Best Sales Programs in California and Washington
Even though more than 50% of college graduates will hold their initial job in sales, there are only a few universities offering sales courses. There are over 4,000 colleges in the U.S. and less than 100 offer sales courses or programs. Rarely, do any universities offer sales as a major, and most sales courses fall under the marketing major.
As the sales profession continues to grow, universities have started to introduce sales minors, programs, competitions, and certifications into the curriculum.
This educational experience equips students with the knowledge, experience, and skills needed to be successful in their careers. These universities are making strides in linking higher education and the sales industry.
Here are the top 6 sales universities on the West Coast (California and Washington):
(Listed by student enrollment size according to the Sales Education Foundation.)
The University of Washington Foster School’s Professional Sales Program provides students the opportunity to earn a sales certificate with their undergraduate degree. The program is open to all students. The program gives students hands-on learning experience and has a 90% job placement rate for students after graduation. Jack Rhodes is the Director of the Sales Program at the University of Washington. The Husky Sales Club is an arm of the Sales Program and hosts a business partner Speaker Series throughout the year as well as a Sales Career Fair.
California State University, Chico offers the Seufferlein Sales Program to their students. The sales program consists of a 21-credit Professional Sales Certificate that is open to all students but is specifically designed for marketing majors and minors. The program is run by Bill McGowan and is only 1 of 60 schools in the world with a sales program recognized by the University Sales Center Alliance. Chico State also has a new sales lab and hosts two sales competitions per year. Student have the opportunity to participate in the Sweet 16 Sales Challenge, Spring 12 Competition, and the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition.
California State University, Fullerton’s Sales Leadership Center is dedicated to the field of sales. Their mission is to “Ignite Sales Careers.” The Certificate of Professional Sales enables students to gain a hands-on education as well as real-life sales experience. They have a new state-of-the-art sales facility with a virtual sales lab. Mark Mantey is the Director of the Sales Leadership Center. The sales program offers training courses, scholarships, career services, and competitions. They host the SLC Titan Sales Competition that is open to all students.
Washington State University Vancouver’s Professional Sales Certificate program prepares students for marketing and sales careers. The integrated program is designed with courses in sales management, b2b marketing, and negotiations. All marketing students are required to take the professional sales option, but the sales program is also open to all students. WSU Vancouver hosts a professional sales competition on campus, and students also compete in local and national sales competitions. Dr. Ronald Pimental runs the sales program and collaborates with local businesses to give students a hands-on approach. The program also serves the recruiting needs of both the Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR employers.
Northwest University offers a Professionals Sales Minor to students. This minor is designed to prepare students for sales, sales management, and customer service careers. The sales program is run by Cori Hartje. The sales minor is open to all students and covers courses in marketing, professional selling, and negotiations. A sales internship is required in the program. Courses are modeled after programs recommended by the Sales Education Foundation.
Sonoma State University provides a Professional Sales Certificate to undergraduate students. The program is run by Sarah Dove and is designed to introduce students to various aspects of professional selling, communicating and influencing, and problem-solving. There is also a focus on wine and spirit sales. The Wine Business Institute offers a number of certifications relevant to sales.
Sales is a part of our daily lives, and having the opportunity to learn and practice sales in a classroom setting is extremely beneficial to students as they enter the workforce. The ability to sell is relevant and transferrable across most industries and professions.
It’s also important to break the stigma around sales, and educate students on the value of sales and its role in every corporation. It’s counterintuitive that universities prepare students for other professions like accounting, engineering, and marketing, but miss the opportunity to prepare students for one of the largest employment opportunities out there.