My actual title is called a Respiratory Care Account Manager, but the job description is actually selling critical care and surgical type products in the hospitals and surgery centers.
How would you describe what you do?
The people I call on within the hospital for the products I carry range from anesthesiologists, to surgeons, to nursing staff, critical care, intensive care units, and then also into the purchasing department and the administration. Not very often, but sometimes CEO’s and CFO’s of hospitals. My main two products are types tracheotomy and endotracheal tubes. The tracheotomy tubes are basically a product for patients that go home and have trouble with some type of upper respiratory abnomaly or problem. And the endotracheal tube line is more for surgeries.
A lot of people think that because we’re out there selling different products and pharmaceutical companies are selling all these different drugs that it’s driving our insurance up really high…in one sense you can look at us and say ‘yeah it does’…But I guess at the end of the day if you are on your deathbed do you want a product that is from Target, or do you want a product that has been in research and development for a long time and has had some of the best scientists in the world world looking at it?
The doctor administers the anesthesia and once the patient is anesthetized they keep them alive by a ventilator which is connected to the endotracheal tube.
What does your work entail?
It really entails knowing your customer’s very well, knowing what they do really helps you. I come from a nonclinical background in college. I have a double major in marketing and management, and I knew I wanted to get into medical device sales so I took a few premed classes, anatomy and physiology, some basic type classes to kind of get me a little bit of a jump start. It really helps me to know exactly what the doctor’s, or nurse’s job responsibilities are. It allows me to just be able to communicate with them better. It’s actually a great job for those that are independent and self driven. I basically can wake up whenever I want. I work out of my home office here, and I basically run a territory.
It’s a pretty large territory, probably anywhere between 50 to 70 some hospitals, and hundreds of little surgery centers all over the place. Typically on Monday’s I stay in the office all day just setting up my week and calling on doctors, and catching up on e-mails and whatnot. So it’s really nice just to wake up and be in your pajamas and work all day. The rest of the days I’m typically up around six o’clock, 6:30 and then heading out to some accounts and calling on the doctors. I typically get to about three or four accounts a day depending on traffic and how you set your day up. I also go to my accounts that I’ve already sold to and make sure that they’re happy with the product and that they’re satisfied and they’re getting the benefits that I told them they would get out of a certain product. Just basically making sure that they’re happy and they’re getting what they need.
How did you get started?
I knew in college that I wanted to get into the field so I took a few premed classes and it kind of got me started. It’s a tough industry to get into without sales experience, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be medical device sales, or medical sales for that matter. It kind of depends on the position that you’re going for, but a lot of times they look for people who have proven sales experience and then they hire them. It’s so tough anymore to get into sales without experience. It’s kind of a rough deal, sometimes you just hope that somebody takes a shot with you to give you the opportunity to show that you can sell if you don’t have any sales experience. I started out my first job in sales was selling
I’ve read a couple articles that said that sales, any type of sales, was one of the quickest ways to establish a good wealth base, and I can’t think of a better way to do it. You’re helping other people improve their lives and getting paid a very nice monetary value for it.
treadmills for physical therapy and accelerated sports fitness. I had 2 1/2 years of experience there and then moved my way into medical device sales.
What do you like about what you do?
Well, we talked a little bit earlier about the flexibility of your schedule. I’m very independent and self driven, so I don’t really like reporting to a cubicle every day and just kind of being locked up. I like to be able to get out and just meet new people and everything. One of my biggest things I like about this job is that you know you’re helping, you know you’re improving somebody’s life. People don’t choose to go to the hospital, it just happens that they get sick, or they get diagnosed with the disease or something, knowing that you’re selling a product that helps them or betters their lifestyle is really a great satisfaction. That’s probably the biggest thing that I like about it.
What do you dislike?
It can be very tough working with doctors and clinicians. A lot of them have their set beliefs, and it can kind of be a tough sell sometimes because there are so many of these older doctors that are out there, and they’ve been practicing for more years than I’ve probably been alive and it’s tough to convince them of a new product sometimes. It’s tough to break down old walls and foundations, so that can be a little tricky. Some people would say they dislike having quotas. I know some people are just scared to death about quotas, but growing up playing sports and stuff it is like a competition, and that’s kind of the way I approach a quota, that it’s competition. So I kind of enjoy that. I just enjoy it so much that I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can say negative about it.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
I’m currently set up with a base salary of $50,000 and then a commission on top of that. It’s kind of nice in that the base salary gives you the peace of mind knowing that you are going to have income coming in no matter if you’re selling something or not. But really when you want to make the good money, you start really selling a lot of products, and you meet your quota. And typically what they’ll have is $50,000 base salary, and then if you’re at 100% of quota to plan then you should make around $120,000 total, and in my case it’s whatever you go over quota at the end of the year they pay you 15% on top of that as well.
How much money do you make?
I made $120,000 last year, this year I’m on pace to make about $135,000-$140,000.
Would you say there are any perks to this career?
Yeah, absolutely there’s great perks. Companies are different, but with this job I have a company car. I don’t have a car payment, I don’t pay for car insurance, and I don’t pay for gas. They provide me with a laptop, they pay part of my Internet bill, they pay part of my office phone line, and they pay for my cell phone, let’s see, and what else do they pay for. They set me up with an office, they gave me my printer and all of my office supplies are paid.
What education or skills are needed to do this?
I would definitely say a bachelors degree is very helpful. You know now it all kind of depends. To be real honest you definitely want to have a bachelors degree, and some people say a Masters but I don’t have a Masters and I’ve got a couple friends that went and got their masters degree and it took them longer to get a job than it took me, and they’re not making any more than I am. With that being said it’s kind of a tossup.
You might be able to open up a couple more doors for you if you have your Masters, or it may bump you up a little bit in your base salary if you have your masters, but a lot of times it really comes down to if you know somebody in the company. As far as skills, you definitely you want to have a good personality, you want to be approachable by other people, you want to be able to communicate your opinions and your thoughts in a manner that doesn’t look like you’re just a sales rep, and I don’t really consider myself a sales rep.
I’m more of what they would call a sales consultant. Whereas you’re kind of consulting them, you say ‘look I know my stuff and I’m not trying to sell you on something that I don’t think you need, I’m trying to consult you on a better product that’s not only good for you but its also good for the patient.’ In my field typically at the end of the day it comes down to patient care, and if you’ve got a product that’s going to provide quality patient care you’re going to be successful.
What is most challenging about what you do?
That would probably be finding your decision-makers within the hospital. Because a lot of times you get people who are like, ‘Oh yes, I like your product’, but they don’t have the authority or the power to push the product through. We call these people champions. People that like your product and push it through. Anymore, you can’t really just go into hospital and show them a product and then they’re like ‘I want that product, let’s go ahead and order that product tomorrow’. Typically you’ve got to have one person who’s really fired up about the product, and then they’ve got to pull it through three, or four, or five different committees, and then all the committees have to approve it. So really the challenging part is finding someone who’s going to bat for you within the hospital.
What is most rewarding?
Just knowing that you’re selling a product that’s maybe keeping a mother alive for another couple of years, or saving somebody’s life that like a father, or son, or whoever it might be. Just knowing that you’re helping other people in their daily lives, and in some cases saving lives. A lot of times they call them ‘life altering products’, just knowing that you’re helping somebody is the most rewarding thing I get out of it.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
I guess if I could go back and do it all over again, I would try to have a little bit more of a biology background along with a business background. That would open up a lot of doors. I know that with the few classes that I did take, anatomy and physiology and medical terminology, those kind of classes definitely did open up some peoples’ eyes. I think chemistry type classes, kinesiology, and some other classes like that would really show employers that this person has known what they wanted to do and have been working towards it. I think having more of a biology background with an addition to your business background would be ideal. And also a big thing would be just to get out to hospitals and if they have programs within colleges or high schools you can actually get in, like say an operating room. Sometimes they have these programs where they can bring you in and maybe you can job shadow the anesthesiologist, or a cardiologist, or a brain surgeon, or a spine surgeon or something like that, so I definitely look for some opportunities like that to get in, to get a firsthand experience with it.
How much time off do you get/take?
It grows each year, you start off with 10 days with paid vacation, in California, you can actually roll your vacation over to next year so, and in addition to your seniority in the company you can even get more than that.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
A lot of people think that because we’re out there selling different products and pharmaceutical companies are selling all these different drugs that it’s driving our insurance up really high. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. Because in one sense you can look at us and say ‘yeah it does’, but if you turn it around and you look at it from medical device industry you know, it’s just business and they’re providing new technologies just like anything, with the better technology you are able to do things better, your prices are going to go up. So with technology advancing different products and everything it’s making them better, but also a lot of research and development are going in to so we have to make up our costs there and everything. It’s really a cycle that, you know everybody wins some, but everybody also gets hit a little bit with. But I guess at the end of the day if you are on your deathbed do you want a product that is from Target, or do you want a product that has been in research and development for a long time and has had some of the best scientists in the world world looking at it?
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
My goal is really to advance into a more advanced type surgical position, such as let’s say pacemakers and defibrillators, or spine surgeries types of products where I’m working directly with the patient and working with the surgeons. Those positions tend to pay more and they’re a little bit more rewarding in the fact that you’re actually working directly with the patient, and at the end of today you know like three or four days later after the operation or the procedure the patient comes back in and says ‘I’m feeling so much better, thank you’. That’s really rewarding and I’d like to get to that stage. I’ve always thought about going into management as well and that’s kind of the path that you typically take. In order to advance to a manager or a management position you typically have be in the field for two or three years and show that you can sell, that you’re experienced that you can succeed.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
I think it’s a very rewarding industry. I think I’d just reiterate the fact that if someone is in to helping other people and getting paid for it, then this could be something for them. I want to be wealthy. I want to be able to take care of my family and friends and be able to do the things that I want to do and travel and I just have a lot of things that I want. I’ve read a couple articles that said that sales, any type of sales, was one of the quickest ways to establish a good wealth base, and I can’t think of a better way to do it. You’re helping other people improve their lives and getting paid a very nice monetary value for it.
This is a great article,
I’ve worked for Stryker, Medtronic, and Zimmer. It is a truly rewarding and demanding career. If you are trying to break into medical sales, please feel free to write me on my blog and I’ll do what I can to help. http://www.medrepcareer.com
Good morning Sir,
my name is Andrea and I come from Italy. I’m 26.
I have two years of experience in the madical sales field for an international leader in the field called Amplifon, for which I used to sell hearing aids.
I also have a bachelor degree in medical biotechnology.
I want to work in the medical field selling this kind of products like you do.
Allthough in my country is really hard, in UK I might have more chances and I’m thinking to get specialized in business managment so that I can improve the chance to find a higher position.
Do you know any company, by name, that I could get in contact with in order to get an interview?
Your cooperation in this matter is highly appriciated.
Jobshadow.com is very very helpful… It gives you a lot of information
Advice needed. I’m 29 years old with a Bachelor’s Degree as a base. I have 5 years of sales experience, 4 years of management experience. I have several contacts within the pharm/medical device sales field, and between my experience, passion for health and drive to be successful, personality and interpersonal skills – they agree I’d be perfect for this career.
My only thoughts are whether I should take time to get some BIO classes complete to give me an edge, get the National Certification mentioned on this page, or some other course of action to better prepare myself for this career.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I’m a senior in college studying Biology in San Diego. I am currently a clinical assistant in the ER. I’ve been working almost 3 years and it’s been great to work with a different doctor everyday. I’ve also worked 6 months in OB/GYN and 6 months as a personal assistant to a neuro/spine medical device rep. I am having a hard time trying to decided whether to apply to PA school or go with the medical sales route. I don’t have a strong sales background- I still have a year left of school & don’t know which path to pursue.
I would really love shadowing more reps but, don’t exactly know how to go about it or what to do to get the ball rolling. I’ve done research on a great deal of companies with headquarters out of San Diego but, I’m unsure who to contact at these organizations.
Would help to get some sales experience before I apply for jobs?
Any guidance would be appreciated.
I am actually in the same boat Madison, I see its been 2 years so I’m curious to know what your decision was. I actually got accepted to Mercy College’s Master’s program for PA school but declined it because it would have put me another $100,000 in debt from loans. Also I wanted to pursue other careers such as Med equip sales. I have an interview tomorrow for a med rep sales job and will pursue this career yet in the next year or so will decide to re-apply to PA school. So what was your choice of career?
Fisrt off all of this information is wonderful. It is extremely useful and knowledgeable. I only have on question. will taking the National Association of Medical sales courses and classes really help? or would they really not look at that as the education they reqiure? I’ve been in sales since I can rememeber im 30 years old now. and making roughly around 60-70k a year in advertising sales. Just trying to take that next step and I’ll do what it takes to get there just want to know a good way.
I got my assoc. degree in applied Science in Atlanta Ga, (surgical technician) and Ive been out of school for 2 years and have not found a job yet. However; I am considering becoming a medical sales rep. Any suggestion?
I bought and sold new and used medical equipment since 2007, then in 2010 my boss literally closed the company down without warning and he owed me $15,000. I went back to school and finished my 2 year degree with an Assoc. of Science and Im considering getting my RMSR as well. I hoping to increase my knowledge, help people, gain more sales skills in medical device sales as well Im looking to increase my income to at least $80,000 minimum base and commish. I have two kids going to college in a year. Does anyone have any advice on if this is realistic?
This man looks at selling medical supplies as a way to help improve someone’s quality of life, which is the right way to look at it in my opinion. He gave thoughtful and honest answers also, which I appreciate.
John I really feel sorry for you. You carry a chip on your shoulder. This is America, the land of opportunity where anyone with the will and drive to succeed can achieve the American dream. When I hear you demean an individual for earning more per year than you do…It makes me sick to my stomach. You should be ashamed. You are not very American. I guess by your thinking Bill Gates shouldn’t be a billionare and neither should Mark Zuckerburg. John you really need to grow up!!!!!
Reading this post has been extremely insightful Thank You! I am a senior getting my BA in Biology and was planning to go to graduate school…for what career I don’t know. I’ve never been in sales so I’m currently planning on getting a job in sales that will give me the experience to break into this industry. One question: will taking marketing college classes help my resume or is it a waste of time/money? Thank you for your input!
Hi, i recently completed the RMSR certificate, through the National Association of Medical sales Rep, and its what i needed to get ahead. i don’t have a college degree but i do have a great tracked sales history and have receive some awards, the RMSR certificate help me get ahead, because it thought me the industry knowledge, and reinforced my sales techniques. Since I got the certificate, compnaies are actually calling me back for interviews. I recomend this to anyone that wants to get in the field, if you are new or old in this medical sales, you need to get this it will only validate you more in the medical sales industry.
p.s here is their website http://www.medicalsalescareer.com
I like this article. It helps me to get the real idea what it’s like to be a medical device sales rep. My buddy works for Conmed for the last 5 years and the stories he tells me about what he sees in the OR and what he has to deal with on a day to day basis peaked my interest in Med device sales. I’ve been in sales all my life, from retail, B2C door-to-door and recently B2B sales selling laboratory supplies and equipment to biomedical researchers. Sales is what you make of it, it allows you to have freedom to work on your own and be your own boss sort of speak. The different type of people you meet and the things you learn are fascinating in the healthcare industry.
I’m currently interviewing with a very big company that deals with endoscopic surgery. Although I don’t have any medical device sales background but I think I know enough and in recent years have prepared myself to break into this industry. Reading this article really helps me to add more ammunitions into my 3rd round of interviews. I see it being very helpful because if I’m asked a question I can really think of something quick and relate to this article to provide me with a good answer. The hiring manager will think that I’ve done my research that I know something about this job before I even get the job.
With the people I know, spoke with and companies I’ve interviewed with in medical device sales industry. Your background means nothing! You don’t have to have a medical, nursing, science, or a clinical background to be a medical device sales rep. Although they do help you get in the door quicker but what hiring managers look for is if you have a 4yr degree, you have had success in outside sales, and that you’re willing to learn and have a good work ethic. If the hiring manager can see that in you, you’re in luck. I have spoke with people who went from being an accountant working on financial statements to selling med device without any other sales experience in between, my buddy worked at retail store selling car audio while in college and the first job he got after he graduated in med device sales. My advice to people who want to have a career in med device sales or healthcare sales is to learn as much as possible about the industry, the customer base, sales process, and sales approach. When you do get the chance to interview for a position you can definitely let the hiring manager what you know and he can see what you’ve done to prepare yourself.
Hey Tim, my name is Jordan Lewis. I recently became interested in medical device sales and have begun researching and obtaining all the knowledge I can on the topic. You stated in your comment that you advise people to learn as much as possible about the industry, the customer base, sales process, and sales approach. I was wondering if you knew of any websites,books,blogs,etc. that would help me obtain more information regarding this subject.
Wow what a great article and awesome comments. Anna like you (22) I have also changed my approach on helping people. I recently just graduated as a Biology major with a background in pre-medical studies and a minor in disability studies. You know I always thought I wanted to become a doctor, so in college I set myself up to do so. However as a senior, I realized I was much more passionate about helping to reshape, rethink, and restructure our world. It’s not as easy task but through innovation and new ideas, we can challenge what we already know into making what we want it to become. I’ve never wanted to do something (career) I wasn’t passionate about but, after a few months of research I think I’ve found it. I’ve had a sales job now for 2 years, working on a commission as a consultant in electronics. I’ve been very successful motivated to simply get it done. I love the job, I love technology, and I love people! I’ve recently been promoted to start selling appliances and I’m currently trying to set myself up to get into medical sales. It may take a couple years but, I tell you all I need is an interview. I will make a difference in how we think about our lives and will help shape the world into what I want people to get out of it.
– Keep smiling, the world isn’t as bad as it seems
You are already ahead of your competition. Keep working towards a nursing degree. You can sell that hard in a sales interview. You already know more than 80% of all medical reps. From my experience, ex nurses or folks with that background make the best reps. I would also start talking to medical reps you run into.
I am a 22 year old senior in college. I have 2 years of nursing school and recently changed my major to marketing. While in nursing school I realized I wanted to go into sales like my dad. I am a people person and enjoy pleasing people. I have worked in the hospitality industry since starting college. It has made me a stronger person as far as my people skills. I’ve learned there are all types of people in the world and that everyone requires different needs. I know I want to go into medical device sales. I want that hands on experience that a surgical nurse gets, but that sales mentality. I love people and I love a challenge. Any advice, words or wisdom, or encouragement is much appreciated.
The reality is that $135K is on the LOW end!! I am in surgical sales and have made $180-$220k the last 5 years! Not bad for a 30 year old with a social sciences degree! Ask any med rep, it is not easy! You are pretty much on call. Not to mention the travel SUCKS! On average the typical medical sales rep is away from home 25-75% of the time. You can make a lot of money but is it worth your family or over all QOL?
I was in sales for 3 years, toughest stuff i’ve ever been through. i probably averaged 70k /year over the 3 years, you and/or your product has to be good to hit the big numbers. Either way it’s great on the resume, most CEOs come from a sales background, whether it be frontline or investment banking. probably the best business training around is doing a stint in sales.
I am in the same boat as above. I have a regional manager talking to me about medical device sales and asked me to do some research online. I have been in sales all of my life and love it. All salespeople, like myself, know that medical device sales is the top spot in sales and would love this opportunity. Any tips? Any suggestions from some of you professionals?
I sold a car to the Owner of a Med Device distributer and got an interview with him which i felt a bit unprepared for. He seemed to think it went well and is going to have me shadow one of his reps in the spinal cord product line. What would you recommend i do to prepare myself for the next interview? After doing some research and being offered the kind of salery above im getting exited and want this to go perfict next interview. Ive been selling cars for 2 years, have some college and am 23.
Wow, so I am amazed at how strong these sales reps or consultants are about their jobs… Honestly I Love it!!! It is passion and that’s what I’m all about. I am 28 and I have been in sales for 9 years and I enjoy working with people! I am passionate about people in general; it’s almost like a high you get from it. So as I am researching medical device sales and how to get in the door without a degree seems impossible. Although yesterday I ran into program that provides you with an 8 week program that can teach you the terminology and anatomy etc. MSC started up about 2 years ago to help equip people like me to sell medical devices. I am the best in my division in sales and I tend to be a top performer in my region. I do have confidence because I am result driven and I have a proven track record of being successful in selling a product or service ‘that I truly believe in’ then skies the limit. Without a bachelor’s degree, is it impossible to sell medical devices? However, with this training school (Medical Sales College) would medical device companies treat me serious if I potentially applied to a position? Any feedback would be very helpful. Thanks
seems as though you don’t quite understand business. lawyers are good at answering a call and telling you what they learned from reading a book, and then charging money for it. if you play your cards right you can have your face on a billboard. i am a very humble person, but don’t like people that complain about there income. just to piss you off even more, i am 27 years old and been in the medical device industry for 4 years. i make double than the person interviewed above. full commission. no base salary. cut throat. i know sales reps that make your lousy 70K… a month. we all work hard and earn the money. when you’re sleeping, i am working. i don’t have an office or the 9 to 5 lifestyle. if your struggling staying at the top of your class… good luck in the real world. that guy that works his ass off and never complains will eat you alive when your not expecting it. i hope it happens. why are you in school anyway? you could be out making money.
What is the best way to get into this field? 30yrs old and looking for a carreer change.
Any programs I can take to prepare myself for the clinical info and terminology?
Btw, Medical Sales College is a scam. Read the RipoffReport about it. I read some replies on here mentioning it.
Listen, if you want to make more money, then why don’t you just try sales? Since you are not in it and sitting at a desk looking busy, try it. You are a typical loser that will truly never go knowhere and blame the world for your shortcomings. If you are so smart, then figure out why it is so that you deserve more, but the big question is, why aren’t you. Think about it next time you are trying to look busy in your cubicle.
John, you may have went to law school but you certainly missed ECONOMICS 101. Your income is not determined by how much you study or even by how hard you work(while those may be factors) it is determined by what you are worth in the marketplace. Can you do what this med sales rep can? No. Then why would a company pay you the same salary? They wouldn’t. Can you play baseball like Derek Jeter? NO. So, are you upset that he makes more than you also because you think you work longer hours or study harder than him? He commands more in the marketplace. This is a typical attitude of someone that will never succeed on a grand level.
Do medical sales representatives still interact with patients? Are they still allowed to go into patient care areas, such as operating rooms? I am working on an article that focuses on medical device selling and would love to hear how rules around patient privacy (HIPAA) have changed preceptorships and the way in which medical device sales reps learn how their product is used and how they sell their product to their customers.
Medical Device Sales is an amazing career to get into. It also a growth industry. Ironically, I considered Law School while in college and changed my mind. I am so glad I did! It is super challenging, but definitely rewarding!
Wow John, a little frustrated there? Hopefully you realize that people seek those higher education positions not solely based off of money, but because they see a need and desire to make a difference. I am studying to be a dentist right now, and if I was only driven by the paycheck then I would have been out of the game a long time ago. If you start to look at your job or potential job with pride, and look for rewards outside of money, you will enjoy your work that much more. You will be surprised to see that people will notice your work ethic, which could lead to a job promotions. Where did you ever get that he was not working 60+ hours?
Interesting. How does it make you feel knowing there are people out there with law degrees/masters degrees that make far less than you on average. The average lawyer starting out makes about 70,000 dollars a year. This is after three years of the most rigorous, competitive, and stressful schooling in our nation. Not only is getting accepted into law school hard. Finishing at the top of your class is one of the hardest accomplishments known to man. Even a person graduating at the top of a doctorate degree/masters degree program will still not make as much money as you. You sit in pajamas while the “true competitors” are vigorously working 60+ hours a week. All while making less than you do. If you are truly “simply helping” people, why don’t you save the “true competition” to people who have earned the right to do so. The question is, what gives you the right to make more money than people who have actually earned it?
Medical Device Reps help improve and save peoples lives. Nothing outweighs the value of life therefore if you can enhance or save a life I see no reason why you shouldn’t be compensated well for it. The compensation is all relative to the cost of devices that are manufactured by companies, which arn’t cheap. Someone who enhances ones life by placing a pacemaker in a patient doesn’t deserve to get paid as much as someone who settles a divorce between two people? Therefore people get people out of parking tickets, settle divorce cases should be paid more than people who save lives just because they went to 3 years of school and “earned it”?
I can’t believe this rep sits in his office all
day Monday just to set up the week…