Whether you’re trying to break into medical sales or you’re an industry veteran looking for a change of scenery, it can be challenging to find that ever-elusive golden opportunity. For many, medical sales certification seems like a surefire way to get an advantage over the competition by providing proof of in-depth industry knowledge. However, are these programs helping job seekers, or taking advantage of them? While it largely depends on the programs, some of which have a job placement rate of 90%, it never hurts to take an objective look at them as a whole.
As a resource for medical sales professionals, we decided to take a brief look at medical sales certification programs and provide some advice to job seekers.
Helpful or harmful?
There are many medical sales certificate programs available to anyone seeking more knowledge about the industry/field. These programs often boast unbelievable numbers of people finding jobs after completing their courses. Most sound too good to be true.
And they generally are.
Unfortunately, medical sales certification programs are often misleading to job seekers, taking advantage of their ignorance or desperation. These deceptive programs use various tactics to convince candidates that they are trusted and valued resources in their respective industries or fields.
They have testimonials from “alleged” students, display industry accreditation badges, or have so-called support of various health care companies. However, this rarely translates into a quality program that will help you further your career.
At best, people who attend these programs learn some general knowledge about sales or medical procedures. However, this information is rarely anything that job seekers wouldn’t be able to learn independently by doing some industry research online.
They rarely provide the information that will genuinely make a difference in obtaining a position. Questions that job candidates want to know, while listed on the website, usually are not part of the curriculum. These questions include interview techniques that land the job, what it’s like to demo a medical device in a live operating room situation, hands-on pharma training, and many other important facets of a medical sales career.
Our advice is to do your due diligence on the value of any program you are considering and talk to people working in the medical sales field about the program’s value, including recruiters and hiring managers. Most will tell you that they actually want to see that you have practical sales experience.
However, if you do want to attend a medical sales certificate program, make sure to check online reviews, ensure that the school is licensed, and check to see if the cost of attending the school makes up for the salary that you’ll receive. After all, the average salary of someone in medical device sales is $177,933.
Alternative ways to prepare
If you are trying to break into the medical sales industry, the best thing you can do — outside of obtaining an entry-level medical sales position — is to get a B2B sales job. While companies prefer industry experience, a role in equipment sales (including copiers and scanners) can demonstrate similar skill sets required of a med device or pharma candidate.
Additionally, applicants of all skill levels should network with people in the industry, attending conferences (in person or virtual) and other events where they can meet people who can provide guidance, direction, or some inside help.
Finally, you should seek out career development programs from trusted sources in the industry. While there are some job boards and resources that are scams, there are many resources that will provide you with practical advice.
Setting yourself up for success
Medical sales certification programs claim to provide potential and current sales reps with an advantage over their competitors. However, these programs are rarely, if ever, recognized within the industry. While there are exceptions to this, such as programs like those run by Medical Sales College which have a 90% post-graduation placement rate, others do not provide the assistance that their literature claims they will.
Hiring managers are looking for people with proven sales records, whether they have been in the industry for years or are just getting their feet wet, which is why a bachelor’s degree in business, sales, or marketing, as well as some medical course experience is often preferred to a simple medical sales certificate.
What ultimately matters is what you bring to the table in terms of experience and being able to sell yourself.