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Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative

Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative

The Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative Online Training Program will help you become an entry-level, Certified Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, even if you don't have pharmacology or medical education.

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How to Become a Pharmaceutical Representative

Pharmaceutical representative is a high-paying flexible career where you’re often on the road meeting new people and educating health care professionals.

What Does a Pharmaceutical Representative Do?

Pharmaceutical reps:

  • Represent a pharmaceutical company
  • Persuade pharmacies and health care facilities and providers to use the company’s products
  • Develop relationships with health care providers
  • Display products and provide samples
  • Educate physicians and pharmacists about new drugs

How Much Do Pharmaceutical Representatives Make?

Education, certification, experience, and drive will determine how much you make as a pharmaceutical representative. Commissions and bonuses make up a large portion of a rep’s income.’s 2017 Pharmaceutical Sales Salary Report found that the average pharmaceutical sales rep salary was $128,489, with an average base salary of $99,087. The average base salary for a rep with less than two years’ experience is $73,109. About 45% of pharma reps have six to 10 years of experience, earning an average base salary of $94,667.

What are the Essential Skills of Successful Pharmaceutical Representatives?

Pharmaceutical representatives have:

  • Excellent verbal skills
  • Understanding of pharmacology
  • Sales experience
  • Familiarity with chemistry
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Enthusiasm and optimism
  • Mental stamina

What Education is Required to Become a Pharmaceutical Representative?

Many pharmaceutical representatives have four-year bachelor’s degrees in chemistry or biology. But that’s not the only path. eLearning providers like Meditec offer a Certified Pharmaceutical Representative training program to help you get an entry-level pharmaceutical representative job even if you don’t have pharmacology or medical education.

What Certifications Do Pharmaceutical Representatives Get?

Many reps complete courses and pass an exam to get a Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative (CNPR) certification, available through the National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives.
CNPR courses will likely cover:

  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • FDA regulations
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Clinical trials
  • Drug classes, labeling, and regulations
  • Medical terminology
  • Development of new drugs
  • Sales skills

How Can You Get a Job as a Pharmaceutical Representative?

To increase your chances of getting hired:

  • Complete training
  • Get certified as a Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative(CNPR)
  • Learn as much as you can about the industry
  • Get sales experience
  • Perfect your resume and cover letter
  • Network with people in the industry

Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative

The Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative Online Training Program will help you become an entry-level, Certified Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, even if you don’t have pharmacology or medical education. In this program you will learn the skills necessary to become a certified pharmaceutical sales representative. The program covers pharmacology, medical terminology, physiology, and regulations for selling pharmaceuticals.

As a registered student of the CNPR program, you’ll automatically become a member of NAPSRx, and you’ll be eligible to sit for the CNPR National Certification Exam at no additional cost.

This online certificate program is offered in partnership with major colleges, universities, and other accredited education providers.




Yes – As a CNPR Program student, you’ll receive a membership to NAPSR, and you’ll also be eligible to take the official NAPSR certification exam at no additional cost upon completion of your online training program.

CNPR National Certification:

Learning Objectives:

Upon successful completion of the NAPSR Program, you’ll:

  • Understand all pharmaceutical terms, definitions, and abbreviations needed to sell pharmaceuticals
  • Know the pharmaceutical industry, major product lines, and therapeutic categories
  • Understand the FDA’s role in the industry, laws enforced by the FDA, the Hatch-Waxman Act, and regulatory compliance in drug labeling and promotion
  • Comprehend Medicare and Medicaid issues and how they affect the selling process
  • Understand research and development of new drugs, including stages and timelines of new drug development and clinical trials
  • Gain knowledge of government reimbursement programs, drug discount cards, major concepts and components of managed care, main stakeholders in the managed-care marketplace, drug marketing, and group-purchasing organizations
  • Grasp the concept of pharmaceutical sales territory planning and information gathering and learn the importance of call planning and record keeping, how to handle appointment calls and impromptu calls and strategies for no-see offices and downtime
  • Have the knowledge to effectively use sales brochures and support literature and know how to sell new products versus established products
  • Understand how to prepare for hospital calls, security concerns of a hospital, and sampling rules in hospitals
  • Be prepared to take the CNPR certification exam

Program Outline:

So You Want to Be in Pharmaceutical Sales A Rewarding Career
Enormous Impact The Industry
Healthcare Demand Food and Drug Administration
Compensation Bonus Commission
Market Share Selling for Volume
A Day in the Life of a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Marketing Products
The District Sales Manager What makes a Successful Rep.
Setting Objectives Sales Process
Staying Current Winning Confidence
Product Samples Organization
The Physician Physician Attitude
Challenges New Medicines Mean Strength for U.S. Economy
Terminology Research-based
Major Activities Large Number of New Drugs
New Medicines in Development Research and Development Boost the U.S. Economy
Policy Implications The Anatomy and Clinical Pharmacology
Terms and Abbreviations The Foundation
The Foundation What is a Drug?
The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Mechanism of Action
Formulation Excipient Classes
Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics The Cell
Classes of Nutrients Basic Clinical Pharmacology
Drug Administration and Delivery Drug Distribution: The Supply Chain
Terminology Licensing
Wholesalers Distributors
Package Insert Information The Purpose
Sections Drug Patents
Terms and Abbreviations Patent: Definition, Duration
Marketing Exclusivity Generic Drugs
FDA’s Criteria for Equivalence FDA’s Orange Book
Single-and Multi-Source Drug Products Hatch-Waxman Act
Drug Sampling Drug Sample Storage Techniques
Federal Regulations Storage of Pharmaceutical Products
Recalls on Drug Products The Research and Development Process
Regulations Higher Research and Development & Costs
Policy Implications Dynamic Growth
Research Spending Government Partnerships
Scientific Opportunities Drug Development and Preclinical Studies
Pharmacodynamics Administering a Drug
Transport Mechanisms Passive Diffusion
Facilitative Diffusion Active Transport
Pinocytosis Absorption
Buccal and Sublingual Subcutaneous and Intermuscular Administration
Blood-Brain Barrier Toxicology
Carcinogenicity Animal Tests
Clinical Trials Ethical Considerations
Regulatory Requirements Clinical Papers
Enhance Your Presentation Anticipate Questions
Handle Objections Sell What’s Meaningful
Drug Discovery: Large Molecule Drugs Vaccines
Toxoids Adjuvants
Human Immune System Gene Therapy
Stem Cells Bone Marrow Transplant
Managed Care Formulary Basics
Restrictive Strategies Understanding Cost
Pharmacy Department Medical Education
Brand Medicine Pharmaceutical Branding
Building Brands Brand Medicine
Brand Positioning DTC Advertising
The Language Barrier Role of Research
Types of Names Clinical Development and Pharmaceutical Marketing
Environment and Trends DTC Branding
OTC Availability AIDS Epidemic
New Millennium Patient Communication
Ethical Regulatory Guidelines AMA Guidelines
PhRMA Code Pharmaceutical Sales Skills
Relationships Sales Superstars
Seeing the Physician Drug Formulary
Sales Force  

Program Course List

Basic Medical Terminology (50 Hours)

Basic Medical Terminology is designed to provide a concise understanding of the language of medicine. After an introduction to basic word patterns, the student is trained to take words apart and recognize the root stem, prefixes and suffixes. In addition, the student learns how to pronounce, spell, and define medical terms which illustrates how words are formed and how they are used in actual medical reports.

Customer Service (25 Hours)

The Customer Service course will teach students the fundamentals of customer service and help them to develop core competencies for providing excellent customer service. Students are given ample opportunity to practice, apply and develop their customer service skills through the completion of hands-on tasks.

Program Classroom Link:
Program Classroom Link:


The official NAPSR Pharmaceutical Sales Training Manual will be provided to registered students by the NAPSR.


Students should be proficient in keyboarding, have a basic understanding of a word-processing computer program (Microsoft Word recommended), and have a command of English grammar and punctuation. No healthcare or medical-office work experience is required.

This program is for you if you’re interested in learning job skills for pharmaceutical sales opportunities and if you’re interested in becoming certified in this field.


This program is compatible with the Windows XP and later operating systems and IE 7 and later browsers. There are no special computer requirements for this program other than Internet access and email capability.

Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader are required for this program.
Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
Click here to download the Flash Player.

As a CNPR Program student, you’ll receive a membership to NAPSR, and you’ll also be eligible to take the official NAPSR certification exam at no additional cost upon completion of your online training program.


2015 Median Pay Number of Jobs, 2014 Job Outlook, 2014-24 Employment Change, 2014-24
$59,080 per year
$28.41 per hour
1,800,900 7% (As fast as average) 117,200

Brian Kennedy is the director at NAPSRx, a pharmaceutical sales representative association in the United States that provides training, continuing education, and seminars notices to applicants pursuing a pharmaceutical sales career.

Brian obtained his Bachelor’s in Finance from the University of Illinois.

Brian has held sales positions with Fortune 500 companies and has promoted the education of sales representatives through NAPSRx.

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Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative

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