Top Executives: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Many top executives have a bachelors or masters degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a masters degree in business administration (MBA).
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 8% (As fast as average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Some top executive positions may require the applicant to have a license or certification relevant to their area of management. For example, some employers may require their chief executive officer to be a certified public accountant (CPA).
Median pay: How much do Top Executives make?
$103,950 Annual Salary
$49.97 per hour

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.

What do Top Executives do?

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organizations financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organizations size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives:

Careers for Top Executives

  • Board chairmen
  • CEOs
  • Chairpersons of the board
  • Chancellors
  • Chief executive officers (C.E.O.)
  • Chief executive officers (CEOs)
  • Chief financial officers (C.F.O.)
  • Chief information officers (C.I.O.)
  • Chief operating officers (C.O.O.)
  • Chief sustainability officers
  • City superintendents
  • College presidents
  • Commissioners
  • County administrators
  • Directors
  • Executives
  • General and operations managers
  • Governors
  • Lieutenant governors
  • Managers
  • Mayors
  • Operations managers
  • Presidents
  • School superintendents
  • Superintendents
  • University presidents
  • Vice presidents

Similar Careers