Cheif Medical Officer – Degree, Career & Salary

A chief medical officer (or abbreviated CMO) works in health departments within government or within a health institution. As a head of medical services, a chief medical officer leads and advises medical experts on the community’s health and social care.

Other names for a chief medical officer are: district medical officer, medical officer for health (MOH) and medical health officer.

What Does a Chief Medical Officer Do?

Public health is of great importance in every country or a state, so it’s crucial to gather a team of experts in the field of public health with a chief medical officer as head of the team.

As sizes of the areas that a CMO is in charge may vary, the responsibilities of this officer may also differ. For example, a chief medical officer that serves at global or federal level has more responsibilities than CMO that serves at municipal or county level. Below are listed the duties of a CMO that works on a higher level.

A chief medical officer:

  • Evaluates environmental threats that can harm human health
  • Controls infectious disease
  • Monitors areas related to epidemiology
  • Leads emergency situations in public health
  • Advises on disease prevention as well as on promotion of health and healthy lifestyle
  • Develops public health policies
  • Develops plans on injury prevention
  • Works towards achieving health equity

The chief medical officers that serve at lower levels such as municipal level may have fewer responsibilities. They observe, guide and train medical staff and oversee health programs. By creating the strategies for promoting health in their community, they make sure that every individual within the community improves their health.

Also, they monitor the quality of patient services, lead physicians’ teams, innovate business in medical facilities and other.

Who Can Become a Chief Medical Officer?

In comparison with the tradition when CMOs were skilled medical doctors, nowadays, the roles of a CMO may occupy both physicians that have no training or experience in the field of public health and medical doctors that want to move from the medical practice sector to the public health.

The person that would be perfect for this employment position has to be a goal oriented visionary and dedicated to his profession in order to effectively do the job.

There are also some skills that are relevant for this occupation such as:

  • Leadership skills are important because a chief medical officer’s duties would be to lead the health professionals in providing medical care and promoting health to public whether it’s on a global or a municipal level or within a medical facility.
  • Communication skills are required in order to be able to present the ideas related to public health plans and strategies to both public and health government as well as to easily write reports, make contracts and speak in public. Also, these skills are essential when one has to motivate and inspire others.
  • Organizational skills help CMO to easily organize different areas of public health or departments within a health institution. Usually those that possess these skills are also able to manage different projects and medical professionals that participate in them. These skills are necessary when managing budgets, keeping track of the goals and achievements and other.
  • Managerial skills include the ability to analyze trends in medical market, to coach the employees and develop their skills. When managing and coordinating a team of medical professionals, these skills help in better understanding of the issues that need to be resolved.

When it comes to required education and work experience, this position can be occupied by a graduate in practice medicine, public health and any other medical field. Since the chief medical officers are leaders, they must have knowledge of the medical practice as well as the experience in any medical facility so they are able to teach and guide others. A required minimum would be a graduate degree, experience of five years and a verified medical license.

How Much Can a Chief Medical Officer Earn a Year?

Since this is an extremely important executive position, many of those that are interested in getting it will pursue a doctoral degree (so they have better chances in getting this job). CMOs can earn an approximately $470,000 a year, but the amount of the money may vary depending upon experience, education and the level of the medical organization.

CMOs that have just been promoted into this position will start with $278,000 and those that have advanced education, more experience and are responsible for the higher level of a health organization may earn more than half a million.

The high salary is one of the reasons for saying this is a beneficial job position. Besides great salary, other benefits include satisfaction in helping a larger number of people and the flexibility in making the schedules.

However, CMOs’ responsibilities may affect their lives since this job is stressful. Although they make their own schedules, sometimes their presence will be required during the evening hours and weekend.