Career Choice: Chief Executive Officer
Description of Career: Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.
Skills and Education Required: Most Chief Executives have a Bachelor's or Master's in business administration or in an area related to their field. Big corporations have CEO's that have acquired their masters in business administration.
Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.
Decision-making skills. Top executives need decision-making skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.
Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.
Management skills. Top executives must organize and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.
Problem-solving skills. Top executives need problem-solving skills after identifying issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.
Time-management skills. Top executives must be able to do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.
Job Outlook: Employment of top executives is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary widely by industry and is largely dependent on the rate of industry growth. The median annual wage for chief executives was $168,140 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $76,220, and the top 10 percent earned more than $187,200. Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives that are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company.