How Do You Become a CEO?

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CEOFor many young professionals seeking to climb the ranks of corporate leadership, many wonder how to become a CEO. Chief Executive Officers, who are entrusted as the top decision-making individuals of an organization or a corporation, are highly paid individuals who help set and implement goals, plans and policies for their respective businesses. Here is an overview of how becoming a CEO exactly works for different types of businesses and organizations.


Regardless of the size of the business or organization that you work for, most chief executive officers have some sort of credible background and education that has equipped them with the right skills and knowledge on how to be effective leaders. CEOs often have diverse background. While the average CEO usually has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration; a lot of CEOs usually have backgrounds in law, advertising, public policy, healthcre administration, and medicine. The type of business you work for will determine exactly the right education credentials you will need. However, make no mistake about it, if you plan on becoming a CEO of any type of organization, it is in your best interest to have at least a college degree from a reputable college or university.


Most CEOs often started off as regular employees of their respective businesses and or organizations. Often the best CEOs are those who understand every facet of their business or organization. This usually means that most CEOs steadily climbed the ranks of different organizations, usually starting off as an entry-level manager and eventually making their way up to middle-level and senior management. Unless you plan on starting your own business or organization and appoint yourself CEO, you will need to spend at least 10 years working for an organization before being considered CEO material. Before most CEOs are appointed into their roles, they usually come from vice president and senior vice president roles within their organizations.

Vetting Process

So now that you have the education and experience to become a prospective CEO of a company, how does one exactly become a CEO? Well, the first thing to make sure of is whether or not there is an opening for such a role. Most CEOs are appointed by the organization’s board of directors. They will usually scout prospective individuals who fit a set criteria. Most individuals who sit on boards of corporations and other types of organizations usually utilize their preexisting network of connections in their respective industry to find qualified individuals. Some organizations would even possibly post an internal job posting to find candidates from within. For those who are seriously looking at being at the higher echelons of corporate leadership, also consider working with a recruiter in order to find an opportunity.


Most CEOs of medium to large-sized corporations can enjoy really great salaries and benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average CEO in 2010 made an average of $50 an hour, which comes out to around $100,000 or more a year. Larger companies also reward highly effective CEOs with stock options and large bonuses if profit targets are met and exceeded. Obviously, salary will depend on years of experience, location, size of corporation and industry.

Related Resource: Chief Technology Officer

While becoming a CEO might seem like difficult thing to do, it is very possible. Just create an effective career plan and map out how to become a CEO for any organization or corporation you are interested in.

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