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Career & Employment

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October 17, 2011
Volume 89, Number 42
p. 72

Career Development

Demystifying European Professional Designations

Linda Wang

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CChem, CSci, EurChem … If you know any European chemists, you’ve likely seen letters like these attached to their names. These designations convey information about professional achievements beyond the academic degree. And when it comes to job searching, having such designations can be an asset.

“You’re showing a commitment to continuing professional development,” says Sarah Harrison, professional standards specialist at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). A professional designation “defines a level of expertise and competence, and more and more employers in the U.K. are beginning to value that.”

RSC started awarding the designation of CChem, which stands for Chartered Chemist, in the 1930s. In the past, members of the society were automatically awarded CChem, but applicants must now complete a two-year program and assemble a portfolio of evidence to earn this designation, Harrison says. Candidates are judged on 12 professional attributes, such as demonstrating the ability to work as part of a team and showing an understanding and appreciation of health, safety, and environmental issues. In the U.K., nearly 16,000 chemists have CChem status, as do roughly 3,000 chemists outside the U.K.

Chemists in the U.K. can also earn the designation of CSci, which stands for Chartered Scientist. This designation is awarded by the Science Council, a professional membership organization. Ireland has similar designations for its chemists.

These designations are recognized only by the country that awards them. By contrast, EurChem, or European Chemist, is the product of an effort to standardize the professional designation across Europe. The European Chemist Registration Board of the European Association for Chemical & Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) began awarding the designation in the 1990s.

The goal of the designation is to set a common standard for the recognition of professional competence in chemistry across European countries, says Pavel Drašar, chair of the European Chemist Registration Board. For example, having the designation “means that you do not need to provide any other proof of your qualifications when you move from one European state to another,” he says.

Drašar notes that EuCheMS is working to influence legislation that would require all European countries to recognize the EurChem designation. As for Drašar himself, in addition to D.Sc., which stands for Doctor of Science, he also has these letters behind his name: EurChem; CChem; CSci; and FRSC, which indicates that he is an RSC fellow.

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Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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