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Chief Executives
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Description: what do they do?
Determine and formulate policies and provide overall direction of companies or private and public sector organizations within guidelines set up by a board of directors or similar governing body. Plan, direct, or coordinate operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of subordinate executives and staff managers.
Also known as:
President, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Operations Vice President, Vice President, Executive Vice President (EVP), Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center.

Career video
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    Transcript: To oversee the daily operations of an organization, chief executives do a little bit of everything. From making critical financial decisions, to appointing new managers, to planning and implementing organizational policies, chief executives have a broad range of responsibilities. Chief executives spend a lot of their time developing and building the teams that conduct the work of the organization. They represent their organization at conferences, and on visits to national or international branches of their group. Chief executives use a variety of technology to stay connected with people and projects across the span of their organization. They rely on sophisticated software to help them keep tabs on operations, research legal matters, and prepare financial reports. They often work long hours, including evenings and weekends. Many work more than 40 hours per week. Chief executives usually have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, often in business, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Many obtain their position only after years of managerial experience and promotions within the company. Chief executives work in nearly every industry, and any size of organization, from one-person companies, to small non-profits, to firms with thousands of employees. While the scale of a chief executive’s work may seem daunting, their opportunities to forge a strong, united organization of happy workers are endless.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
308,900
2016 Employment
296,800
2026 Employment
-4%
Percent change
20,000
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2014 (for states) or 2016 (nationally), the number expected to be employed in 2024 or 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central: Long Term Projections.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Employment Projections: 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Chief Executives in United States
LocationUnited States
10%$68,110
25%$113,470
Median$183,270
75%$208,000+
90%$208,000+


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • 5 years or more work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Direct financial operations.
  • Prepare staff schedules or work assignments.
  • Direct organizational operations, projects, or services.
  • Analyze data to assess operational or project effectiveness.
  • Develop organizational policies or programs.
  • Implement organizational process or policy changes.
  • Direct sales, marketing, or customer service activities.
  • Prepare operational budgets.
  • Confer with organizational members to accomplish work activities.
  • Resolve employee or contractor problems.
  • Manage human resources activities.
  • Negotiate contracts for transportation, distribution, or logistics services.
  • Coordinate with external parties to exchange information.
  • Analyze data to inform operational decisions or activities.
  • Direct administrative or support services.
  • Present information to the public.
  • Communicate organizational policies and procedures.
  • Prepare financial documents, reports, or budgets.
  • Prepare operational progress or status reports.
  • Analyze impact of legal or regulatory changes.
  • Advise others on legal or regulatory compliance matters.
  • Draft legislation or regulations.
  • Manage construction activities.
  • Liaise between departments or other groups to improve function or communication.
  • Represent the organization in external relations.
  • Promote products, services, or programs.
  • Coordinate special events or programs.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Economics and Accounting - Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Management of Personnel Resources - Selecting and managing the best workers for a job.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Management of Financial Resources - Making spending decisions and keeping track of what is spent.
  • Negotiation - Bringing people together to solve differences.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Management of Material Resources - Managing equipment and materials.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Flexibility of Closure - Seeing hidden patterns.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Direct or coordinate an organization's financial or budget activities to fund operations, maximize investments, or increase efficiency.
  • Appoint department heads or managers and assign or delegate responsibilities to them.
  • Analyze operations to evaluate performance of a company or its staff in meeting objectives or to determine areas of potential cost reduction, program improvement, or policy change.
  • Direct, plan, or implement policies, objectives, or activities of organizations or businesses to ensure continuing operations, to maximize returns on investments, or to increase productivity.
  • Direct or coordinate activities of businesses or departments concerned with production, pricing, sales, or distribution of products.
  • Prepare budgets for approval, including those for funding or implementation of programs.
  • Confer with board members, organization officials, or staff members to discuss issues, coordinate activities, or resolve problems.
  • Implement corrective action plans to solve organizational or departmental problems.
  • Direct human resources activities, including the approval of human resource plans or activities, the selection of directors or other high-level staff, or establishment or organization of major departments.
  • Negotiate or approve contracts or agreements with suppliers, distributors, federal or state agencies, or other organizational entities.
  • Make presentations to legislative or other government committees regarding policies, programs, or budgets.
  • Coordinate the development or implementation of budgetary control systems, recordkeeping systems, or other administrative control processes.
  • Direct or coordinate activities of businesses involved with buying or selling investment products or financial services.
  • Review reports submitted by staff members to recommend approval or to suggest changes.
  • Direct non-merchandising departments, such as advertising, purchasing, credit, or accounting.
  • Deliver speeches, write articles, or present information at meetings or conventions to promote services, exchange ideas, or accomplish objectives.
  • Interpret and explain policies, rules, regulations, or laws to organizations, government or corporate officials, or individuals.
  • Prepare or present reports concerning activities, expenses, budgets, government statutes or rulings, or other items affecting businesses or program services.
  • Review and analyze legislation, laws, or public policy and recommend changes to promote or support interests of the general population or special groups.
  • Prepare bylaws approved by elected officials and ensure that bylaws are enforced.
  • Administer programs for selection of sites, construction of buildings, or provision of equipment or supplies.
  • Serve as liaisons between organizations, shareholders, and outside organizations.
  • Attend and participate in meetings of municipal councils or council committees.
  • Represent organizations or promote their objectives at official functions or delegate representatives to do so.
  • Organize or approve promotional campaigns.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.