Sales Careers

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Search Colleges
TheBestSchools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.

Rewarding sales careers are found in just about every industry. Employees realize a strong sales team often leads to a successful company. Many companies make hiring skilled sales professionals a top priority.

Many professionals choose a sales career for personal satisfaction, freedom from the office, growth and high income potential. Sales people are paid for their performance.

Hard work and a successful sales record often lead to a promotion such as gaining more prestigious customers, a sales executive trainer position or a sales manager job.

Many of the high paying sales jobs require a higher level of knowledge. Sales people in the low earning sales jobs typically sell a product, whereas sales people in the high earning sales positions typically sell a solution.

Sales careers often require an appropriate education, training, experience, knowledge as well as good interpersonal skills. Some sales jobs involving scientific and technical products require a bachelor degree. However, some sales jobs don't require postsecondary education.

Many companies require beginning sales representatives to participate in a formal training program which can take up to two years to complete.

Our sales career profiles provide specific information about the nature of the work, training, education, salary and much more. Take the time to read the information we provide to find the sales career right for you.

After you read through this page on Sales Careers keep browsing our website's extensive career guide for more information on job options, education requirements and salaries.

Related articles:
50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019
The Best Online Colleges by State
The Best Online Degrees

Advertising Sales Agents

Education and Certifications Advertising Sales Agents Need

An advertising sales agent career can technically begin with a high school diploma or proven sales experience, however, some employers prefer applicants with a bachelor degree in Marketing, Communication, Business, or Advertising. Most advertising sales agents receive on-the-job training.

Find the best school for you:
The 20 Best Online Bachelor's in Marketing Degree Programs
The 25 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Communications and Public Relations
The 25 Best Online Bachelor in Business Administration Degree Programs

What They Do

For every consumer ad you've ever loved or hated, there is likely an advertising sales agent behind it. Advertising sales agents ensure companies of all sizes and in all industries get their name and brand out there for the public to see.

Advertising sales representatives are involved in the entire process of ad sales from cold-calling potential clients, to making sales presentations, to maintaining client accounts.

An advertising sales agent career typically includes explaining to potential clients why and how advertising will help their revenue, as well as answering questions a client or potential client may have. Advertising sales representatives need to do their homework and study any potential client's business, history, and current target demographic.

An advertising sales representative career involves providing quotes of various advertisement products or services, making recommendations, and working with clients to complete all necessary paperwork. Often, advertising sales representatives deliver the final product in order to ensure customer satisfaction and to respond immediately to any feedback.

Many advertising sales agents occasionally travel and working from various locations, as the agents typically go to their clients.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

After establishing a strong sales record, an advertising sales rep demonstrating strong leadership may advance in their career to a management or supervisory position, such as sales supervisor, sales manager, or vice president of sales. Some advertising sales representatives may also advance to other companies or to corporate sales.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $49,680
2016 number of jobs 149,900
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 -4%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $24,320
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $108,700

 

Insurance Sales Agents

Education and Certifications Insurance Sales Agents Need

People interested in an insurance sales agent career typically need at least a high school diploma, although a growing number of agents now have a Bachelor of Business, Economics, Finance, or a related degree. Upon hire, insurance sales agents typically shadow an experienced insurance sales agent to receive on-the-job training.

Insurance sales agents need to have a license in every state they work. Agents selling life and health insurance and property and casualty insurance must obtain separate licenses. Most state licenses require the insurance sales agent to take continuing education courses every two years.

Insurance sales agents may obtain voluntary certifications demonstrating expertise in specific areas.

Some insurance sales agents opt to become certified to sell additional financial planning services in order to meet consumer demand. Insurance sales agents can obtain these additional certifications through the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) which includes the Series 6 exam (for selling only mutual funds and variable annuities), and the Series 7 exam, which qualifies the individual as a general securities sales representative.

Find the best school for you:
The 25 Best Online Bachelor in Business Administration Degree Programs
The Best Online Master's in Economics Degree Programs
The 10 Best Online Master in Finance and MBA in Finance Degree Programs

What They Do

Purchasing insurance can quickly become confusing with so many companies and packages to choose from; insurance sales agents works with people to help them navigate the world of insurance policies and find the most appropriate forms of insurance for each individual, family or business.

Insurance sale agents may specialize in one specific type of insurance or sell a variety of insurance types, such as property, casualty, life, and health and long-term care.

Insurance sales representatives engage in multiple steps of the process, from cold calling potential new customers, to interviewing prospective clients, to working with and following up on already established customers. Insurance sales agents must know their product inside out, as they must clearly explain it to potential customers, knowledgably answer any questions, and make helpful suggestions as to which policy to select or any policy changes a customer should make. An Insurance sales agent career includes helping customers with the claim process.

Captive agents work for one specific insurance company. Independent insurance agents work for insurance brokerages, selling policies from more than one company.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Insurance sales representatives may advance in their career to a managerial position after obtaining experience and perhaps additional education.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $49,710
2016 number of jobs 501,400
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 10%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $27,180
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $125,190

Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Education and Certifications Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents Need

A real estate broker career or real estate agent career typically begins with at least a high school diploma or equivalent. However, a Bachelor of Real Estate degree or an Associate of Real Estate degree or at least college courses in real estate may help an individual stand out in the job market.

All states require real estate brokers and real estate agents to have a license. Most state licenses must be renewed every two to four years and may require taking continuing education courses. The minimum requirements for a license in all states include passing an exam, completing a specified amount of real estate courses, and being at least 18 years old.

Find the best school for you: 50 Best Online Colleges & Universities 2019

What They Do

Real estate brokers and real estate agents aim to help make the process of buying, selling, or renting a home, business, or land far less stressful and confusing. Although real estate agents must work with real estate brokers, brokers need a license to manage their own real estate business.

Real estate brokers and real estate agents find their own clients, provide advice and answer any real estate related questions. A real estate broker career and a real estate agent career include performing research, such as comparing properties to determine competitive market prices, creating lists detailing properties for sale and advertising properties through listings and open houses.

Real estate agents typically meet clients at various properties to provide tours, information, and answer questions. When clients are ready to make an offer, the real estate agent and real estate broker create a purchase offer and work as liaisons between a buyer and a seller. A real estate broker career and a real estate agent career also include preparing other documents, such as loyalty contracts, purchase agreements, and deeds. They are also responsible for following up and ensuring all terms of the contracts are met.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Real estate agents working in larger firms may have the opportunity to advance to sales manager or general manager. Real estate agents may also open their own office after obtaining a broker's license.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $47,880
2016 number of jobs 444,100
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 6%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $24,160
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $151,660

 

Sales Engineers

Education and Certifications Sales Engineers Need

People interested in a sales engineer career typically need a Bachelor of Engineering degree, or a bachelor degree in a similar field.

Engineering majors generally have an emphasis on a specific type of engineering, such as electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, biomedical, or computer hardware engineering. Many employers also prefer sales engineers with sales experience. Employers may provide new sales engineers training.

Sales engineers often sell products that are always evolving and improving, thus they take continuing education courses in order to be up on the latest advances and technologies.

Sales engineers don't need specific licenses or certifications.

Find the best school for you: The 50 Best Engineering/Technology and Computer Sciences Programs in the World

What They Do

If selling complex scientific and technological products sounds a whole lot more fun than having to build them, you may be interested in a sales engineer career. Sales engineers need a complete understanding of all products they sell; for people who love learning the ins and outs of the latest technological products, this could be your dream job.

Sales engineers must prepare and deliver technical presentations explaining products and services to customers. A sales engineer career includes working with customers, answering their questions and gathering feedback and ideas regarding how to make products more efficient or more helpful in the future.

Sales engineers sometimes work with sales teams to share customer input and provide sales support so sales engineers can focus less on the marketing aspect of things and more on the technical side.

A sales engineer career involves making product recommendations to customers, based on advances or improvements to products as well as potential savings through improved efficiency for clients. Sales engineers offer assistance if a customer has any issues installing a product or having it work properly.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Career advancement for sales engineers may include a higher commission, a larger sales territory, or advancing to a supervisor or marketing manager position.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $98,720
2016 number of jobs 74,900
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 7%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $56,940
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $162,740

Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents

Education and Certifications Securities, Commodities and Financial Services Sales Agents Need

Typically, securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents have a bachelor's degree in finance or business or a related field to begin their career. However, most financial service sales agents complete a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program, especially to enter the higher-level industry jobs where agents can receive better pay and bonuses.

Many employers train commodities agents on the job regarding products and services offered and vital selling strategies.

Licensing is crucial for securities sales agents, especially in keeping up with new trends and products in the industry. Registering with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and taking a series of exams can provide the necessary licensure for agents.

A financial services sales agent needs licensure to sell multiple investment services and products such as insurance and securities. Although not mandatory, certification is also encouraged by many employers; the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute (CFA) provides certification. To qualify for the certification, an agent must complete an undergraduate degree, four years of working in the industry and pass three exams.

Find the best school for you:
The 20 Best Online Bachelor in Business Management Degree Programs
The 10 Best Online Master in Finance and MBA in Finance Degree Programs
The 50 Best Online MBA Programs

What They Do

If working tirelessly to keep up with the ever-changing forecast and performance in today's financial markets sounds like an interesting and challenging job, a securities sales agent career is in your future. Securities, commodities and financial services agents buy and sell securities in trading companies and help firms connect with potential investors.

Commodities sales agent careers include completing sales order tickets and client transactions, reaching out to potential clients to give information on available services, advising clients on securities purchases and sales as well as selling and buying securities and commodities such as gold or stocks.

Commodities sales agent careers include monitoring financial markets, reviewing company financial reports to offer recommendations for mergers and acquisitions, and interviewing clients to understand their financial situation and objectives. Commodities sales agents also oversee and evaluate agreements and ensure all securities transactions adhere to all rules and regulations.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents have the opportunity to advance in their careers to higher-level positions by gaining a significant number of accounts or passing different tests in areas such as portfolio management, banking or retirement.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $63,780
2016 number of jobs 375,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 6%
Entry-level education requirements Bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $33,060
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $208,000

Travel Agents

Education and Certifications Travel Agents Need

People interested in a travel agent career typically need a high school diploma, good computer skills and training. However, many employees prefer travel agents who have taken travel industry classes in areas such as marketing and reservation systems from a community college or vocational school. In addition, some technical schools and colleges offer degree programs in travel and tourism. Most employers offer some level of on-the-job training, especially in computer systems.

Although not required, some associations such as The Travel Institute, offer certification that provide professional training to travel agents once they obtain employment. Other certifications and training are available based on agent experience and length of employment. Different states require travel agents to attain a business license. Contact a local state agency for further information when pursuing a travel agent career.

Find the best school for you:
The 20 Best Online Bachelor in Hospitality Management Degree Programs
The 20 Best Tourism Degree Programs

What They Do

Travel agents bring people, places and events together, all in one service. They plan and sell lodging, transportation and tickets to events and activities to travelers and travelling groups. Travel agent careers include planning itineraries, selling tour excursions and packages and coordinating travel arrangements for clients.

Travel agent careers include coordinating travel services for both vacation and corporate clients, booking hotel, air, car rental reservations, group tours and excursions and reviewing and determining total travel costs.

A travel agent career involves providing a detailed overview of travel plans such as local customs, attractions, languages spoken, required documents, weather conditions, points of interest and financial information and conducting all financial transactions such as the collection of payment.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $36,990
2016 number of jobs 81,700
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 -12%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or equivalent
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $21,350
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $62,320

 

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

Education and Certifications Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives Need

Depending on the type of product sold and the industry a wholesale sales rep and a manufacturing sales rep works in, educational requirements vary greatly. For example, if the products are not technical, a high school diploma or equivalent is enough to enter the field.

Many wholesale sales reps and manufacturing sales reps take special training classes their employer offers to gain an understanding of the products, to learn the different phases of production and distribution, as well as to learn the art of the sale. However, if the product is medical or technical, such as surgical instruments a wholesale sales representative typically needs a bachelor's degree, often in the sales area.

The Certified Professional Manufacturers' Representative (CPMR) certification or the Certified Sales Professional (CSP) demonstrates industry credibility.

Find the best school for you:
The 20 Best Online Associate of Business Administration Degree programs
The 25 Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Degrees in Business Studies
The 25 Best Online Bachelor in Business Administration Degree Programs
The 20 Best Online Bachelor's in Marketing Degree Programs

What They Do

Manufacturing sales representatives know their products inside and out, can answer any question thrown their way and can negotiate a price. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives sell goods, from farming equipment to pharmaceutical goods, for wholesalers to companies, organizations and a variety of other groups.

Inside sales representatives conduct sales while working in offices; outside sales representatives make sales while traveling.

A wholesale sales rep career and a manufacturing sales rep career include finding potential customers and discussing their specific product needs, monitoring sales leads and soliciting orders.

Wholesale sales rep careers and manufacturing sales rep careers involve attending trade shows and studying all aspects of product features in order to discuss a product's capabilities and limitations based on customers' needs.

A wholesale sales representative career and a manufacturer sales representative career involve preparing sales contracts and processing orders, studying and learning selling techniques, initiating customer follow-up and staying current with new products and services.

See also: What can I do with a Marketing degree?

Career Advancement Opportunities

Wholesale sales reps and manufacturing sales reps advance in their career through gaining a larger account or territory. An excellent sales record may also allow manufacturing sales representatives to attain higher-level jobs such as vice president of sales.

Essential Career Information

2017 Median Pay $60,340
2016 number of jobs 1,813,500
Employment growth forecast, 2016 - 26 5%
Entry-level education requirements High school diploma or bachelor's degree
2017, wage of lowest 10 percent $27,760
2017, wage of the highest 10 percent $120,280

* Salary, number of jobs and employment growth provided by
bls

Take the next step towards your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

Woman working at desk