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A chemist is a specialized scientist that works specifically in a laboratory to determine various chemical compounds and agents and to perform testing and verification of various chemicals in medications and other products. The chemist must be able to complete compound analysis using various computer equipment and lab equipment and verifying the accuracy of the reports through duplicate testing and alternative testing. This is especially important if any unusually or inaccurate reports are provided or there is a possible contamination of a product or item.

The chemist is also responsible for maintaining the lab and the equipment contained in the lab. Calibrating testing equipment using specialized calibration tests against known samples must occur on a regular basis. All documentation including verifications, calibration reports, laboratory notebooks, training logs and other documentation must be entered correctly in appropriate forms and recording areas. Reports to state and federal agencies must be completed and submitted as required. Research and ongoing training is very important for a chemist.

Chemists now use a variety of different software programs to complete some of the analysis. A great deal of work still must be done manually by the chemist so a good background knowledge of lab procedures, data collection and testing methods is essential. The chemist may oversee technicians in the lab so an ability to work with others in a supervisory role is critical in larger labs. Overseeing the inventory, supplies and logging of the use of various chemicals is also the responsibility of the chemist. Training new staff in procedures and safety requirements is also part of the job.

Common work activities include:

  • Coordinating the services of the lab by assigning tasks to various technicians and support staff in the lab.
  • Supervising the laboratory process as required including answering questions and providing assistance to the technicians.
  • Monitoring the use of chemicals and controlled substances in the lab if applicable.
  • Calibrating, testing and verifying the accuracy of all testing equipment using appropriate testing procedures.
  • Keeping data records, logs, databases, inventory systems and government and regulatory paperwork current.
  • Troubleshooting any inaccuracies of

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