Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” -Abraham Lincoln

With 81,000 representatives in the United States (and counting) and paychecks that soar into the six figures, pharmaceutical sales representative is an attractive career possibility for many professionals.

And while Lincoln was telling an army nurse to live her life deliberately and carefully, we believe the above quote could just as easily been about career choices. Knowing what you want to do is crucial, but knowing where you want to do it is just as important.

If you want to be a pharmaceutical sales rep, these are -- in no particular order -- the nine best states to sell in.

The Best States for Pharmaceutical Sales Reps


  • Number of hospitals: 382
  • Number of staffed beds: 58,759
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $145,169

Everything’s bigger in Texas. The state boasts the most hospitals, second most staffed beds, and third-highest average salary in the United States. It’s also home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical center. Affiliated institutions include Houston Methodist Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Texas Children’s Hospital.


  • Number of hospitals: 349
  • Number of staffed beds: 75,723
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $139,775

The most populous state in America also has the highest number of staffed hospital beds in the country. California’s famed UC system has given rise to several hospitals, such as the famed UC San Francisco and UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. Oakland, CA is also the headquarters for Kaiser Permanente, an integrated managed care consortium that employs 17,791 physicians and operates in seven regions in the United States.


  • Number of hospitals: 215
  • Number of staffed beds: 54,576
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $141,121

Sitting at number five for highest average pay, the Sunshine State is home to three of the 10 largest hospitals in America -- Florida Hospital in Orlando, Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and Orlando Regional Medical Center, also in Orlando.


  • Number of hospitals: 140
  • Number of staffed beds: 30,799
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $138,862

Illinois sales reps have a whopping 140 hospitals to sell into, and an average pay that’s 2.4 times higher than the median state income of $57,444.

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New York

  • Number of hospitals: 198
  • Number of staffed beds: 57,504
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $150,146

With the second-highest average pay for pharmaceutical sales reps in the country, New York is also host to the country’s largest individual hospital, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

It’s host to five more of the nation’s 25 largest hospitals -- Montefiore Hospital’s Moses Campus in the Bronx, New York, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, Buffalo General Hospital, North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, and Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.


  • Number of hospitals: 116
  • Number of staffed beds: 22,125
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $154,704

Peach State sales reps can expect the highest average pay in America. Georgia is host to 116 hospitals (the ninth most nationally), including seven Level I trauma centers, two of which are Level 1 pediatric centers.


  • Number of hospitals: 180
  • Number of staffed beds: 37,384
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $138,816

Pennsylvania is host to the famed University of Pennsylvania Health System, which includes the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- the nation’s first teaching hospital. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian hospital, America’s fifth-largest hospital, is located in Pittsburgh.


  • Number of hospitals: 148
  • Number of staffed beds: 28,531
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $139,000

The Buckeye State is home to the sprawling Cleveland Clinic, America’s 14th-largest medical center that’s famed for its cardiovascular department and operates 11 hospitals and 18 family health and ambulatory surgery centers, as well as affiliates in Florida, Nevada, Canada, and Abu Dhabi.

North Carolina

  • Number of hospitals: 108
  • Number of staffed beds: 22,521
  • Average pay after commission/bonuses: $140,100

North Carolina’s rich academics land it high on our list. Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wake Forest University all operate their own medical centers, all among the 100 largest hospitals in America. It’s also host to nine of the 100 largest hospitals in the United States.

Salary information: MedReps 

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Originally published Jan 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017


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