As a medical sales recruiter, I am asked (almost on a daily basis) what college degrees are acceptable for a medical sales job. Since this field is so varied (clinical diagnostics sales, laboratory sales, pathology sales, imaging sales, biotechnology sales, medical device sales, pharmaceutical sales, healthcare IT, medical software sales, surgical sales, and more), you do need a working knowledge of science and medical technology to be successful.

But the real (and maybe unexpected) answer to the degree question is: If you have sales experience, almost any college degree will translate for most jobs at most companies. Personality, skills, and experience make up a lot of what health care sales managers are looking for. Medical sales managers want to see proof you can produce results, and you can learn the medical and technical knowledge you need for the job on your own. (And you’ll be learning new technology, procedures, and equipment almost constantly, anyway.)

Having said that, the very best degrees are: biology, chemistry, zoology, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular, health care, kinesiology, and sports medicine. If you can combine a technical/science degree like these with sales experience, then you’re in a pretty good spot. If you’ve added some business classes to these, you’re even better off.

A lesser, but still very good, position in the job market would be the possession of a business degree with a decent number of science classes (maybe a minor).

If you’re in the market for a medical sales job and you don’t have the “best” degree combination, you can improve your chances by job shadowing someone in your chosen field, and creating a 30/60/90-day plan for the interview that shows the hiring manager you are approaching the job with knowledge and a plan. Finally, find a career coach who specializes in this area to quickly and effectively turn you into the most marketable candidate so that you can land the job you want.

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