After several years as a retail pharmacy tech in northern Georgia, Danyelle Watson assumed it would be easy to get a similar job when her family moved to Florida.
She was frustrated when the business-focused training program and certification she earned in Georgia wasn't accepted for licensure in Florida. She couldn't find a job because businesses did not want to pay for the training necessary for her to get her license.
Instead, she enrolled in the pharmacy tech program at Concorde Career Institute's Orlando campus. It opened her eyes to more possibilities than she had ever imagined.
"Concorde showed me the other branches of pharmacy and that there are new windows and bigger doors open for me," Watson said. "I can't wait to bust down those doors. I'm so excited to go into the next step."
Starting out in retail pharmacy
While in high school, Watson knew she would go to college to pursue a medical-related career. She just wasn't sure which one. But her college experience ended early after she got engaged to her husband and gave birth to her first daughter.
"I needed to figure out what I wanted to do and just pursue it," Danyelle said. "That's what I did."
She was working as a cashier at CVS when an opportunity opened to work in the pharmacy. She received a month-long tryout.
"They put me back there and I just soared," she said. "I fell completely in love with it."
Danyelle received a pharmacy tech certification through CVS and later worked at Walgreens in northern Georgia before she and her husband relocated to Orlando in 2018. That's when she learned the certification wouldn't transfer.
"It was devastating. I was completely heartbroken," she said. "I had committed eight years of my life to the pharmacy practice. I said, OK, what's the next step?"
Concorde and a new beginning
At Concorde, Danyelle learned more about medication preparation, drug-use review and medication orders and reviews, as well as all the different types of pharmacies beyond the retail setting.
"We went so much more in depth, I felt like I was going through the nursing program," she said.
As a retail pharmacy technician, Danyelle was in a customer-facing role while also dispensing medication under the direction of the pharmacist. At Concorde, she learned about other pharmacy settings, such as specialty pharmacies and hospital-based locations.
It was not easy for Danyelle to get through her externship because she had to balance it with her family's schedules. Concorde Pharmacy Director Jessica Collins and her staff supported Danyelle throughout and she graduated in December 2020. "They actually care," Danyelle said. "They want me to figure out what the best avenue is and help get me there."
She expects to start a new job once her license is approved by the state and also plans to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board exam in 2021.
"I want to thank God for giving me the faith I needed to follow my dream and accomplish it. I want to thank my family - including my husband, Brian, and daughters Jalyn and Jordyn; and friends for their unwavering support through this process. They cheered me on every step of the way."
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