Dental Assistant recruitment

In this section you'll find the following: 


SA Dental Service is a health unit within the Central Adelaide Local Health Network.  We provide a range of dental services for eligible children and adults through a variety of clinical settings across the metropolitan and country areas. Some clinics are located in hospitals or community health centres whilst others are located in school grounds or are discrete dental facilities.   We also work in partnership with the University of Adelaide to educate and train many of the State’s dental professionals, including dentists and dental therapists.

The Service consists of 2 clinical Divisions –

Adelaide Dental Hospital –is a provider of specialist services as well as the centre for undergraduate dental education in South Australia in conjunction with the University of Adelaide.

Statewide Dental Services – provides dental services across South Australia with clinics in the metropolitan area and throughout the country areas of South Australia. The Division has two branches:-

  • School Dental Service – all South Australian children (below 18 years of age) are eligible for oral health care with the School Dental Service.
  • Community Dental Service – provides eligible adults with a range of general, emergency and removable prosthetic dental services.  Adults (or their adult dependents) with a current welfare recipient card are eligible to receive Community Dental Clinic services.

Dental Assistant positions

Dental Assistants in SA Dental Service are classified under the SA Health “Operational Services” (OPS) stream.

The classification levels for Dental Assistants positions are at the OPS1, OPS2 and OPS3 levels. Within each classification level there are a number of salary increments.

  • OPS 1 level positions - general Dental Assistant positions
  • OPS 2 level - general Dental Assistant positions involving more responsibility
  • OPS Level 3 positions - Senior Dental Assistant roles which have responsibility for staff supervision and running of clinics in the organisation in addition to general responsibilities.

The starting classification and increment level for a newly qualified Dental Assistant is at the OPS1-05 increment level.

The relevant increment for other candidates is determined having regard to the classification level of the position and the experience/skills of the dental assistant


SA Dental Service recruits experienced Dental Assistants two to three times per year depending on staffing requirements for the DA Candidate pool and the DA casual Pool.

The recruitment process aims to find suitable candidates for permanent and contract DA roles at the OPS1 and OPS2 level for the DA Candidate Pool as well as candidates interested in casual DA work.

Refer to the information on page 4 for information on the SA Health “Job Alert” system to keep updated on the release of any Dental Assistant adverts.

Recruitment Process

SA Dental Service begins recruiting for the DA Traineeship program in September for the group commencing the following February. The recruitment process and associated timelines aimed at finding suitable candidates for the traineeship roles are described below.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Lodge Applications Reference checks Written & Practical testing Interviews Outcome

Successful or Unsuccessful

Step 1 : Application

All vacancies are advertised on the SA Health Careers website   Applications for SA Dental Service Dental Assistant positions can only be completed and lodged electronically through this website when the application period is open; therefore you will need to have email and internet access.

The electronic application form in the advert requires applicants to include information regarding education, employment and to provide the names and contact details (during business hours) of 3 referees.  You will also be required to attach a current resume to your application.

Step 2 : Reference Checks

All applicants will be required to provide at least one reference from a Dental Professional in Australia who the applicant has worked with as a Dental Assistant.  If an applicant has worked previously for SA Dental Service, it is expected the applicant will supply the details of a SA Dental Service Manager or Senior Dental Assistant to be contacted for a reference.  Reference checks are utilised to shortlist applicants prior to the written and practical testing.

Step 3 : Written  and Practical testing

Shortlisted applicants participate in a written and practical test and are required to achieve a pass mark of 70% to be offered an interview for the DA Candidate Pool selection process.

Step 4 : Interviews

Shortlisted applicants participate in a written and practical test and are required to achieve a pass mark of 70% to be offered an interview for the DA Candidate Pool selection process.

Step 5 : Outcome

  • Successful – included in the candidate and /or casual pool based on the determination of the selection panel for suitability for OPS1/OPS2 roles or casual work
  •  Unsuccessful – candidates are welcome to reapply in the next selection process

Outline of the Dental Assistant Candidate Pool

  • SA Dental uses the Dental Assistant Candidate Pool to fill vacancies across the organisation for temporary and permanent OPS 1 and OPS 2 Dental Assistant positions.
  • As staffing in any organisation is rarely static, vacancies can arise at any time and therefore it is useful to have a pool of candidates to directly approach who have been selected as suitable (via merit based selection process) to fill vacant positions.
  • This is more efficient than having to conduct a separate selection process each time a vacancy occurs.
  • Candidates are considered for suitability for OPS1level or OPS2 level roles and are ranked in merit order by the panel in accordance with their interview result and reference checks.
  • Candidates are advised of the outcome at the conclusion of the selection process.
  • Successful candidates are asked to indicate their preferences for the clinics/ districts they would like to be considered for when vacancies arise.
  • The details are included in the DA Candidate pool list for 12 months.
  • When DA vacancies occur, the manager of the area will contact the highest ranked candidate available for the relevant OPS 1 or 2 role to discuss their interest.
  • Candidates who are not interested in the position remain on the candidate pool for any further vacancies over the 12 months.
  • Where a Dental Assistant gains a permanent position with SA Dental Service their details are removed from the DA Candidate pool as they are a permanent employee.
  • Details of Dental Assistants on a temporary/contract position are retained on the DA Candidate pool for the 12 month period
  • There is no guarantee an OPS 1 or OPS2 Dental Assistant role will be offered to all candidates in the pool during the 12 month period as this is dependent on staffing requirements.
  • After 12 months in the pool candidates are invited to reapply in order to be considered for future permanent or temporary role over the following year. 

Outline of the Casual Dental Assistant Pool

  • Casual Dental Assistants are utilised on a sessional basis in SA Dental Service when required.
  • Dental Assistants in the casual pool nominate days they are available to work and the SA Dental Service Clinics they are interested to work at.
  • This information is collated and forwarded to SA Dental Service Managers who communicate directly with the Casual Dental Assistants to arrange casual work sessions.
  • Casual Dental Assistants are paid the usual OPS 1 level pay rate plus 25% loading in lieu of annual leave and sick leave entitlements. 
  • Candidates who are not available or interested in a casual session / day offered remain in the pool for any further opportunities.
  • An update form is sent out each 6 months to all casual dental assistants in the pool to ensure the details made available to managers are current.
  • There is no guarantee of sessions being offered to Dental Assistants in the casual pool as it is dependent on staffing requirements.
  • Each year candidates are invited to reapply in order to be considered for future casual work over the following year. 

Pre- employment

Successful applicants will be sent the pre-employment documentation to complete and return before they can be included on the DA Candidate Pool and/or the DA Casual Pool.

This includes the two mandatory pre-employment screening checks listed below:

  • Health Screening – it is a requirement to provide the SA Dental Service Staff Health Nurse with documented evidence of immunisations and blood test results for immunity to a range of illnesses including Hepatitis B.  Immunization boosters may be required to complete the pre-employment Health Screening for clearance to work with SA Dental Service.
  • DCSI Screening Unit check – for Child-related Employment Screening. 

National Police Checks are not sufficient for employment with SA Health / SA Dental Service.

If you are not given clearance for these mandatory checks, your application will be deemed unsuccessful.

Once clearances have been confirmed, and pre-employment documents returned successful applicants will be added to the DA Candidate and / or DA Casual Pools. 

When a candidate is offered and accepts a position, arrangements are made for Induction, site orientations and training in Titanium (the SA Dental Service charting, recording and appointing system)

Candidates in the DA pool can apply for any advertised Dental Assistant promotional positions (generally OPS 2 or OPS 3 level) in SA Dental Service.

Recommended action

To keep updated on DA Selection processes we recommend registering for a “Job Alert” on the SA Health Careers website.

  • Log onto the SA Health careers website     
  • When the page is loaded, select the “Job Alert” button on the left hand side.
  • Enter your email address
  • Keywords : Dental Assistant
  • Tick the following items to ensure that all dental advertisements are drawn to your attention :
    • Categories : Select All
    • Locations :   Select All
    • Work Type : Select All

As positions are advertised, registered users will be sent an email to the nominated email address which provides information of the positions available and will usually provide a link to the position’s online application form.

The job alert will last 90 days and then renewed - details can be updated if required.

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