Surgical sales jobs command one of the highest incomes in medical sales. According to the 2015 Medical Sales Salary Report, the average surgical sales rep salary is $158,328 (Med. $145,000). The second highest salary in this year’s survey, surgical sales salaries were beaten out only by health IT / healthcare software sales salaries.
About the Survey
More than 3,000 medical sales professionals participated in the 5th Annual Medical Sales Salary Survey. Respondents answered questions, not only about income, but also about their job title, what size company they work for, how much experience they have and more. Even factors such as age and gender were considered, as all of these things impact medical sales salaries.
Perhaps the most important factor in determining medical sales salaries is the type of product sold, and surgical devices are among the top-earning products. In past years, the Medical Sales Salary Report combined surgical devices and medical devices into one category, but in the 2015 survey, surgical sales professionals were evaluated independently, and surgical sales salaries claimed one of the top two spots. Medical device salaries came in at number four.
Surgical Sales Salaries by Job Title and Company Size
Consistent with the overall Medical Sales Salary Report, Sales Directors and VPs earn the highest surgical device sales salaries ($262,273) but they only made up 4% of surgical sales respondents. The majority of surgical sales respondents (78%) are in a field sales role, and the average surgical sales rep salary is $155,531.
The majority of respondents work for manufacturers, who pay an average total income of $172,182 – significantly more than distributors who pay $117,452. Medium and large manufacturers pay more than the smaller ones.
Surgical Sales Salary by Age and Experience
For the most part, as professionals get older and gain more experience, the average surgical device sales salary increases. However, the highest average income was reported by professionals with 11-20 years of experience ($186,007), while those with 20+ years earned slightly less. The most significant jumps in income happen between the twenties and thirties, and after 5 years of experience.
Surgical Sales Income by Travel and Location
How much a surgical device sales professional travels does not appear to have a significant impact on earnings, however, whether or not they travel at all does matter. Those who don’t travel at all earn an average income of $139,077, significantly less than the average reported by those who travel any amount for work ($169,227).
Travel may not be important factor, but does where surgical sales reps live matter? The highest incomes were reported in New Hampshire, Nebraska, Iowa, South Carolina, and Connecticut, however, the sample sizes in these states were very low. States with the highest number of respondents included Texas (Avg. Total $163,337), California (Avg. Total $146,731), Pennsylvania (Avg. Total $156,630), and Florida (Avg. Total $159,783).
Where are the Women?
Women are largely underrepresented in medical sales, and perhaps nowhere more so than in surgical sales, where women made up just 22% of respondents. At $133,333, the average total income for women in surgical sales jobs is significantly lower than the average for men ($166,090). However, the average base salary for women is slightly higher. The higher total appears to be a result of men being far more likely to hold the highest-paying job titles. There were no female Sales Directors or VPs in our survey, and for every 10 male Sales Managers, there is just 1 female.
Surgical device sales salaries are some of the highest in medical sales, and the jobs come with plenty of perks, including cars or car allowances (74%), expense accounts (64%), stock options (41%), matching 401ks (72%) and more. Surgical sales rep jobs are not for everyone though, as they can be very demanding. (Surgical reps are often “on call” just like doctors.) The rewards are great, however, and 65% of respondents report being somewhat or very satisfied with their incomes. Overall job satisfaction among surgical sales professionals is even higher at 77%, so we can expect this field to stay highly competitive.