How to Earn a Sales Certification

Enterprising professionals can earn sales certifications. Learn more about salary potentials, high-paying sales jobs, and free sales certificate programs.

portrait of Stefanie Grodman
by Stefanie Grodman

Updated June 2, 2022

Edited by Madison Hoehn
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How to Earn a Sales Certification
Image Credit: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images


Sales is a versatile career path, as network-building and keeping an enterprising mindset are crucial skills that people can use in many industries. Sales professionals can apply various hard and soft skills to adapt to changing markets.

However, sales jobs are often inherently competitive. In the United States, the average sales closing rate is just 27%. Many sales professionals want to advance their careers and compete for more lucrative opportunities. Professionals hoping to supplement their education and work experiences may pursue sales certifications to enhance their resumes and refresh their business expertise.

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Ready to start your journey?

What Are the Requirements for Sales Certification?

What Skills Will I Learn With Sales Certification?

Is Sales Certification Worth It?

In recent years, the market for online learning and certification programs has expanded significantly. However, certain for-profit certification programs may not hold much weight on recipients' resumes. Learners should be cautious about the credibility of these programs and how much they are willing to pay for certification.

Many well-known, elite institutions offer professional development programs, including sales certifications. Highly qualified faculty members and industry leaders may lead these programs. In some cases, sales certifications might be very affordable or even free.

Since this field can be especially competitive, a relevant sales certification can help individuals break into entry-level sales positions or advance in their current careers.

What Jobs Can I Get With Sales Certification?

Software Sales Representative

These professionals typically represent various technology companies in B2B sales negotiations. These representatives may research and reach out to clients whose needs align with specific software products. Although software sales representatives do not need an extensive tech background, they must be able to explain the benefits and functions of their products. They also often work closely with sales managers and software developers.

Real Estate Sales Agents

These individuals sell and rent residential, investment, and commercial properties using expertise in market conditions to determine pricing. They may curate open houses or give tours to promote their listings. Real estate agents may negotiate pricing and payment details with buyers and sellers and handle documents like deeds or purchase agreements. These professionals must hold a state-issued real estate license.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

These individuals represent pharmaceutical companies and sell medical equipment, prescription medications, and other products. They may meet with healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, and medical facility managers and attend events to promote their inventory. Many pharmaceutical sales representatives develop client-specific presentations. They should have a preliminary understanding of how their products will benefit patients and healthcare workers.

How Much Money Can I Make With Sales Certification?

Many sales representative jobs often offer above-average salaries, and in many industries, sales professionals earn commission on their closings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2020, insurance agents earned a median annual salary of $49,840. The top 10% of these workers earned over $126,510. In the same year, real estate brokers and sales agents earned a median salary of $48,770. The top 10% of brokers earned over $176,080, while the top 10% of real estate agents made over $102,170.

According to Payscale, software sales representatives earned an average salary of $51,740 as of February 2022. In the same year, pharmaceutical sales representatives had some of the highest-paying sales jobs, earning an average of $88,720.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sales Certification

What are the best certifications for sales?

An ideal certification program depends on the learner's professional niche, level of experience, learning objectives, budget, and desired program format. Certification programs offered by well-known institutions can help recipients stand out to potential employers.

For example, Cornell University offers a sales growth certificate program, and Northwestern University offers a certificate for mastering sales from the Kellogg School of Management. In addition, Harvard University offers a strategic sales management certificate. Many professional development programs offer open enrollment, so anyone can access course content taught by leading faculty members.

Are sales certificates worth it?

Many professionals earn sales certifications to kickstart sales careers or pursue more lucrative sales jobs. As the market for digital learning grows, many companies, websites, and influencers promote certification programs that employers or hiring managers may not see as credible. Often, institutions with recognizable names and well-established learning infrastructures stand out to employers.

Since many sales jobs are well-paying, learners often see professional development as a practical investment. Some of these programs may exceed $3,000. However, professionals do not need to make hefty financial commitments to earn sales certifications; there are many affordable and free sales certificate programs available.

What certification makes the most money?

While sales certifications can be effective career advancement tools, no certification guarantees entry into a particular role or field. However, there are many well-paying career paths for sales professionals. Learners can also pursue certifications that focus on especially lucrative niches.

For example, the BLS reports that sales managers earned a median salary of $127,490 in 2021. Individuals with sales experience may earn a sales management certificate to pursue this leadership position.

What certificate can I get in 3 months?

Learners can find sales certificate programs in a variety of formats and program lengths. While some certification programs take several months to complete, others only take a few weeks.

For example, Northwestern University's certificate for mastering sales program involves a 10-week commitment requiring 4-6 study hours each week. Florida International University offers a remote, 6-week sales management leadership program that requires live two-hour meetings each week. Many online courses follow asynchronous formats, so learners can complete coursework at a faster pace.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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