stryker, B. Braun Medical, Johnson & Johnson, MicroVention, and Integra LifeSciences.
Endoscopy is a procedure used in medicine to look inside the body. The endoscopy procedure uses an endoscope to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body. Endoscopy medical device sales representatives sell endoscopes.
Sales Representatives in Endoscopy typically work from 7:30AM to 6PM. Weekends are off. The reps can earn between $125K - $220K depending on the company, market share, and products sold.
The top device companies in Endoscopy are: Olympus, CONMED, Arthrex, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, and Medtronic (Covidien).
It is critical to approach the application process tactically — starting with choosing the 1-3 specialties to focus your efforts on early on in the process. From there, you can start researching these specialties and begin your networking outreach efforts.
If you found this article helpful and want to explore each specialty in more detail, view our All-In Course where we provide videos to learn more about each specialty.
Comments will be approved before showing up.