When Terrie Jarvis was a child and people asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her answer was always an orthodontist, psychiatrist or opera singer.
In 1999, she started Dental Personnel, a temporary service, and sold it before opening her first dental assistant school in Richardson in 2001. After selling that business in 2006, Ms. Jarvis opened Eastex Dental Academy LLC in April 2009.
She had trouble finding a facility in Tyler, so after being based in Marshall for seven months, she began offering night courses in a rented dental office in Longview.
Ms. Jarvis was able to get her own facility, a former dental practice, about three years ago and now offers day and night classes at Eastex Dental Academy.
Ms. Jarvis said she sees a lot of students from Tyler, as well as Whitehouse, Mineola, Athens, Canton, Mount Pleasant, Kilgore, Palestine, Lufkin and other areas. She said she can also take students from Louisiana.
Last year, she had 102 students graduate from her 20-week courses.
When running her temp agency, Ms. Jarvis said she had a lot of dental assistants come from studying at trade schools or junior colleges. She said several of the students coming out of those programs “didn’t get the training they needed and I couldn’t get them a job.”
Ms. Jenkins felt like she knew what they needed to learn and decided to start her own school, although she didn’t have a clue as to how, she said.
Eastex Dental Academy specializes in offering fast-paced hands-on training in small classes for students to become a registered dental assistant. Graduates receive their licenses from the State Board of Dental Examiners.
Ms. Jarvis said they focus on providing quality training at a good price.
“Anybody who really wants to be a dental assistant will be a dental assistant with our training,” she said.
When she sold her dental academy in Richardson, she had a 91 percent placement rate of her students getting jobs when they graduated. She said she is at 55 percent to 70 percent now, and is working her way up to that higher rate at her school in Longview. She said 86.6 percent of her students graduate from her academy.
Ms. Jarvis has six other employees, including four instructors. She is the director of the school and works in career placement, as well as recruiting and a little bit of everything.
Ms. Jarvis said she hopes to open a second academy in Texarkana by June and a third location in Lufkin.
Eastex Dental Academy, at 1409 McCann Road in Longview, can be reached at 903-232-2289 or www.eastexdentalacademy.com.
If you know of a professional woman or business service in Tyler you think should be highlighted in this column, contact Business Editor Casey Murphy at email@example.com or 903-596-6289.