Dental Assistant Traineeships 2020

In this section you'll find the following: 


SA Dental Service is part of SA Health and provides a range of dental services for eligible children and adults. There are 50 clinics located across the metropolitan and country areas of South Australia; some clinics are located in GP+ Health Centres, Hospitals, Community Health Centres and some on school grounds.

Oral health services are provided through a team approach with Dentists, Dental Therapists, Dental Assistants, Dental Technicians, Dental Hygienists supported by reception staff to care for clients.

Our services are provided through 2 clinical areas :

Statewide Dental Services – provides general dental services at clinics across South Australia in the metropolitan area and throughout the country areas via :

  • The School Dental Service – all South Australian children (aged up to 17 years) are eligible
  • The Community Dental Service – providing eligible adults with a range of general, emergency and denture services.

The Adelaide Dental Hospital – provides Specialist Oral Health Care services and is also the centre for undergraduate dental education in South Australia in conjunction with the University of Adelaide.

SA Dental Service works in partnership with the University of Adelaide to educate and train many of the State’s dental professionals, including dentists and dental therapists.

We also offer Dental Assistant Traineeships.

Dental Assistant Traineeships

A Dental Assistant Traineeship is a 12 month program incorporating on the job training under supervision to develop the competency and skills required of a qualified Dental Assistant in addition to undertaking the Certificate III in Dental Assisting at TafeSA.

Each DA Trainee has an initial 8 week probation period during which time they and the employer assess their suitability for the 12 month program.

During the 12 month program Trainee Dental Assistants learn and develop the skills to:

  • Assist the dental operator with the treatment of clients,
  • Mix a range of materials,
  • Maintain the cleanliness and infection control standards required in the clinic area
  • Develop and mount x-rays,
  • Clean instruments and equipment
  • Provide information to clients as directed by the dental operator.
  • Undertake general administrative tasks including greeting and meeting clients, making appointments, answering telephone calls and entering patient details into records.

The DA Traineeship involves working closely with dental operators and their clients therefore communication skills and a willingness to learn about and assist in the oral health management of clients are essential.

At the completion of the 12 month training program, Dental Assistant Trainees will have developed skills to enable them to gain their DA qualification to work in a diverse range of environments such as general and specialty areas, teaching clinics and aged care.

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for a SA Dental Service Traineeship candidates must be

A resident of South Australia

  • Aged between 17 and 24 years of age or
  • 17 and 30 years of age if you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • We provide 2 DA traineeships reserved for ATSI candidates.

No previous dental experience is required for a SA Dental Service DA Traineeship but it would be an advantage to gain some relevant work experience to make sure this pathway is for you.

(Please note - SA Dental Service is not able to provide work experience unless you are a Secondary School Student within an organised School work experience program).

On the Job Training Component - SA Dental Service

DA Trainees work under supervision in a SA Dental Service clinic and are mentored by experienced staff to develop their skills and knowledge to enable them to be job ready at the end of their 12 month contract of training.

The National Training Wage Traineeship Program Award of Pay determines trainee award wages. Rates of pay for Trainees reflect time spent at work and TAFE.

The rate for each Trainee is calculated on the highest level of schooling achieved and the time since completion of their schooling.

The training wage is paid fortnightly into a bank, building society or credit union account. Income tax is automatically deducted prior to the money being paid.

Trainees with SA Dental Service are

  • Subject to the same terms and conditions of employment that apply to other SA Dental Service employees.
  • Entitled to an annual uniform allowance for uniforms which are purchased from the SA Dental Service supplier.
  • Entitled to 20 days annual leave to be taken prior to completion of the traineeship.
  • Entitled to paid sick leave which is accrued through the year.

Trainees are not guaranteed employment at the end of their traineeship, however are eligible to apply for South Australian public sector positions advertised on the SA Health Careers website including the SA Dental Service Dental Assistant Candidate Pool.

The Theory Component – TafeSA Certificate 111 in Dental Assisting

The Dental Assistant Trainees will attend (as required) the Centre for Dental Studies, TafeSA Gilles Plains campus to complete the Certificate 111 in Dental Assisting.

The Dental Assistant Trainees are responsible for the fees and costs associated with the Certificate 111 in Dental Assisting. Fee assistance for ATSI trainees may be available

SA Dental Service does release and pay Dental Assistant Trainees to attend any required TafeSA training days at the Centre for Dental Studies, TafeSA, Gilles Plains Campus.

Metropolitan students attend classes 1 day per week during the semester. An external program is available for country trainees who have weekly lesson plans to complete as well as attending TafeSA Gilles Plains campus twice for a 2 day program.

The Certificate 111 in Dental Assisting comprises the following units:

  • HLTDEN001 Prepare for and assist with oral health care procedures
  • HLTDEN002 Assist with dental radiography
  • HLTDEN003 Assist with administration in dental practice
  • HLTWHS2001 Participate in workplace health and safety
  • HLTAID003 Provide first aid
  • CHCDIV001 Work with diverse people
  • HLTINF001 Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures
  • CHCCOM005 Communicate and work in health or community services
  • HLTINF002 Process reusable medical devices and equipment

DA Trainees need to successfully complete these units to be awarded the Cert 111 in Dental Assisting. For more information go to the TAFE SA website.


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 Written testing Interviews Outcome Pre-Employment screening
September Mid October Late October Early November December

Step 1 : Application

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

The electronic application form in the advert requires candidates to upload information including proof of age, a cover letter, resume and referee details. If the information is not uploaded, the system prevents a candidate from proceeding through the application process.

Candidates are also advised to ensure their immunity documentation is updated as proof of immunity to Hep B will be required prior to the interview stage.

Step 2 : Reference Checks

All candidates will be required to provide the names and contact details of 3 referees. Reference checks will be utilised to shortlist candidates before invitations are offered for written testing.

Step 3 : Written testing

All candidates who pass the reference check stage will be required to participate in a written test. Relevant information on the DA Traineeship and SA Dental Service will be sent to candidates to familiarise themselves prior to the test. A pass mark of 65% is required to be offered an interview.

Step 4 : Interviews

Candidates who have evidence of Hepatitis B immunity are invited to participate in an interview undertaken by the Dental Assistant Selection Panel. Interviews for metropolitan candidates are held at SA Dental Service Head Office, Roma Mitchell House, North Terrace Adelaide, while interviews for country positions are undertaken by the SA Dental Service Manager and staff in that locality.

Step 5 : Outcome

For candidates offered a DA Traineeship, documentation will be provided to complete the two mandatory pre-employment screening checks listed below:

  • Health and Immune Status review – In addition to immunity to Hepatitis B, documented evidence of immunisations and blood test results for other conditions will be required at this stage to complete the Pre-employment Health and Immune State review and gain a clearance to work with SA Dental Service.
  • DCSI Screening Unit check – for Child-related Employment Screening. National Police Checks are not sufficient to gain employment with SA Dental Service.

An offer of a traineeship is only able to be confirmed once these mandatory checks are cleared and approved.

Recommended action

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

  1. Log onto the SA Health Careers website
  2. When the page is loaded, select the “Job Alert” button on the left hand side.
  3. Enter your email address
  4. Keywords : Dental Assistant
  5. 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

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

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

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