How to become a CEO

With the advancement of technology and the rise of online businesses and start-ups, becoming a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) has become a popular career choice.

Being a CEO is a complex and challenging role, but it's one that can offer immense rewards for those who have the skills and drive to succeed.

Running a successful business requires a deep understanding of all its moving parts. It's not just about having a high-level view of things but also the ability to get into the nitty-gritty of how the business functions. 

In this article, we will discuss what it is that a CEO actually does, what subjects you need to take to become a CEO, and what salary you can expect to earn as a CEO. 

What does a CEO do?

Whether it's starting their own business or being appointed by a company's board of directors, a CEO is a top executive in charge of all operations and decision-making. 

They are responsible for making major corporate decisions, managing overall operations and resources, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors, founding members and company operations. 

This role requires strong leadership skills, strategic vision, and a deep understanding of the industry and market in which the organisation operates. Additionally, the CEO must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills, as they are often the face of the organisation and are expected to represent the company to stakeholders, shareholders, and the public. 

The role and responsibilities of a CEO can vary greatly depending on the size and type of the organisation, but they are typically the key decision-maker and ultimate authority in the company.

What subjects do you need to take to become a CEO? 

To prepare for a future as a CEO, high school students should consider taking courses in the following subjects:

  • Business Studies: A strong understanding of business operations and strategies will benefit a CEO in making informed decisions about company direction and growth.
  • Accounting: Proficiency in financial accounting principles and practices is crucial for a CEO to effectively manage the company's financial performance and budgeting.
  • Economics: Knowledge of micro and macroeconomic principles and trends provides a CEO with valuable insight into market strategies, pricing, and resource allocation.
  • Mathematics: Mathematical skills are necessary for a CEO to comprehend financial performance and make sound decisions regarding budgeting and investment strategies.
  • English: Strong English language skills, including writing and speaking, are critical for a CEO to effectively communicate and articulate ideas, both internally within the company and externally with stakeholders. A solid grasp of the English language also enables a CEO to comprehend and interpret written material, such as legal contracts, financial reports, and industry news, which is essential in making informed business decisions. 
  • Computer science and technology: Familiarity with technology, such as advances in Ai or Robotics, keeps a CEO ahead of industry trends and allows them to make informed decisions about technology investments.
  • Social and emotional learning: Understanding human emotions and interpersonal relationships can help a CEO build strong relationships with employees, customers, and stakeholders and cultivate a positive company culture.

Additionally, participating in extracurricular activities such as debate club, public speaking, and volunteer work can help to develop leadership and teamwork skills.

Who should become a CEO? 

Becoming a CEO is not only about academic performance. A CEO should possess the following interpersonal skills:

  • Leadership: The ability to inspire and motivate employees, and set goals and direction for the company.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills, both oral and written, to articulate ideas and information to employees, stakeholders, and the public.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and respond to the emotions and perspectives of others.
  • Interpersonal relationships: Building and maintaining solid relationships with employees, stakeholders, and customers.
  • Conflict resolution: The ability to effectively resolve conflicts and find mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Negotiation: The ability to negotiate and reach agreements with customers, suppliers and partners.
  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to change and new circumstances and challenges.
  • Emotional intelligence: The ability to recognise and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

How much does a CEO earn?

The salary of a CEO can vary widely based on factors such as the size of the company, industry, location, and the individual's experience and performance. 

According to Glassdoor, the average base salary for a CEO in the United States is around $186,000 per year, but some CEOs earn significantly more, into the millions or even tens of millions of dollars. 

It's also important to note that CEO compensation packages often include additional benefits such as bonuses, stock options, and incentives.

The role of a CEO is one of great responsibility, demanding both a high level of business knowledge and strong leadership skills. With the increase in online businesses and startups, becoming a CEO has become an attractive career goal for many young people. 

Becoming a CEO is a challenging but rewarding career choice that requires a combination of education, experience, and personal qualities such as leadership, communication, and strategic vision.

High school students interested in this career path can benefit from taking courses in business studies, accounting, economics, mathematics, English, computer science, and social and emotional learning. These subjects will equip them with the skills necessary to understand the complexities of business operations and make informed decisions about the direction and growth of the company. 

CambriLearn has a few tools available to help high school learners better understand their strengths and areas of interest to help them make informed career choices, these include: 

Take this FREE Career Quiz for teens

How to become a CEO

Take this FREE Career Quiz for teens

How to become a CEO

The P.A.S.S. Career Assessment was created to help teens best understand their strengths & interests to help them identify potential careers

Take the Quiz

Other articles