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Medical Director

Education and Training Medical School
Average Salary $217,000
Job Outlook Good

Medical directors are in charge of coming up with the policies, procedures, and overall strategic level of a given medical facility or organization. The role of medical director is a very senior position within the healthcare system. As well as requiring an expert medical knowledge, due to the level of clinical oversight the position entails, medical directors also need to have strong leadership and managerial qualities. Medical directors are responsible for leading a team of people and so need to be exemplary role models for the organization they work for.

Education and Training Requirements

The requirements needed to become a Medical Director are of a very high standard. This is due to the seniority of the medical director role and the level of power and responsibility that come with it. Anyone thinking of becoming a medical director needs to have a medical school degree. This is obtained by studying at medical school for four years after completing four years of undergraduate study. The high school level courses that are advantageous to this career path are science subjects such as biology, health, and physics.

As well as the formal education, a medical director also needs to have a lengthy track record working in medicine. This is usually a minimum of four years of clinical experience after graduating medical school.

Getting the Job

Securing a job as a medical director is a lengthy and difficult process. As well as the eight years of formal education that are required to obtain the minimum qualifications necessary, a track record of fifteen successful years minimum working in medicine is essential. In that time the candidate will need to have shown exceptional judgment, visionary decision making, and excellent leadership. Anyone seeking a medical director role also needs to show they can see the big picture, plan strategically, oversee a medical organization’s clinical direction and communicate with and lead a team of physicians.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The employment outlook for medical directors is good. The entire healthcare industry is projected to expand and diversify and this is likely to lead to a number of new medical organizations coming into being. These will need staff at all levels. Although there will be fewer roles for medical directors created than other job roles in the healthcare industry, there will still be an increase.

The job of medical director tends to be the highest point of a person’s career so there is no typical path of promotion from that role upwards. Some medical directors advance their careers by moving to direct larger facilities or by setting up their own consultancy company or moving into teaching.

Working Conditions and Environment

Medical directors will spend most of their work time in a private office environment. As well as this, medical directors will be expected to attend a range of meetings which may involve traveling. Depending on the exact role, medical directors may be required to attend and also give lectures on relevant medical topics in their field.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a medical director is listed at $217,000 a year. This may be less for newly appointed medical directors at smaller facilities. The most senior medical directors at the world’s most prestigious facilities can sometimes earn in excess of $400,000 a year. A full range of benefits are usually offered such as top level health and dental care, company cars, and more.

Where to Go for More Information

American College of Healthcare Executives
One N Franklin St., Ste. 1700
Chicago, IL 60606

Association of American Medical Colleges
Section for Student Services
2450 N St. NW.
Washington, DC 20037

Medical Group Management Association
104 Inverness Terrace E
Englewood, CO 80112

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine