Companies rely on product specialists to develop product ideas, test them through consumer research and determine the best sizes, flavors, styles and features for products. Product specialists also set prices for products, coordinate and track advertising and introduce new products at trade shows. If you want to be a product specialist, you need to determine whether you prefer marketing consumer products, foods or more technical and scientific products: computer software and medical diagnostic equipment. You'll likely need an engineering degree to market technical products. You can expect to earn average salaries above $40,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
Product specialists earned average annual salaries of $42,000 as of 2013, according to the job website Indeed. To become a product specialist, you need a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, engineering, liberal arts or computer science, and two or more years of experience in product management or technical support. Other essential requirements include attention to detail, creativity and organizational, communication, problem-solving and computer skills.
Salary by Region
In 2013, average salaries for product specialists varied considerably within the four U.S. regions. In the Midwest region, they earned the highest salaries of $45,000 in Illinois and the lowest of $33,000 in South Dakota. Those in the Northeast earned between $37,000 and $45,000 per year, respectively, in South Dakota and Illinois. If you worked in the West, you'd earn $30,000 to $46,000, respectively, in Hawaii or California. And your annual earnings would be $36,000 or $50,000, respectively, in Louisiana or Washington, D.C., the lowest and highest salaries in the South.
A product specialist may earn higher salaries in certain industries. For example, in 2012, marketing managers -- with whom product specialists work -- earned some of the highest average salaries in the gas extraction and securities and commodities industries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- $171,230 and $164,680 per year, respectively. This is $35,000 to $40,000 more than the average marketing manager makes, at $129,870 annually. You may also earn more in the gas extraction and securities and commodities industries working as a product specialist.
The BLS doesn't report job trends for product specialists. It does forecast jobs for advertising, promotions and marketing managers, which it predicts will increase 14 percent in the next decade -- on par with the national average for all occupations. Jobs for products specialists may also increase at a similar pace because they work for marketing or product managers. Companies need your services as a product specialist to help them increase revenue and market share in a highly competitive marketplace.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Marketing Managers
- American Student Assistance: Product Specialist
- Indeed: Cornerstone OnDemand: Product Specialist
- Indeed: Product Specialist Salary
- Indeed: Product Specialist Salary in Maine, and New York
- Indeed: Product Specialist Salary in Hawaii, and California
- Indeed: Product Specialist Salary in Louisiana, and Washington, DC
- Indeed: Product Specialist Salary in South Dakota, and Illinois
- Urban Code: Product Specialist: Enterprise Software Product
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