Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative

The Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative Online Training Program will help you become an entry-level, certified pharmaceutical sales representative, even if you don't have pharmacology or medical education. In this program you will learn the skills necessary to become a certified pharmaceutical sales representative. The program covers pharmacology, medical terminology, physiology, and regulations for selling pharmaceuticals.

As a registered student of the CNPR program, you'll automatically become a member of NAPSRx, and you'll be eligible to sit for the CNPR national certification exam at no additional cost.

This online certificate program is offered in partnership with major colleges, universities, and other accredited education providers.


Upon successful completion of the NAPSR Program, you'll:

Understand all pharmaceutical terms, definitions, and abbreviations needed to sell pharmaceuticals

Know the pharmaceutical industry, major product lines, and therapeutic categories

Understand the FDA's role in the industry, laws enforced by the FDA, the Hatch-Waxman Act, and regulatory compliance in drug labeling and promotion

Comprehend Medicare and Medicaid issues and how they affect the selling process

Understand research and development of new drugs, including stages and timelines of new drug development and clinical trials

 Gain knowledge of government reimbursement programs, drug discount cards, major concepts and components of managed care, main stakeholders in the managed-care marketplace, drug marketing, and group-purchasing organizations

Grasp the concept of pharmaceutical sales territory planning and information gathering and learn the importance of call planning and record keeping, how to handle appointment calls and impromptu calls and strategies for no-see offices and downtime

Have the knowledge to effectively use sales brochures and support literature and know how to sell new products versus established products

Understand how to prepare for hospital calls, security concerns of a hospital, and sampling rules in hospitals

Be prepared to take the CNPR certification exam


The goal of the Certified National Pharmaceutical Representative (CNPR) Online Pharmaceutical Sales Training Program is to develop your knowledge in clinical pharmacology, physiology, pharmaceutical sales guidelines/techniques, and medical terminology. This knowledge will greatly enhance your understanding of the pharmaceutical sales industry, its regulatory selling process and candidates should mention the successful completion of CNPR Training in the Education portion of their resume.

The CNPR Program was developed in partnership with the National Association of Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives (NAPSRx). This unique training program will educate and train you for a new career as a pharmaceutical sales representative and for the CNPR examination. As a registered student of the CNPR program, you'll automatically become a member of NAPSRx, and you'll be eligible to sit for the CNPR national certification exam at no additional cost.

CNPR students must agree to uphold the NAPSRx Standards of Ethical Practices and Certification Program Rules. The CNPR examination requires the candidate to demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of both federal regulations and the pharmaceutical industry. The objective of the NAPSRx is to set standards accepted within the profession and to assure the public that the organization acts in the best interests of the pharmaceutical sales industry and the public.

The CNPR Program completion will show pharmaceutical sales employers you are qualified by demonstrating the necessary knowledge in pharmacology, medical terminology, physiology, and regulations for selling pharmaceuticals. The CNPR examination is dedicated to increasing the professional level of NAPSRx members and to developing meaningful and ethical standards fully accepted by both its members and members of the pharmaceutical community.

The goal of the CNPR Training Program is to prepare candidates for a career in pharmaceutical sales. All pharmaceutical sales representatives must be familiar with:

  • General medical terminology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Managed care
  • Pharmaceutical terms, abbreviations, and definitions
  • Drug sampling rules 
  • PI descriptions
  • Effective pharmaceutical selling techniques
  • Therapeutic classes and categories

Th e NAPSRx recognizes the challenges encountered in the day-to-day activity of selling to physicians, who expect sales representatives to know the clinical and pharmacology information about not only your product, but your competitors' products, too. The CNPR Pharmaceutical Sales Training Program will prepare train you for a career in pharmaceutical sales and differentiate you as a candidate with pharmaceutical companies. In addition to NAPSRx’s CNPR certificate of completion, it's generally recommended for pharmaceutical sales representatives to have a Bachelor's degree. Some smaller- and medium-sized pharmaceutical sales companies don't require a college education; however, it's difficult for candidates to break into larger companies without acquiring some college hours. Students are encouraged to research the pharmaceutical job market in their area prior to taking the program.

Upon registering, you're given six months to complete the program.

  • Registration + Fees

    Begins: open enrollment | REGISTER

    Course: ONPX800.01

    Tuition: $2,095

  • Outline

    1. So You Want to Be in Pharmaceutical Sales

    1. A Rewarding Career
    2. Enormous Impact
    3. The Industry
    4. Healthcare Demand
    5. Food and Drug Administration
    6. Compensation
    7. Bonus Commission
    8. Market Share
    9. Selling for Volume

    2. A Day in the Life of a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

    1. Marketing Products
    2. The District Sales Manager
    3. What makes a Successful Rep
    4. Setting Objectives
    5. Sales Process
    6. Staying Current
    7. Winning Confidence
    8. Product Samples
    9. Organization
    10. The Physician
    11. Physician Attitude 

    3. New Medicines Mean Strength for U.S. Economy

    1. Terminology
    2. Research-based
    3. Major Activities
    4. Large Number of New Drugs
    5. New Medicines in Development
    6. Research and Development Boost the U.S. Economy
    7. Policy Implications

    4. The Anatomy and Clinical Pharmacology

    1. Terms and Abbreviations
    2. The Foundation
    3. What is a Drug?
    4. The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient
    5. Mechanism of Action
    6. Formulation
    7. Excipient Classes
    8. Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
    9. The Cell
    10. Glasses of Nutrients
    11. Basic Clinical Pharmacology
    12. Drug Administration and Delivery

    5. Drug Distribution: the Supply Chain

    1. Terminology
    2. Licensing
    3. Wholesalers
    4. Distributors

    6. Package Insert Information

    1. The Purpose
    2. Sections

    7. Drug Patents

    1. Terms and Abbreviations
    2. Patent: Definition,Duration
    3. Marketing Exclusivity
    4. Generic Drugs
    5. FDA's Criteria for Equivalence
    6. FDA's Orange Book
    7. Single-and Multi-Source Drug Products
    8. Hatch-Waxman Act 

    8. Drug Sampling 

    1. Drug Sample Storage Techniques
    2. Federal Regulations
    3. Storage of Pharmaceutical Products
    4. Recalls on Drug Products

     9. The Research and Development Process

    1. Regulations
    2. Higher Research and Development & Costs
    3. Policy Implications
    4. Dynamic Growth
    5. Research Spending
    6. Government Partnerships
    7. Scientific Opportunities

    10. Drug Development and Preclinical Studies

    1. Pharmacodynamics
    2. Administering a Drug
    3. Transport Mechanisms
    4. Passive Diffusion
    5. Facilitative Diffusion
    6. Active Transport
    7. Pinocytosis
    8. Absorption
    9. Buccal and Sublingual
    10.        Subcutaneous and Intermuscular Administration
    11.        Blood-Brain Barrier
    12.        Toxicology
    13.        Carcinogenicity
    14.        Animal Tests
    15.        Clinical Trials
                  1. Ethical Considerations
                  2. Regulatory Requirements
                  3. Clinical Papers
                  4. Enhance Your Presentation
                          1. Anticipate Questions
                          2. Handle Objections
                          3. Sell What's Meaningful

    16. Drug Discovery: Large Molecule Drugs

    1. Vaccines
    2. Toxoids
    3. Adjuvants
    4. Human Immune System
    5. Gene Therapy
    6. Stem Cells
    7. Bone Marrow Transplant

    17. Managed Care

    1. Formulary Basics
    2. Restrictive Strategies
    3. Understanding Cost
    4. Pharmacy Department
    5. Medical Education

    18. Brand Medicine

    1. Pharmaceutical Branding
    2. Brand Medicine
    3. Building Brands
    4. Brand Positioning
    5. DTC Advertising
    6. The Language Barrier
    7. Role of Research
    8. Types of Names

    19. Clinical Development and Pharmaceutical Marketing

    1. Environment and Trends
    2. DTC Branding
    3. OTC Availability
    4. AIDS Epidemic
    5. New Millennium
    6. Patient Communication

    20. Ethical Regulatory Guidelines

    1. AMA Guidelines
    2. PhRMA Code

    21. Pharmaceutical Sales Skills

    1. Relationships
    2. Sales Superstars
    3. Seeing the Physician
    4. Drug Formulary
    5. Sales Force


  • Requirements

    This program is compatible with the Windows XP and later operating systems and IE 7 and later browsers.

    There are no special computer requirements for this program other than Internet access and email capability.

    Adobe Flash Player and Adobe Acrobat Reader are required for this program.

    Click here to download the Acrobat Reader.
    Click here to download the Flash Player.

    The official NAPSR Pharmaceutical Sales Training Manual will be provided to registered students by the NAPSR.

    As a CNPR Program student, you'll receive a membership to NAPSR, and you'll also be eligible to take the official NAPSR certification exam at no additional cost upon completion of your online training program.


    Students should be proficient in keyboarding, have a basic understanding of a word-processing computer program (Microsoft Word recommended), and have a command of English grammar and punctuation. No healthcare or medical-office work experience is required. This program is for you if you're interested in learning job skills for pharmaceutical sales opportunities and if you're interested in becoming certified in this field.

  • Instructor

    Brian Kennedy is the director at NAPSRx, a pharmaceutical sales representative association in the United States that provides training, continuing education, and seminars notices to applicants pursuing a pharmaceutical sales career. Brian obtained his Bachelor's in Finance from the University of Illinois. Brian has held sales positions with Fortune 500 companies and has promoted the education of sales representatives through NAPSRx.

  • FAQs

    1. Can I register for programs if I am an international student?

    Yes, because ed2go programs are online you never have to actually travel to the school. Most schools offer telephone or online registration.

    2. How long does it take to complete a program?

    All of our programs are self-paced and open enrollment, so you can start them when you want and finish them at your own pace. Upon registering, you're given six months to complete this program.

    3. Is a college degree required for certification or employment?

    A degree is generally recommended, but it's not a strict requirement. Some smaller- and medium-sized pharmaceutical sales companies don’t require a college education; however, it's difficult for candidates to break into the larger companies without acquiring some college hours. Students are encouraged to research the pharmaceutical job market in their area prior to enrolling in this program.

    4. Do I have to buy additional materials?

    All the materials you'll need are included, and their cost will be covered by your tuition. ed2go will ship all materials ground service upon enrollment.

    5. Can I get financial assistance?

    ed2go courses are non-credit courses, so they do not qualify for federal aid. In some states, vocational rehab or workforce development boards will pay for qualified students to take our courses.

    6. What happens when I complete the program?

    Upon successful completion of the program, you’ll be awarded a certificate of completion. However, completion of the program doesn't guarantee certification through CNPR. Please refer to the following question for more information.

    7. Am I guaranteed a job?

    After completing the program with a final passing grade of 70% or higher, you'll be eligible to sit for the CNPR exam. The goal of the training program is to develop knowledge to pass the certification exam.

    8. Who will be my instructor?

    Each student is paired up with a facilitator for one-on-one interaction. The facilitator will be available (via e-mail) to answer any questions you may have and to provide feedback on your performance. All of our facilitators are successful working professionals in the fields in which they teach.

    9. Can I use a Mac?

    Yes, you can use a Mac for this program.

    10. How can I get more information about the program?

    If you have questions that are not answered on our website, please feel free to contact us via LIVE chat (click the button toward the top of the page). If you are visiting us during non-business hours, please feel free to send us a question using the "Contact Us" form to the right. You may also call us at 1-855-520-6806. We will answer your questions promptly.

    11. When can I start the program?

    Our programs are all open enrollment. You can register and start the program as soon as you are ready.

    Please note: Once the program curriculum is accessed online or through submission of a material shipment confirmation, refunds cannot be issued.

    12. What if I don't have enough time to complete my program within the time frame provided?

    The time allotted to complete your program has been calculated based on the number of hours for each program, so don't worry too much about not completing in time. If, after a concerted effort, you are still unable to complete, your Student Advisor will help you work out a suitable completion date. Please note that a fee may be charged for an extension.

  • Reviews

    "The course provided a well rounded curriculum that included the basic and intermediate skills needed to become a pharmaceutical sales representative." 
- J.G., Atlanta Technical College

    "The material flow was excellent. It was easy to navigate, understand and retain." 
- T.M., Valencia Community College, Continuing Education for Health Professions

    "I was impressed with the amount of detail the course materials provided. I honestly feel I have a solid foundation to begin a new and successful career in pharmaceutical sales." 
- C.B., University of North Florida