"It used to be just their niche was [vice president of medical affairs] or [chief medical officer] but now it's really expanded and it continues to expand," Schutte says. "There is a growing demand for physician executives in lots of different areas – chief quality officers, chief medical information officers, and CEOs. I don't know if it is necessarily a surprise."
And increasingly, Schutte says physician executives are demonstrating the value of obtaining advanced graduate degrees such as masters in business administration.
"That shows the complexity of what they are asked to deal with," she says. "Those jobs are harder. They're dealing with many of the business issues as much as they are the medical issues. Whereas in the past it was just 'we are hiring you to direct the physicians.' Now the physicians are dealing with the business of the hospital."
Schutte says there is a clear link between advanced degrees such as MBAs and job opportunities in senior management and earning power for physician executives. The survey found that physician executives holding MBAs enjoyed a 10% difference in median compensation when compared with colleagues with no post-graduate management degree.