Business Education

Chief Executive Officer Education requirements

How to Become a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)  April 2, 2017 – 04:05 pm
How Do I Become a Chief

According to the BLS, the minimum education for most chief executive officer positions is a bachelor's degree. Majors for aspiring CEOs might include liberal arts, business administration or public administration. If a prospective CEO plans to enter a specific industry, such as health care administration, prior coursework or a bachelor's degree in that field can be useful.

Step 2: Complete a Master's Degree Program

Many aspiring chief executive officers choose to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a similar graduate degree. These programs can be pursued before finding work within an industry or after having been employed for some time. Those who are currently working in a corporate or managerial position can enroll in a part-time professional or executive MBA program that integrates practical work knowledge into the curriculum. MBA students might take classes in strategic management, finance, organizational theories and managerial economics.

Here are some success tips that might help you with this part of the process.

Complete an Internship

Graduate programs often include internship opportunities that can allow future CEOs to acquire work experience while still enrolled in school. Students might also pursue study abroad options that allow them to study international business and develop practical skills.

Choose a Concentration

Most MBA programs require their students to select a concentration to focus their studies on. These individuals can take advantage of this opportunity by selecting an emphasis that relates to the industry they wish to advance in. Many programs allow students to specialize in fields like marketing, finance, information technology, environmental sustainability, public policy, and health administration.

Step 3: Gain Experience

It is rare to enter straight into a career as a chief executive officer. Instead, most aspiring CEOs start at a lower-level management position within a company and work their way up until a CEO opening is available. Many also keep an eye on openings within other organizations, so there is potential to change companies while still advancing.

Here's a success tip for this step of the process that you should consider.

Get Involved

Companies may offer corporate training or development programs, which can help potential chief executive officers learn the tricks of the trade and teach them how to be a high-level manager. It's also important to show dedication in the field; the BLS reported that those who wish to rise into executive positions must often work long hours that include nights, weekends, and holidays.

Step 4: Consider Voluntary Certification

Voluntary certification is another way for CEOs to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency and advance their careers. The Institute of Certified Professional Managers offers the designation of Certified Manager, which requires a minimum amount of education, experience, and training, as well as a passing exam score. Eligibility to sit for the exam is determined by a system of points based on the years of education and experience that a candidate has accumulated.

So to sum up, in order to become a chief executive officer you need to first earn a bachelor's degree, usually in a business related field, then earn a master's degree (an MBA), gain professional experience, and consider voluntary certification.


McGraw-Hill Education How We Lead Matters: Reflections on a Life of Leadership
Book (McGraw-Hill Education)
  • Business
  • How we Lead
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  • Reflections on a Life of Leadership

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