Chief Medical Officer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

A Chief Medical Officer, or Chief Medical Director, oversees the daily operations of hospitals and medical centers. Their duties include ensuring the hospital’s expenses stay within the budget, hiring and training all healthcare physicians and keeping the facility safe and comfortable for all patients and visitors. 

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Chief Medical Officer duties and responsibilities 

The job of a Chief Medical Officer in a healthcare organization is to manage the organization’s Physicians and clinical operations. In addition to hiring and evaluating Physicians, the Chief Medical Officer should also:

  • Make sure the staff adheres to and follows all safety standards and healthcare regulations
  • Seek ways to improve the organization’s clinical services
  • Update staff on new healthcare regulations as they are received
  • Develop and manage a clinical facility’s budget
  • Train new Doctors
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What does a Chief Medical Officer do? 

Chief Medical Officers are in charge of ensuring their medical facility runs smoothly and efficiently. They often have an extensive history working in the medical field and use that knowledge to train and support their medical team. Chief Medical Officers work to ensure their patients and visitors receive the best treatment and regularly implement strategies to improve the facility’s services. 

They work closely with the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Directors to develop a budget and ensure the hospital spends within the allotted price range. Many of them act as mentors to the physicians and other hospital employees.

Chief Medical Officer skills and qualifications

A Chief Medical Officer needs comprehensive medical skills in addition to managerial skills. Some of these managerial skills and qualifications include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Analytic skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Interpersonal skills 

Chief Medical Officer salary expectations   

A Chief Medical Officer makes an average of $243,179 per year. This salary may vary depending on the candidate’s level of experience, education and the geographic location of the healthcare facility. 

Chief Medical Officer education and training requirements 

A Chief Medical Officer must be a Physician with a degree in medicine. In addition to the medical degree, many employers prefer or in some cases require a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree. The candidate should possess a current state-issued license to practice medicine. Finally, the applicant should have at least the minimum continuing education units (CEUs) needed to maintain their medical license.

Chief Medical Officer experience requirements 

Because the Chief Medical Officer position includes both clinical and administrative skills, most employers require that applicants have clinical experience treating patients and administrative experience. This is understandable since the primary responsibility of a Chief Medical Officer is overseeing the clinical staff and ensuring the highest possible quality of patient care. Administrative positions in hospitals, nursing homes and other clinical facilities are preferable to experience in nonmedical environments since, in addition to traditional administrative tasks such as budgeting and scheduling, clinical medical facilities offer experience in managing and supervising Physicians as well as being responsible for overall quality of patient care.

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Frequently asked questions about Chief Medical Officers


What makes a good Chief Medical Officer?

Chief Medical Officers often work closely with physicians to provide guidance and act as their mentor, so a good Chief Medical Officer should have strong leadership abilities to help motivate their team to perform effectively in their roles. 

They should also have extensive knowledge in how hospitals and medical facilities function to ensure they’re running it as best as possible and are making wise business decisions. It’s also helpful if Chief Medical Officers have experience working with money and budgets, as managing finances is a huge portion of their role. 


Who reports to the Chief Medical Officer?

Physicians and all hospital staff members operate under the direction of Chief Medical Officers. Most Hospital Shift Managers and other supervisory positions report to the Chief Medical Officer for updates and details about any hospital news or announcements, then they relay it to their teams. Most Chief Medical Officers provide guidance, advice and assistance to Physicians, since they usually have advanced experience working as a Physician in the medical field. 


What's the difference between a Medical Director and a Chief Medical Officer?

Medical Directors and Chief Medical Officers share similar responsibilities, like coordinating physicians, managing a medical facility’s budget and recruiting and training the medical team. Medical Directors can typically work in an abundance of medical facilities, like nursing homes, hospitals, residential care units and urgent care clinics, while Chief Medical Officers usually just work in a hospital setting. 

Chief Medical Officers often work in larger medical facilities, like hospitals where they oversee a large amount of employees and patients. Medical Directors often work in smaller facilities, where they’re in charge of fewer teams and complete more hands-on tasks than Chief Medical Officers typically do. 

Who does the Chief Medical Officer report to?


A Chief Medical Officer reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer or Board of Directors. They report their team’s progress to these high-level employees and give presentations on the hospital’s performance results. The CEO or Board of Directors often instruct the Chief Medical Officer to build an appropriate budget for the hospital and have them present the budget for their approval. 

The Chief Medical Officer is then in charge of making necessary expenses that fit within the given budget. They also report to the CEO or Board of Directors with any high-level concerns or guidance needed to help them effectively run the medical facility.

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