The highest-paying sales job in the US pays as much as $185,000 a year—here are the other 6

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More than 15 million people work in the sales industry within the United States, or about 5% of the total population, doing everything from informing your doctor about new medications to bringing you a different size of pants in the dressing room at your favorite clothing store.

And while the overall median salary for a role in this field is low, $41,790, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are a plenty of sales jobs that will earn you well over double that.

The trick is to know which sales careers lead to salaries in the six-digits. To determine the most financially rewarding roles, jobs site Glassdoor analyzed its extensive user database and found that wholesale and manufacturing sales gigs as well as those in property were the best.

In Glassdoor calculations, salaries include flat base compensation as well as typical commission rates for each role — an important note, as base pay accounts for only 67% of a sales professionals' total pay, while commission accounts for around 32%, according to Glassdoor.

Below are the seven highest paying jobs you can land in the sales industry:

Sales engineer

Glassdoor salary range: $68,000-$185,000

This gig ranks among Glassdoor's Top 20 Jobs with the Highest Satisfaction and pays a median annual wage of $101,420, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those operating in the telecommunications industry tend to earn the most, about $118,000 as year, followed by sales engineers in computer systems design and wholesale electronic markets.

Because these workers must have extensive knowledge of a product's parts and functions as well as understand the scientific processes behind its operation, they typically need a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. Though, those with extensive sales experience and some technical training, may also land a sales engineer role. "Because these pros are highly credentialed, theirs are among the sales jobs that make the most money," according to Glassdoor.

Software sales rep

Glassdoor salary range: $50,000-$141,000

It takes technical expertise to do this job, which is why the pay is so good. To earn one of these roles, sales professionals usually need a relevant bachelor's degree coupled with manufacturer's certifications, according to Glassdoor. While sales reps who operate in the wholesale electronic markets tend to make the most, earning a median salary of $66,580, specializing in software specifically leads to much larger payouts.

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Glassdoor salary range: $27,000-$111,000

As the salary range indicates this job largely depends on the kind of properties you deal in as well your commission rate. Becoming a real estate broker or someone who is licensed to manage their own real estate business, as opposed to a real estate agent who must work with a broker, typically results in the highest earnings in this industry, according to the BLS. Each state has slightly different processes for earning a real estate license, which is necessary to qualify for this job. No formal schooling is needed but most realtors work their way up to a solo operation after training under an established agent, according to Glassdoor.

Pharmaceutical sales

Glassdoor salary range: $52,000-$84,000

To land this gig, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree, though it doesn't necessarily need to be in scientific field (though a background in chemistry, biology, or pharmaceutical science would be a plus.) Workers in this field educate healthcare professionals on new medications or other pharmaceutical goods, keeping them up to date on new industry developments while also trying to convince them to purchase such items for their hospitals or clinics or prescribe such medications to patients.

Major gifts officer

Glassdoor salary range: $45,000-$95,000

Among the highest-paid workers in the non-profit sector, these professionals specialize in fundraising and drawing in donations. Major gifts officers sell the mission of their institution, whether it be a museum, zoo, hospital or the Red Cross, to current and prospective donors who are looking to use their money and resources to help make a difference or solve a problem, according to Glassdoor. To become one, you'll typically need a bachelor's degree as well as fundraising experience.

As companies dig out from the recession, sales executives are going to be in particular demand because they’re the ones that drive growth, bringing in new business and new sources of revenue. Sales executives are the ones that set strategies and goals, and direct their sales reps for the best way to improve their sales performance. You need good people skills for this job but also good analytical skills – knowing the trends and making sure your team is out front. There’s a lot of pressure with a
Photo: Rob Melnychuk | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Medical device sales rep

Glassdoor salary range: $38,000-$87,000

This role is similar to that of a pharmaceutical rep, but rather than informing healthcare professionals of new medications or treatments, these sales workers specialize in advising about new devices, appliances and technologies that improve medical practices and operations. To land this job, applicants usually need a bachelor's degree in business, marketing or science, according to Glassdoor.


Glassdoor salary range: $37,000-$77,000

According to Glassdoor, recruiting does indeed count as a sale role because the main function of the job is convincing job seekers that they do indeed want that open position and selling employers on hiring the applicants they recommend. Recruiters typically work for a recruiting firm, but some may be employed by large organizations that have continuous hiring needs. To become a recruiter, applicants usually need a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field.

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