In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

101 Careers in Healthcare Management

The Chief Quality Officer (CQO) is responsible for planning, administration, and monitoring of consistent readiness of all quality management, regulatory requirements, and quality-improvement processes. The CQO will oversee and coordinate all hospital efforts to monitor and maintain compliance with all regulatory, state, federal, and Joint Commission requirements. As a member of the senior management team, the CQO initiates and oversees the development of a comprehensive quality/performance improvement program. In collaboration with hospital leadership, staff, medical staff leadership, and the Board of Trustees, the CQO directs and coordinates quality/performance improvement and hospital initiatives.

A bachelor’s degree in nursing and current RN license are the minimum clinical training required. Most CQOs have a minimum of 3 years of experience in quality management.


  • Outstanding interpersonal skills including the ability to effectively communicate with persons throughout the organization, including clinicians
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience with CMS conditions of participation for acute care hospitals and CMS survey processes
  • In-depth knowledge of external clinical quality reporting requirements
  • Current knowledge of Joint Commission, state, and federal guidelines, regulations, and standards
  • Must have coordinated, prepared, and participated in state, Joint Commission, and CMS surveys within past 3 years
  • Current statistical knowledge and skill in developing statistical data displays
  • Experience in the use of statistical and quality assessment software
  • Ability to analyze and resolve complex issues

CQOs earn in the range of $90,000 to $136,000 although with incentives and bonus pay added on, the salary can be as much as $150,000.

The employment outlook for CQOs in large hospital settings is generally good. Smaller hospitals typically cannot afford a CQO and that responsibility is distributed among other staff members.


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