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The 5 Most Highly Paid Sales Jobs of 2017

Frustrated by all the work you're doing for a paycheck that barely covers the bills? The most recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics divulges the top five most highly paid sales jobs of the year -- along with projected industry growth over the next decade, and qualifications for employment.

Whether you're a veteran salesperson looking to grow your earning potential or a recent college graduate trying to break into the right field, this data will help you choose wisely.

Highest Paying Sales Jobs

  1. Sales engineers - $100,000 average salary
  2. Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents - $67,310
  3. Sales representatives for wholesale, manufacturing, technical, and scientific products - $60,530
  4. Advertising sales agents - $50,380
  5. Insurance sales agents - $49,990

1) Sales engineers - $100,000

These salespeople sell scientific or technological products/services to businesses. They need to know how to demo and troubleshoot the products they sell, and they must be able to explain the science behind the product.

These jobs generally require a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field. The bureau also labels these jobs "stressful," because income and job security depend on meeting a number, which often leads to irregular work hours. However, the employment forecast for sales engineers is positive, with expected growth of 7% from 2014 to 2024.

Telecommunications was the highest paid industry for sales engineers, with a median wage of $111,340. Computer systems design and related services was not far behind, with a median salary of $111,090.

2) Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents - $67,310

In these jobs, salespeople connect buyers and sellers in financial markets. They usually sell securities to individual consumers, advise companies searching for investors, and take part in trades.

A bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level jobs, and an MBA is preferred for career advancement. The job outlook for these sales agents is positive, with 10% expected growth from 2014 to 2024. Intermediation and brokerage of securities and commodity contracts is the highest paying industry within this vertical at $105,630.

3) Sales representatives for wholesale, manufacturing, technical, and scientific products - $60,310

These reps sell wholesale or manufactured goods to businesses and government agencies. Like most jobs on this list, they work in high-pressure environments because their livelihood depends on closing deals.

Education requirements vary, from a high school diploma for non-scientific products to a bachelor's degree for more technical services.

Salespeople who sell scientific or technical products/services made a median of $20,000 more than their non-technical counterparts. They also represented the highest industry earnings, at $78,980 per year.

4) Advertising sales agents - $50,380

Advertising agents sell ad space to businesses and individuals and sometimes maintain client accounts. While a high school diploma is typically adequate, many employers prefer a bachelor's degree.

Unlike the careers above, advertising sales employment is projected to decline 3% from 2014 to 2024. Even an increase in internet and television advertising can't offset the decline of activity in print newspapers and magazines.

If you you're trying to decide which industry to break into, stick with information services, which offers the highest wage at $61,660.

5) Insurance sales agents - $49,990

Insurance salespeople sell -- you guessed it -- one or more types of insurance. They must have a working knowledge of insurance policies, and they work with individuals or businesses to choose plans that are best suited to client needs.

A high school diploma is required, and many agents have a bachelor's degree. They must also be licensed to sell insurance in the states where they work.

The employment outlook for this industry is good, at 9% growth over the next decade. Health and long-term care insurance is an especially fast-growing field, as an aging population and changes in federal regulation are expected to increase demand.

Highest Paying Jobs Overall

Are the salaries above still not cutting it? You may want to consider a more drastic career change. Here are the bureau's top five most highly compensated positions overall:

  1. Anesthesiologists - $443,859
  2. Surgeons - $395,456
  3. Obstetricians and gynecologists - $317,496
  4. Psychiatry - $245,673
  5. Internal Medicine - $238,227

See a trend? Better start applying to medical school now, folks.

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