Facts about Medical Sales Jobs and Salaries

Factors that Influence the Income of Medical Sales Professionals

Caucasian doctor and businessman talking in hospital
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A 2015 career and salary study by MedReps.com provides excellent insight into the careers of medical sales reps and pharmaceutical sales representatives.

Medical sales is one of the more lucrative sales professions, and therefore, it attracts many job seekers. However, not all medical sales jobs offer the same earning potential, and there is a wide range of salaries earned by medical sales professionals.

Which Medical Sales Reps Earn the Most and Why?

What causes the variation in salaries of medical sales reps? The type of product sold, the type of employer, amount of travel, age, and gender are all factors that impact earning power of medical sales professionals, among other factors.

The MedReps.com survey of over 3,500 professionals reveals the following facts about medical sales jobs and salaries:

  • The average income for medical sales representatives, across the board, is $141,464 annually. This includes an average base salary of $80,681.
  • Product sold impacts earnings significantly. The top earners in medical sales are those who sell health IT services or software ($169,881), followed by salespeople of surgical devices ($158,328), while biotech and bio-pharma salespeople ($157,865) are the third highest earners. Conversely, the lowest paid medical sales professionals are selling home health supplies ($83,065), followed by hospice supply sales ($91,406), and veterinary supplies ($98,636). Other types of medical sales jobs surveyed include dental sales ($112,734), pharmaceutical sales ($116,334), disposables ($125,963), lab/diagnostics ($128,660), capital equipment/DME ($153,885), and more.
  • Professionals in their 40s earn the highest medical sales salaries, at an average of $154,247. Those with 20+ years of experience do earn more than those with less experience. However, when experience is equal, professionals in their 40s still earn more than those in their 50s and 60s. It seems age has more of an impact on income than experience.
  • Most medical sales representatives are satisfied with their jobs. Half of all respondents report being “very satisfied,” and another 17 percent say they are “somewhat satisfied” with their overall job.
  • Men earn more than women in medical sales. The average income for female medical sales professionals ($120,271) is just 79% of the average total income for males ($151, 554). The good news is that, while men still have the advantage, base pay is more equitable than total pay, with the gap narrowing to about 5% between men and women.
  • The more travel, the higher the pay. Medical sales reps who never travel earn a total annual income of $123,614, compared to those who travel 75% or more, who earn an average of $163,903.
  • Sales directors and sales VPs earn the highest incomes. The average income for these positions is $214,755 (median $212,500). The second highest earners were professionals in a “National Accounts” role with an average income of $191,167 (median $185,000).
  • Professionals employed by large manufacturers earn the highest average total incomes, at $152,964. Company size does not appear to impact earnings as significantly as the company type.