Chief Medical Officer Salary

Chief Medical Officer Salary


Quality control.  Patient safety.  Minimize deaths.  Those are the main functions of a Chief Medical Officer in a hospital setting.  As a CMO, it’s your duty to make sure there are structures in place to keep patients as safe as possible.  Are they receiving the right care?  At the right time?  At the right place?

For CMOs in medical-tech companies, the responsibilities might be a little different.  Instead, you might be the “Go-To” person who can bring your clinical experience and tie it to the company product.  Your position can give credibility to a company selling anything that’s medically related.


How much do Chief Medical Officers make?  According to the ACPE / CEJKA Physician Executive Compensation Survey, CMOs have a median salary of $324,750 not including bonuses.  We’ve covered before that bonuses can be an average of 20% on top which totals the salary of a CMO to $389,700.

The salary can vary depending on geographic location, what specialty you’re board certified in, and what kind of organization you work for.

Here are a few physicians who are Chief Medical Officers and how much they make :

  • Salary for any beginning CMO at Ventura County Medi-cal Managed Care – $190,000
  • Dr. Randall E. Kaye, CMO of AVANIR Pharmaceuticals – $336,467 base salary; with bonuses = $856,817 total compensation
  • Dr. Nancy Simonian, CMO of Millennium Pharmaceuticals – $390,271 base salary; with bonuses = $1,280,228 total compensation

Your number one attraction factor is your years of experience in clinical medicine.  If you haven’t cared for patients, it’s difficult to know first hand about what protocols work at the point of care, what hasn’t, what can be improved, and how you might approach it successfully.  Many companies require a minimum of 5 years of clinical practice experience.  Some prefer 7 years or more.  An MBA or MHA will help as well.


In my opinion, a Chief Medical Officer is an executive who still retains the full embodiment of our clinical training.  They are the ones who use that experience to ensure patient safety and improve clinical outcomes.  It may take a while to get this position, but it seems to be worth it.


ACPE / CEJKA 2009 Physician Executive Compensation Survey
WikiInvest, “Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc Def 14A”, “Randall E. Kaye
County of Ventura, “Executive Compensation : Salary Recommendations”

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