Best Paying Commission Jobs

Updated on February 8, 2024

Commission-based jobs offer unique opportunities for professionals to leverage their skills and drive to directly influence their earnings. While these roles can vary widely across industries, they all share a common feature: the potential for high rewards. Here, we explore some of the top commission-based positions, highlighting job titles, average salaries, and the core responsibilities associated with each role.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents facilitate property transactions, representing either the buyer or the seller. Their income is directly tied to the properties they sell, with commissions typically ranging from 5% to 6% of the sale price, split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

  • Average Salary: $51,220, with top earners making over $174,120 annually.
  • Responsibilities: Property listing, client representation, negotiation, and transaction facilitation.
  • Required Education: Licensure which involves completing a certain number of hours in real estate courses and passing a licensing exam.

Sales Engineer

Sales engineers combine technical knowledge with sales skills to sell complex scientific and technological products or services. They often work in the technology or manufacturing sectors.

  • Average Salary: $108,830, with the possibility of earning up to $184,190.
  • Responsibilities: Tailoring solutions to meet customer needs, technical presentations, and product demonstrations.
  • Required Education: Typically requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related field.

Securities, Commodities, and Financial Services Sales Agent

These professionals work in the financial sector, facilitating transactions in securities, commodities, and other financial services.

  • Average Salary: $65,420, with the potential to earn upwards of $171,700.
  • Responsibilities: Buying and selling securities, advising clients, and managing portfolios.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or a related field is common, along with specific licenses depending on the products they deal with.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representative

These sales representatives sell products for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses, government agencies, and other organizations.

  • Average Salary: $65,420, with opportunities to make more than $129,200.
  • Responsibilities: Customer outreach, product demonstrations, and contract negotiations.
  • Required Education: Usually requires a high school diploma, although a bachelor’s degree is often preferred for technical products.

Travel Agent

Travel agents plan and sell transportation, accommodations, insurance, and other travel services. They earn commissions from vendors for each booking made.

  • Average Salary: Around $42,350, with the potential to earn more than $73,360.
  • Responsibilities: Planning trips, booking reservations, and providing travel advice.
  • Required Education: High school diploma, with some positions requiring postsecondary training in travel planning.

Advertising Sales Agent

Advertising sales agents sell advertising space to businesses and individuals. They work with clients to design and place advertisements in various media outlets.

  • Average Salary: Approximately $54,940, with the top earners making over $124,030.
  • Responsibilities: Identifying potential clients, presenting advertising options, and maintaining client relationships.
  • Required Education: A high school diploma is the minimum requirement, though a bachelor’s degree in advertising or a related field is beneficial.


Recruiters, especially those working externally, often earn commissions by placing candidates in job positions. Their commissions may be a percentage of the hired candidate’s salary.

  • Average Salary: $84,441, with variations depending on the field and level of positions they fill.
  • Responsibilities: Sourcing candidates, conducting interviews, and facilitating placements.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field is common.

Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance agents sell various types of insurance policies and earn commissions based on the policies they sell.

  • Average Salary: Around $54,940, with the possibility of earning more than $124,030.
  • Responsibilities: Advising clients on insurance coverage, tailoring policies to client needs, and maintaining client records.
  • Required Education: A high school diploma is required, along with licensure in the states where they operate.

Pharmaceutical Sales Representative

These representatives sell medical products and medications to healthcare professionals and facilities.

  • Average Salary: $69,047, with senior roles earning around $82,596.
  • Responsibilities: Educating healthcare providers on products, managing accounts, and monitoring market trends.
  • Required Education: A bachelor’s degree, often in a life science or related field.

Inside Sales Representative

Inside sales representatives sell products or services over the phone or through online platforms, often involving cold calling or responding to inquiries.

  • Median Salary: $75,391.
  • Responsibilities: Lead generation, product demonstrations via digital platforms, and closing sales.
  • Required Education: A high school diploma is required, though many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree.

Final Thoughts

Commission-based jobs can be highly lucrativefor those who excel in them, offering a unique blend of flexibility, potential for high earnings, and the satisfaction of directly reaping the rewards of one’s efforts. While these roles can be challenging and demand a high degree of dedication, resilience, and skill, they present significant opportunities for professional growth and financial gain. Whether you’re drawn to the fast-paced world of sales, the dynamic field of real estate, or the evolving landscape of technology and finance, commission-based jobs offer a path to success that is directly influenced by your ability to perform and persuade.

If you’re considering a career in one of these fields, it’s essential to develop a strong foundation in the necessary skills, obtain the required education or certifications, and cultivate a resilient mindset to navigate the ups and downs inherent in commission-based work. With the right approach, a commission-based job can be a rewarding and lucrative career choice.


For more information on the job titles, salaries, and responsibilities mentioned, you can visit the following sources:

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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