How Much Money Do Medical Sales Reps Make?
Lets face it, the thing that you want to know before embarking on a career in medical sales is the compensation. Learning about a medical device sales salary can help you decide if this is the right path for you. It will also provide insight on if any given job offer is competitive for the field. Some of top questions we get include:
- What is the highest paying medical sales job?
- What size medical device company pays the highest salary?
- How much do you make in pharmaceutical sales?
Average Medical Device Sales Salary
We know that it can be hard to find accurate information on medical sales rep salaries, especially when you want to look at the salary for each specific specialty. So, we have done all of the hard work for you. We have compiled the most up to date information from sites like Glassdoor, and provided a high level summary.
We have provided the average base pay, the average incentive compensation (pay from commissions and bonuses), and have stated the average yearly total salary.
Pharmaceutical Sales Salary
While pharmaceutical sales is not known for having the highest salaries, it can be a great job which provides excellent work life balance. Also, these roles can be a great place to get medical sales experience and a stepping stone to higher paying positions.
Average Base Pay: $76,000/year
Average Additional Cash Compensation: $14,000/year
Yearly Compensation: $90,000/year
Entry Level Pharmaceutical Sales Salary 60-80k
In terms of medical sales, these jobs pay the least. The good news is these roles are the most likely to be filled by someone without a whole lot of experience. It it common to see a recent college grad or someone with 1-2 years of B2B sales experience land one of these jobs. The jobs are for the most part salary based with a small bonus structure. The bonus structure is likely to be activity based, as this is nature of pharmaceutical sales.
Pharmaceutical sales has changed significantly over the last 10-20 years. Many of the entry level or lower compensation roles are done as contract jobs. A salesforce existing of reps with short term contracts (12-18 months) provides an easy way for a company to ramp up and ramp down as product needs change. At the same time there is a trade off for the companies. It is hard to build a team of dedicated and loyal workers when the job commitment is two years at the most.
Specialty Pharmaceutical Sales Salary 110-150k
The higher level pharmaceutical sales jobs focus around specialty drugs. This includes medications for HIV, cancer, genetic conditions, etc. This entails working with high level physicians and promoting expensive, innovative medications. The beauty is the balance of these roles. While the compensation upside may not be that of capital equipment, the pay is steady. Success is not solely dictated by closing a sale, but by working hard and making your calls. In my opinion, a job like this provides better work life balance than surgical sales and capital equipment. Though, it is unlikely for reps to regularly take home more than 200k.
Medical Sales Rep Salary
Medical sales reps have high earning potential, especially because they make a large portion of their income from commissions and bonuses. In fact many medical device sales reps find that their commission earnings is the majority of the income, especially if they have a good year. While the average additional cash compensation (sales commission) is $85,435, medical device reps have the potential to make much more depending on their sales numbers.
Want to know what Reddit has to say about medical sales? Read our article covering Medical Device Sales Reddit: Questions & Answers.
What Is The Base Salary For Medical Device Sales Representatives?
Average Base Pay: $89,000/year
Average Additional Cash Compensation: $85,000/year
Average Yearly Compensation: $174,000/year
This also aligns with the survey from MedReps.com which put the 2021 average total compensation at $172,527 with an average base salary of $104,649 and average commission of $79,682. Sites like Ziprecruiter and Indeed indicate that the average compensation is about half of this. In my opinion this is inaccurate. The amount is weighted down by inaccurate reports of compensation packages in the 30k range.
Entry Level Medical Device Sales Salary 60-110k
While a medical device sales associate salary is not the most lucrative, you must remember that these are associate roles. Associate roles are entry level positions, and after a year or two in an associate position it is more than likely you will be hired on as a full rep, if you play your cards right.
There is a reason these jobs don’t pay as much as others in the industry. Sales associate roles are training roles. It is way to groom and develop usually younger sales reps for future territory openings. It provides reps a chance to train under a senior rep without the pressure of immediately being responsible for a quota.
If you are in your 20’s or even early 30’s you should jump all over an associate medical sales opportunity. If it is a surgical sales role you will be doing a lot of case support. If it is a capital equipment role you will be involved with the smaller opportunities. The key part is building experience, developing the skills, and learning the culture of the company. These roles set you up to be successful once an opportunity opens up. Again, like entry level pharma the compensation structure will be mostly salary based with potentially a small activity based bonus incentive.
Click here to learn more about entry level medical sales.
Medical Equipment Sales Salary 160-250k
If you represent the right product, capital equipment positions can be some of the best roles in the industry. The compensation structure provides a ton of upside. So in the good years you will be able to blow out your quota and put some money in savings. The challenging years will be leaner. One difficult element of these jobs is the compensation structure is two thirds commission based. For example, the base salary may be in the 50-80k range even though the target compensation at quota is 200k. It can really hurt if you go a few months without selling anything.
For this reason, the company, territory, and product are everything. If you are going to rely mostly on commission, you need to be in a role in which the quota is attainable. Or to be in a role in which a few years of hard work will lead to the quota becoming attainable. Time in a territory is key to making good money in the high end capital equipment space.
Surgical Sales Salary 140-225k
Like all compensation there is major variability in the pay for surgical sales. From a high level, the compensation target at the large medical device manufacturers is in the 140-180k range. The most commoditized orthopedic jobs (steel screws, plates, etc.) may be on the lower range. Where as an established territory in spine, pain, or cardiac specialties can pay well above 200k.
Here is the key to making good money in surgical sales. For the most part you will want to get your start with a big player. This will build solid experience and give you credibility moving forward. Also, it helps you understand the industry. From here, you may see an opportunity to make good money at a smaller company taking over a niche. The difficult part is you need some industry experience to truly know where the good opportunities are at. So five years of experience making 150k with a solid product can lead to higher compensation jobs in the future.
Click here to learn more about becoming a surgical sales representative.
Medical Distributor Salary 110-160k
The large medical distributors include McKesson, Medline, Cardinal, and Henry Schein. These companies have huge salesforces. For example they may have ten plus reps in only one state. So the territories are small and defined, with little travel required. Like specialty pharma, these are very balanced roles. The reps are considered by some to be “order takers” given the relationship based nature of the job. Reps work with clinic managers and materials management to take orders of small, high volume medical consumables. This is not a hard sell like capital equipment, but a sale based on building long term relationships. The compensation plans have various components and spiffs for selling certain products. Long term reps make good money. On the other hand, the jobs are not structured for every rep to have a shot at 200k.
If you want to learn more, read our article about How To Get Into Medical Device Sales.
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