A State Alchemist (国家錬金術師, Kokka Renkinjutsushi) is an alchemist employed by the Amestrian State Military as part of an elite government mandated program.
As members of the military, State Alchemists are privy to the most advanced alchemical resources, including exclusive access to the best research materials as well as state-of-the-art government laboratories, and are given a sizable research grant each year which can be put to any purpose a State Alchemist so chooses. Also on the list of perks is an automatic military officer rank equivalent to that of Major and all the considerable military authority and government influence that comes with it.
In exchange for these privileges, State Alchemists are commanded to obey three basic restrictions:
- 1) Obey the Military - As part of the military system, State Alchemists are subject to the government hierarchy and must obey the orders of their superiors as well as devote themselves entirely to the protection, advancement and well-being of the nation of Amestris as a whole. Their skills are to be wielded as an extension of the government's power as opposed to means toward individual or popular gain. This particular rule is the root behind the harshest drawback of being a State Alchemist - although alchemists in general are revered by the populace, State Alchemists are treated with a great deal of animosity by those not completely satisfied with the dealings of the current government. As alchemists who have turned their backs on the concept of Be Thou For The People in exchange for government influence, they are often called "Dogs of the Military".
- 2) Do Not Create Gold - Though all alchemists in the nation of Amestris are held to this law so as to keep the national economy from falling into chaos, State Alchemists are more heavily leaned upon to uphold this standard, due to their position under government surveillance, and are subject to military charges upon its transgression.
- 3) Do Not Create Humans - The nationwide prohibition of Human Transmutation, though also enforced in the case of all Amestrian alchemists, is particularly forbidden to State Alchemists due to the fact that their access to advanced research notes and materials makes it more likely that anyone making a realistic attempt at the forbidden craft would be in the government's employ. Though it is widely assumed that this law is in place because of the moral and ethical ramifications of attempting to toy with human life as well as the considerable danger involved with dealing in Human Transmutation, it is revealed that the true motive behind the government prohibition is to prevent individuals from alchemically manufacturing their own personal armies of homunculi.
In order to be selected as a State Alchemist, candidates must undergo an extensive examination process involving a written test proving a high level of aptitude in the field, a psychological evaluation to determine whether the candidate is of sound enough mind to serve in such a specialized branch of the military and a practical examination in which the candidate proves to a military board whether or not his or her skills can be used in real world situations.