Chief Medical Officer

Public health provides an outlet for many trained professionals to find greater job security within their field.  Many people who have trained in the medical field will decide to move into the public health sector so that they can be of greater service to the community and enjoy the peace of mind of a stable position.  The post of chief medical officer is just one such position that bridges the private and public sectors.

While jobs in healthcare are in increasingly high demand, budget restraints in many privately run hospitals can often curtail the opportunities for career advancement and for providing services to the public.  If you are interested in putting your experience and education to greater use while still affording yourself job satisfaction, then work as a chief medical officer could be for you.

What Is A Chief Medical Officer?

This career path would allow you to act in an administrative and active position within a medical setting.  Chief medical officers oversee staff and programs.  This allows for greater training of employees as well as better care to be accessed by the public.  As an executive position, this job would include creating goals and visions for the facility as well as managing existing courses of action.

Along with staff management, the chief medical officer is also responsible for looking at labor and funding, to streamline these resources for the greater benefit of the public.  Strategy examination and the use of business partnerships play a large role in this job, as they are tools which allow the facility to run more smoothly.  The creation of clinical programs for community outreach is also a focus for the chief medical officer.

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The following responsibilities are part of the expectations of a chief medical officer:

  •   Offering clinical guidance and support to staff and medical team members.
  •   Staying current with new modes of healthcare delivery and innovating business and healthcare strategies.
  •   Ensuring accreditation of facility and team members.
  •   Building relationships with the community for financial and clinical partnerships.
  •   Overseeing quality of services, interactions, and treatments.
  •   Developing new economic models for facility operations.
  •   Interacting with legislative and employment representatives to build greater community collaborations.


As an executive position, the chief medical officer would require the following traits for an effective job performance:

  •   Good leadership:  You will be guiding an entire healthcare team, so your ability to implement valid plans of action in an understandable and inspirational manner is a necessity.
  •   Management abilities:  Beyond leading the staff, you will also need you will also need to attend to the fiscal and operational workings of the facility.  This will include ensuring that certifications and licensing are up to date and that funds are utilized in a resourceful manner. 
  •   Organization and multi-tasking:  You will need to be extremely focused and on point with your actions and delegations.  As you will be managing personnel, budget, and outreach concerns, you must be able to keep track of goal achievement as well as the activities of different healthcare teams
  •   Communication:  You will not only be required to convey information clearly to your staff, but also to the public and to local government agencies.  This can include written reports as well as verbally communicated lessons.  Your interpersonal skills will be highly important.
  •   Goal oriented visioning:  Part of the position of chief medical officer is to devise new programs for healthcare interventions and to implement them.  This will require you to strategies goals and milestones within the plan and to set the expectations of the staff.

Nature Of The Work

A chief medical officer works within a clinical setting and performs both administrative and operative duties.  While the majority of the work involves developing and implementing cost effective strategies for healthcare delivery, you also need to have a competent knowledge of treatments and medical interventions.  Part of your job would include observing and training staff members to ensure optimal patient satisfaction.

Chief medical officers can work in nearly any healthcare facility.  This could range from VA hospitals to public urgent care facilities or government sponsored long-term care homes.  The demand for guidance and leadership in these settings is influenced by the focus on providing access to quality healthcare to the community.  This career path will also include a presence at municipal board meetings in order to further healthcare strategies on a legislative front.

Education And Training

The position of chief medical order does require a four year degree and the successful completion of training at an accredited medical school.  You will also need to have a current license to practice medicine in the state that you are working in.  Further educational qualifications can include specialty practices certifications and either two year or four year business degrees.

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For most openings in this field you will also need a minimum of five years clinical experience beyond your residency.  This ensures that you are familiar with the practices of a medical facility setting and that you have experience with the obstacles and concerns that staff members may face at work.  As your expectations include enacting better management and practice stratagems, this experience is crucial in performing the job of chief medical officer in a cost effective and community beneficial way.

As an executive career option in public health, the job of chief medical officer is in one of the higher salary ranges for public health employees.  The low end of this field is around $250,000 and can go as high as $470,000 depending upon education, experience, and scope of specialties.  The median salary for a chief medical officer in most states is $340,000 annually, and this position is expecting to see an 11% growth rate over the next ten years. 

The choice of this career path allows you to provide the public with better quality healthcare access.  However, it will also enable you to create a more positive workplace for healthcare employees.  With good earning potential, great stability, and even greater personal and public rewards, the job of chief medical officer can be a fulfilling employment decision. 

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