About the Dental Assistant Training School

The Dental Assistant Training School of the Rio Grande Valley (DATS/Rio Grande Valley) provides a new and innovative course in dental assisting. We give you the best, most basic, foundational knowledge and skills necessary to start your new career with minimum time and expense. In addition, school hours are designed to allow you to be able to learn without interrupting your current job or daily responsibilities.

Dr. Juan D. Villarreal

The school was founded by the late Dr. Juan D. Villarreal and courses were originally done within his successful practice at Harlingen Family Dentistry which he started in 1983.  Dr. Villarreal graduated from the Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and attended Medical Officer Training School at Fort Sam Houston. His practice at Harlingen Family Dentistry grew to encompass 12 other dentists and a staff of over 140 people.  The practice expanded with offices in Brownsville, Edinburg, McAllen, Weslaco, Raymondville and Austin.

Dr. Villarreal was appointed to the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners by Governor Perry in 2001 and served on the Board until 2008. He acted as Secretary of the Board from 2005 to 2006 and was the Chair of the Enforcement Committee. He is a Past President of the following organizations: the Hispanic Dental Association; the Rio Grande Valley Dental Society; the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Trustees and the City of Harlingen Economic Development Board.  He founded Texas Dentists for Medicaid Reform.  He was intimately involved with Dentists Who Care, a non-profit dental organization with the mission to improve and enhance the quality of life for low-income children in the Rio Grande Valley through access to oral health care.

Dr. Villarreal prided himself on being a Harlingen native and working to bring affordable dental care to the Rio Grande Valley.

DATS is partnering up with Dentists Who Care to help further its mission and to carry on the tradition started by the founder of the school.

DATS Staff L-R: Monica Zuniga, Instructor; Sharon Chavez, DATS Director; Vinnie Carranza, Instructor assistant; Caleen Gomez, Instructor Assistant; Elena Villarreal, DATS CEO

Dr. Villarreal's tradition of exceptional and quality instruction for DATS students is carried on by his wife Elena Villarreal.  Classes are currently taught at the Culture of Life Ministries in Harlingen with internships being done at a dental office of the student's choice or with one of our partnered dental offices.

Spring and fall courses are available.

Job opportunities for trained dental assistants are excellent in today's marketplace. While no one can guarantee job placement, the dental profession is currently facing a shortage of trained dental assistants. If you examine the newspaper ads for dental assistants, virtually all jobs require experience. How can you get a job without experience, and how can you get experience without a job?

With our course, that gap can be bridged in a minimal amount of time during convenient hours and at a reasonable cost.

Welcome to DATS Rio Grande Valley!

Call us today at (956) 606-4477.