What Is A Chemist?


Chemists, otherwise known as pharmacists, are trained individuals whose specialty revolves around the topic of pharmacy. Chemists are required to not only understand the effects of medicines on the client’s body. They are also required to have knowledge of the possible toxicity and composition of the medication they are handling.

In general, Chemists are responsible for the processing and allocation of prescribed and non-prescribed medication. Chemists may also recommend over-the-counter medicines to treat specific ailments, allowing the client to find relief without requiring a doctor’s visit.

Alongside this responsibility, Chemists are also required to provide customers with the requested and necessary information to ensure the correct handling and dosage of the medication they are given. Chemists can provide clients with information regarding side effects and medication storage. Chemists can also answer any questions the clients might have about the interaction between various drugs they are currently taking.

Chemists must also monitor the quality of the medicines they are allocating, ensuring that the medication is within legal standards before they are passed on to a customer. While Chemists are responsible for dispensing drugs prescribed by healthcare professionals, they also have a responsibility to identify if the medication recommended is suitable for the client. This is done by examining a client’s pharmaceutical and medical history to prevent any avoidable side effects. Changes in prescribed medication will only occur after a Chemist has discussed the changes with the prescribing professional to ensure that the client is getting the best option possible.

Chemists who work primarily in a hospital setting, such as on hospital wards, carry an added responsibility to teach doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals the correct way to administer, store and request any medication needed for their patients. In such a setting, medication supply and the removal and proper disposal of any expired medicines also fall under the Chemist’s purview. In the cases requiring the use of Controlled Drugs (CD), Chemists are often needed to monitor the preparation of the medication prior to the healthcare professional administering the drug to a patient.

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Due to these numerous responsibilities, a Chemist is required to have extensive knowledge of the medication they are handling.

How To Become A Chemist?

There are various paths that an individual might follow to achieve the qualifications to become a Chemist. The way chosen is dependent on the individual’s location and changes depending on the country in question.

In the United States, individuals who wish to pursue a career as a Chemist must first acquire a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Upon being awarded with this qualification, the individual is then required to take the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination before they can practice as a Chemist. Chemists are also subject to state exams that are necessary for specific states.

In places such as the United Kingdom and, to some extent Northern Ireland, aspiring Chemist must complete a four year Master of Pharmacy Degree. To be recognized as immediately valid, this degree must take place at a GPhC accredited university. However, clients who have trained overseas can qualify by taking the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme, which lasts for one year. Students must also complete a fifty-two week preregistration period in an approved setting under a pharmacist tutor.

Where Do Chemists Work?

There are several settings in which Chemists may be found. One of the most common places for Chemists to work is in a hospital setting, as mentioned above. Not only located on the hospital wards, some of these Chemists work solely in the dispensary, providing visiting and discharged patients with the medication requested by doctors and other healthcare professionals. Hospital-based Chemists may also participate in clinics providing services such as smoke cessation advice and cholesterol management classes.

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Chemists may also be found in retail locations or community pharmacies. Chemists in these locations are often mainly responsible for the sale of pre-stocked medication and the allocation of prescribed medication.

Chemists are also present in prison settings, where they function much as they do on the hospital wards, providing patients with the required medication for temporary and long-term illnesses under the direction of the assigned healthcare professionals.

Veterinary clinics, military facilities and in some cases, educational institutes may also employ the services of a Chemist.

Chemists are also heavily involved in the creation of the medication they allocate and can often be found in Pharmaceutical production.

How Much Does A Chemist Get Paid?

Much like education, the wages of a Chemist depends heavily on where they are located. A Chemist’s salary also depends on the length of their career and the position they have obtained. In the United Kingdom, earnings fluctuate between £31,365 and £104,927 per year. While in the United States, Chemist may earn anywhere between $104,482 and $129,252 depending on location and experience.

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