negativespace.co; Pexels
negativespace.co; Pexels

There’s a lot of money to be made in medical sales jobs. In fact, the 2016 Medical Sales Salary Report found that professionals in the industry take home $145,147 in total compensation a year, on average. But that number can vary significantly depending on where you work, your job title, the products you sell, and more.

So what makes a top earner in medical sales? Here’s a look at what the best paid sales reps do, and how you can become one of them:

Travel often

The best paid medical sales reps are always on the road. They’re visiting different territories, meeting new clients, and reaching out to contacts across the map. In fact, our salary report found that those who travel 50 percent of the time earn $167,061, on average. In comparison, those who don’t travel at all for work earn an average of $125,344.

Although travel contributes to the less-than-stellar work-life balance medical sales jobs are known for, the best paid reps understand that it’s an important part of the job and the key to earning more commission.

To be a top earner, hit the road. If there’s a new territory or client in a new area, volunteer to be the rep who makes the trip. Take the initiative, and let your manager know you’re ready and willing to travel more.

Gain years of experience

The best paid medical sales reps have been in the business for a long time — the longer you work in the industry, the more money you make. For example, those with two to five years of experience earn an average total of $125,739, while the top earners, those with 20 or more years of experience, take home $165,735.

The only way to gain more experience is to keep working hard. Put the time in, improve your skills, and watch your compensation grow. The more experience you have, the better positions you can move up to. After all, sales directors and sales vice presidents report the highest salaries, an average of $209,082. As your level of experience grows, show your leadership potential to gain higher-earning positions in management.

Earn education

The best paid medical sales representatives don’t just have the experience — they have the education to back it up. Although many of the skills needed for medical sales jobs are learned in the field, education is still important — especially for earning potential. Our salary survey found that respondents with a two year degree earn just 74 percent of what those with a four year degree earn. In addition, those with a master’s degree earned 4 percent more than their peers.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, work on earning one. If you do, you may want to consider earning a master’s degree. Talk with your employer to see if they offer education assistance or other programs to help fund your continuing education.

Work for manufacturers

The top earners work where the big bucks are — manufacturers. No matter the size of the company, medical sales jobs with manufacturers pay more than those with distributors and service providers. And large manufacturers pay the most — an average of $157,793.

In addition, the highest paid medical sales reps are also more likely to sell to hospitals, specifically to surgery departments.

If you’re in the market for new medical sales jobs, go after those with large manufacturers. To boost your salary even more, look for those with opportunities to sell to hospitals and be in the operating room.

Overall, medical sales reps are paid well and a majority are satisfied with their jobs and their compensation — but there’s always room to earn more. Work hard, gain more experience, and improve your skills to be among the top paid sales reps in the field.

How does your medical sales compensation compare to the average?

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