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Why Do So Many Careers in Sales Require a College Degree?

Why do so many careers in sales require specialized training? You may be thinking about the typical salesperson’s salary. While the median salary for most sales professionals is less than $50,000, many people pursue higher education for this career. The average salary for travel agents, real estate sales agents, and insurance agents is considerably higher than the median for all occupations. Of course, earning a degree is not required to be successful in these fields, but the wage premium can be substantial.

In order to become an effective salesperson, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Although there aren’t any majors dedicated to sales, majors in business administration, marketing, science, and engineering are all applicable to careers in sales. However, bachelor’s degree programs in sales generally include coursework in professional selling, consumer behavior, supply chain management, and sales technology application.

Although you don’t need a college degree to start a career in sales, you will need to invest in your skills and your training. Reading books, blogs, podcasts, public talks, and more will help you get familiar with the industry lingo and learn the newest techniques and trends. Also, consider reading books by industry leaders. A good book to read for those starting out is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Alice Heiman.

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Some employers believe that applicants with a college degree are more “job-ready” than those without. People with a degree possess higher-level soft and hard skills. Hard skills vary by field, but the desired soft skills are the same for every profession. Verbal communication skills are essential, and mentorship skills are necessary for success in the sales field. It’s no secret that many sales professionals don’t have college degrees.

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