Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

Job Description

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives meet with health care providers such as doctors, clinics, and hospitals and persuade them to order and prescribe drugs manufactured by the companies they represent. Unlike other sales positions, many Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives are not responsible for direct sales. Instead, their goals are to assess the needs of a health care provider’s patients and make the health care provider aware of products that can meet their patients’ needs.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives must possess presentation skills in addition to being adept at relationship-building, influencing, and communication. They tend to visit the same health care providers multiple times to make sure they know the latest pharmaceuticals for sale. Also, Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives attend conferences and industry events to network with pharmacists and other health care providers.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assess client needs and promote suitable products
  • Meet with targeted doctors and health care providers and utilize sales skills to persuade them to prescribe the company’s products
  • Give providers product information and deliver drug samples
  • Develop relationships and network with doctors, health care providers, and pharmacists

Education and Background

This position usually requires a bachelor’s degree. College coursework in life sciences such as biology and chemistry, as well as sales, marketing, advertising, and business administration, are most common in this occupation.

Skills and Competencies

  • Written and verbal communication skills, including relationship-building and influencing
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite or similar software, including spreadsheets and databases
  • Expertise in negotiation skills
  • Strong sense of organization and time management


According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $85,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $80,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $86,000
  • Miami, Florida: $81,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $80,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $88,000
  • Houston, Texas: $83,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $77,000
  • New York City, New York: $74,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $85,000
  • Overall: $83,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $112,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $102,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $118,000
  • Miami, Florida: $113,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $98,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $110,000
  • Houston, Texas: $99,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $109,000
  • New York City, New York: $101,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $113,000
  • Overall: $103,000

Similar Job Titles

  • Medical Sales Representative
  • Specialty Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Division Sales Representative
  • Primary Care Sales Representative
  • Medical Supply Sales Representative
  • Medical Device Sales Representative

Career Path

While larger pharmaceutical companies do hire new college graduates as Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives, many small- to medium-sized companies look for candidates with proven track records in sales. Successful Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives can advance to management positions in sales. Others often utilize the knowledge of pharmaceuticals they gain in this position to go back to school and pursue advanced degrees in pharmacy and pharmacology.

Position Trends

According to the medical sales career website MedReps, pharmaceutical sales in the U.S. could change drastically in the next few years. New government and health insurance policies regarding what drugs doctors can prescribe, and how often they can prescribe them, will force Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives to take a more targeted approach to pharmaceutical sales. Also, health care providers are asking for Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives to provide more data than before regarding how effective their products are both clinically and in terms of cost.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative field is expected to grow by two percent between 2018 and 2028, which is slower than average.

Typical Hours

The typical work hours for a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Zip Recruiter
  • MedReps

Are You Interested in Becoming a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative?

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