California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products in California

May also be called: Account Managers; Sales Managers; Sales Representatives

Specialties within this occupation include: Inside Sales Representatives; Outside Sales Representatives

What Would I Do?

Technical and Scientific Products Sales Representatives are vital to the success of manufacturers and wholesalers. It is the job of Sales Representatives to interest clients in the products being sold and arrange for their sale. Maintaining current clients and establishing new client contacts is required in order to expand sales numbers. Expertise in the products being sold is necessary in order to best service clients' questions or technical issues regarding a recently purchased product.

Sales Representatives are typically assigned to specific geographic locations, with larger territories requiring greater amounts of travel. Representatives assigned to larger regions generally travel by plane and are often away from home for several days or weeks at a time. Sales Representatives are often on their feet for long periods of time and may carry heavy sample products, requiring some physical stamina. Sales Representatives typically work 40 hours a week, although longer hours are common.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Sales Representative will appeal to those who enjoy starting up and carrying out projects. A Sales Representative also enjoys activities that are organized and clearly defined.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Compensation methods vary by the type of firm and the product sold. Most employers use a combination of salary and commission or salary plus bonus. Commission usually is based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or the company’s performance.

The median wage in 2017 for Sales Representatives, Technical and Scientific in California was $80,990 annually, or $38.94 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Sales Representatives working directly for a manufacturer or wholesaler usually are reimbursed for expenses such as transportation costs, meals, hotels, and en­tertaining customers. They often receive benefits such as health and life insurance, vacation and sick leave, pension plans, personal use of a company car, and frequent flyer mileage.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment in this occupation is sensitive to economic cycles. During economic downturns, workers may be subject to layoffs or reductions in hours.

How Do I Qualify?

Employers usually prefer new hires to have prior sales experience. Experience may be more important than formal education for some industries. Increasingly, many positions require applicants to possess, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree. The majority of organizations have short training periods in order to place the Sales Representative into the field and begin maintaining sales accounts.

Finding a Job

Applicants should apply directly to manufacturers and wholesalers. Sales Representatives can also find employment opportunities through placement offices at colleges and universities. Frequently, Sales Representatives, customers, and others working within the trade will recommend an interested candidate for an existing opening. Newspaper classified advertisements offer additional sources of job openings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

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