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Breaking into Medical Sales Featured Job Search

5 Pharmaceutical Jobs That Can Lead to Sales Positions

Many professionals seeking new jobs have a common concern, especially when entering a new field: Will I have enough experience to be a strong candidate? If you’re looking to join the world of pharmaceutical sales, luckily enough, there are several jobs that provide relevant experience. 

These professions have experience with the drugs, companies, research, and legislation that impact the pharmaceutical sales industry. The key to this career transition is harnessing your ability to market products and show the value to patients’ lives.

Having experience in the following fields may help your resume stand out among the rest! 

1. Pharmacist

The most commonly thought of role in the pharmaceutical industry is a pharmacist. Professionals in this role are qualified to prepare and dispense medicinal drugs. Pharmacists hold a doctor of pharmacy degree and must have two years of specific undergraduate college studies, followed by four years of professional pharmacy study. 

Many of the skills practiced by a pharmacist can give you an edge when transferring positions into a pharmaceutical sales role. 

Some of these skills include:

  • Management skills
  • Scientific aptitude
  • Multitasking and efficiency skills
  • Communication skills (specifically in relaying information about drugs)
  • People skills

2. Chemist

A chemist could focus on a wide range of categories relevant to the pharmaceutical sales industry. At one time, a chemist and pharmacist were thought to be one in the same. However, a chemist actually refers to a scientist who studies the form, properties, and reactions of substances.

Chemists must have a minimum of B.S. or B.A. in chemistry and four to 10 years of undergraduate and graduate studies (depending on the specialty). 

Transferable skills that help you succeed in a pharmaceutical sales position include: 

3. Pharmaceutical botanist

Someone in this role combines expertise in plant life with chemistry or drug-compounding. They study plants in a laboratory setting, exploring possibilities for use in drugs.

Entry-level pharmaceutical botanists generally have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in botany, plant science, or biology. Some advanced research requires a doctoral degree.

Skills that connect to a pharmaceutical sales job include: 

  • Research and analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Logical thinking
  • Critical evaluation skills

4. Research scientist

Research scientists are generally responsible for writing grant proposals for external research in the pharmaceutical industry. This means they have to stay on top of developments. In this role, they analyze data from controlled laboratory investigations, experiments, and trials to develop theories and suggest plans to advance scientific research.

Research scientists hold at least a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s degree or doctorate is typically preferred.

Transferable skills that pharmaceutical sales reps utilize include:

  • Independent learning
  • Clear and concise communication
  • Flexibility
  • Decisiveness
  • Problem-solving skills

5. Biotechnology engineer

In this field, scientists with a specialization in biology study how living organisms and bioprocesses can be used in the engineering of medical devices and drugs.

Biotechnology engineers hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in life sciences (biology, chemistry, or some other organic science) and generally possess an advanced biotech engineering degree.

Skills related to a pharmaceutical sales job include:

  • Complex problem-solving
  • An investigative mind
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills