As a Dental Assistant in the NZ Army you will be a member of an oral health team which is responsible for providing dental services to the personnel of the NZ Defence Force.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Medical and Health
  • Location
  • Starting Trade Training
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About the role

As a Dental Assistant in the NZ Army you will be a member of an oral health team which is responsible for providing dental services to the personnel of the NZ Defence Force (NZDF). 

The RNZDC provides a full range of comprehensive oral health care to our service personnel and the Dental Assistant plays an integral role in this team. Your day will vary, so dental assistants need to be highly organised individuals. Patients will rely on you for reassurance so it will be important that you communicate well and enjoy working in the health environment.

Job on base

The role of a Dental Assistant in the military is to provide assistance to the Dental Officer during clinical procedures. This can range from simple mouth examinations, to fillings, or to the surgical extraction of teeth during complex oral surgical procedures.

You will be responsible for preparing the surgery for each procedure, maintaining the surgery equipment and applying detailed infection control processes.

Job on deployment

Dental assistants can be deployed as part of the oral health team within New Zealand and overseas to support NZDF personnel on operational missions and exercises.

Career progression and training

Career Progression

Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Dental Assistants may be given the opportunity to apply for a Bachelor of Oral Health Degree at either AUT or Otago.

Upon successful enlistment into the Army you’ll be posted to Waiouru Army base. Here you will do 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have got what it takes to be in the Army, and learn various subjects including:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness

Soon after completing your recruit training you will be required to attend RNZDC Dental Basic Course. This course is three weeks long and teaches the basics in cross infection control, routine clinical procedures and administrative duties required within the Dental Centre.

After completion of the Dental Basic Course, you will progress to on the job confirmation and evaluation over the next two years, gaining New Zealand Dental Association qualifications in dental assisting and sterilisation technology.

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Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.


Under Initial Training


Starting Trade Training


Future Potential Earnings

Figures updated on July 1st 2023

Benefits and allowances

Earn a competitive salary while training or learning your trade, along with additional allowances for time spent in the field, at sea, overseas, or deployed on operations.

In addition to salary and allowances, other benefits of joining the New Zealand Defence Force include:

Access to your Service marae or tūrangawaewae

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Free access to gyms and swimming pools on camp and bases

Opportunities to travel

Free and subsidised medical and dental care

Subsidised food and accommodation on camps and bases

Free and subsidised insurance cover

Help to buy a home and save for retirement

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be at least 17 years of age
  • Meet the citizenship and security requirements to gain CV security clearance for this trade
  • You must be medically fit for service.
  • Colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required CV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

There may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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