First and foremost, Chief Medical Officers are medical doctors, so training, education, and licensure will be similar to physicians and surgeons. Business management training and education will help with the executive administrative duties a CMO needs to perform.
Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Physicians typically need a bachelor’s degree, a degree from a medical school, which takes 4 years to complete, and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.
All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.
All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board.
Certification is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 7 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from a certifying board including the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).
Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector may have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations may have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).
Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience, and this experience is expected to be in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower-level supervisory or management experience in a related field.