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Sales Engineer

Job Duties

Sales engineers, also referred to as manufacturers' agents, sales representatives, or technical sales support workers, work with customers to help them determine which of their employers products or services will meet customers' needs. They are often liaisons between the customer and the production, engineering, or research and development departments of their company. They solve problems relating to how products and services can be improved to meet customer needs. They sometimes consult with the customer regarding how to best integrate the products or services into their business model.

Sales

Sales engineers form a bridge between scientific discoveries and commercial application. Most specialize in a specific type of engineering. While they use their technical engineering knowledge, the job also requires a high degree of sales skill. They are responsible for making the client interested in their products. They often work in teams with other salespersons who focus on other non-technical aspects of sales, such as marketing. This allows the sales engineer to concentrate on the more technical aspects of sales.

Job Skills

Sales engineers need to have a solid background in engineering, particularly in the area of engineering in which they specialize. In addition, they must have the sales skills that will enable them to succeed beyond the technical aspects of the job. They need to have very strong interpersonal communication skills, an upbeat and positive personality, and they must be persistent. They must enjoy interacting with people on a regular basis. It is also important for sales engineers to be organized and self-motivated.

Income

In 2002, sales engineers earned a median annual salary, including commissions, of $63,660. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $37,430, to the highest 10%, who earned more than $108,080. The median annual salary of sales engineers in the computer systems design and related services industry was $77,100; and sales engineers in the professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers industry averaged $53,170.

Training and Education

Usually a bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for obtaining a job as a sales engineer. However, other combinations of training and skills can qualify some candidates. Some have sales and technical experience, while others hold a degree in science or a degree in business with no sales experience. The requirements for admission to undergraduate engineering schools includes a background in mathematics, including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus; physical sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; and English, social studies, humanities, and computer science. There is a high degree of variance between college programs, with some focusing on industrial practices that prepare students for employment, and others concentrating on more theoretical work that prepares students for graduate school.

Many sales engineers begin their careers working as engineers, where they gain the technical knowledge necessary to convey the benefits of products to clients. Some move into the sales engineer occupation because it provides a greater challenge and higher potential earnings. Some new engineering graduates who have no sales experience will sometimes team up with a mentor who excels in the area of sales, including business practices, customers, and company procedures and culture.

Employment

In 2002, sales engineers held about 82,000 jobs. 32% worked in the manufacturing industries, and 28% worked in wholesale trade. Very few sales engineers are self-employed.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, employment of engineering technicians is expected to increase about as fast as the average. The increasing variety of goods to be sold is one reason, and competition among advancing technologies is another. Job opportunities will be good in independent sales agencies which contract with manufacturers, and prospects will be best for those who have the right technical knowledge coupled with the personality traits of a salesperson.

For more information on pursuing a careeer as a sales engineer, please check out our directory of schools offering Computer and Technology training.


Sales Engineer Training

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            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            Milan Institute , Bakersfield
            • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
            • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
            • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
            • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
            • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
            • Online courses help make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 24 months and a master’s degree in 12-18 months.
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            • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
            • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
            • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
            • Gives students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
            • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
            • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
            • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
            • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
            • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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            • Offers several scholarship opportunities for students who qualify.
            • Laptop computers are issued to each student at the beginning of their program.
            • Provides programs in health care, business, information technology, and graphic arts.
            • Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

            Our family of non-profit colleges admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

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            • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
            • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
            • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
            • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
            • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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            • Founded over 60 years ago on the principles of inclusion and social justice.
            • Offers credit for previous life and work experience.
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            • Has 3 semesters and 6 start dates a year.
            • Located in Pasadena, CA, with instructional sites in Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Cruz, and Visalia as well as online options.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
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            Platt College , Ontario
            • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
            • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
            • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
            • 3 campuses in Southern California.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            • Transferable Credits