Monday 6 January 2020

Chemist or Pharmacist: What’s The Difference?

Marla Ahlgrimm
Many young students interested in a career in science and medicine often choose between chemistry or pharmaceuticals. But what, exactly, is the difference between a chemist and a pharmacist? Marla Ahlgrimm explains.

Q: What is a chemist?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A chemist is an individual who has gone to school to study chemicals, chemical compositions, and how they affect the world around them. They are required to have exceptional mathematics and research skills.

Q: What is a pharmacist?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A pharmacist shares many of the same classes and requirements as a chemist. However, the primary difference is that a pharmacist centers his or her specialty around chemicals as they relate to medicine. Similar to a chemist, a pharmacist will understand the molecular structure of different types of chemicals, but would be more qualified to answer questions relating to how they affect the body versus how they affect the outside world.

Q: Where would a chemist work?

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm: It is true that chemists can work in the pharmaceutical industries. However, there are also many opportunities available at research laboratories, industrial compounds, and labs that develop things like cleaning products, body wash, and paint. A chemist might also work at an educational institute or assist with forensic investigations for things such as arson.

Q: What type of opportunities are available for new pharmacists?

Marla Ahlgrimm: One of the most obvious is working at a retail pharmacy. However, there is high demand for people with experience in medicine to work in universities and hospitals as well as for corporations that manufacture drugs. A pharmacist might also find employment at a rehabilitation facility, long-term care center, or in the government working toward the health and welfare of the nation.


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