How to Become a Surgical Technologist in Kentucky

A career as a surgical technologist is a great option for young people and anyone looking for a career switch in Kentucky. Growth in this field is strong across the country, and salaries are well worth the year or two of school it take to become eligible for positions. In Kentucky, these professionals who are responsible for prepping and cleaning the operating room and directly assisting surgeons during procedures are called surgical assistants or technologists and must be certified through the state. [En Español]

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Requirements for Certification in Kentucky

Most states have no minimum requirements for working as a surgical technologist. In Kentucky, the Board of Medical Licensure certifies surgical assistants, a term that is used interchangeably with surgical technologists. To become certified you must send in an application with a fee and show evidence that you meet the following requirements:

National Surgical Technologist Certification

The state of Kentucky allows for two certification options. NBSTSA certification as a surgical technologist requires that you complete a training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Completion of a program qualifies you to take the certification exam. A passing score is required to achieve certification.

National Surgical Assistant Certification

To qualify for the exam for NSAA certification you must complete a recognized surgical assistant program. There is just one recognized program in Kentucky, which is the surgical first assistant program at Madisonville Community College in Madisonville. To take the exam you must also have work experience and letters of recommendation from surgeons.

Kentucky Schools for Surgical Technology

Although there is only one program in Kentucky that is recognized by NSAA, there are several accredited surgical technology programs that meet the requirements set by the state.

  • Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College, Bowling Green. Southcentral offers students a two-year associate degree program that includes 60 to 65 credits of coursework. This includes a clinical practicum where students get the hands-on work experience necessary for certification. The total cost of the program, with all fees included, is about $13,000.
  • Jefferson Community and Technical College, Louisville. Students in and around Louisville can complete Jefferson’s certificate program, which takes between one and two years. The school estimates that tuition and fees cost $7,650 and books and supplies $2,500.
  • American National University, Lexington. This school offers a two-year associate degree for students in the Lexington area. The program is in surgical technology and central sterile processing. Students can expect to complete a mix of classroom instruction courses and clinical, hands-on work experience. The program has a 100 percent pass rate for graduates taking certification exams.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Growth in all allied healthcare jobs is strong right now, and nationally the number of jobs for surgical technologists and assistants is growing by 12 percent, which is faster than average job growth. You can expect to be able to find a job right after graduating and getting certified and to enjoy ongoing job security. You can also expect to earn a good salary working in this career in Kentucky. In 2019, the average hourly rate for surgical techs in the state was $20.90. The average annual salary was $43,480.

Working as a Surgical Technologist in Kentucky

The main employers for surgical technologists and assistants are hospitals. You may also be hired by medical or dental offices that perform more minor surgical procedures or by outpatient and ambulatory surgical centers. The greatest opportunities will be in Kentucky’s largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, although there will always be jobs in all areas of the state. With just a few requirements to meet and one to two years of training you will be ready to join this important profession in Kentucky.

College Programs

Bowling Green, KY Area

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College

1845 Loop Dr, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101-3601
(270) 901-1000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College’s Associate-level Surgical Technology program is based at their campus in the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky. The college has in the order of 3,962 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $3,936 and for students from outside the state in the order of $13,296 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program chosen.

East Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Hazard Community and Technical College

One Community College Drive, Hazard, Kentucky 41701-2402
(606) 487-3503
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

Hazard Community and Technical College’s Associate program in Surgical Technology is taught at their campus in the town of Hazard. This public college has round 3,238 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are in the order of $3,936 and for students from outside the state approximately $13,296 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $1,000, although this varies from program to program.

Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College

700 College Rd, Cumberland, Kentucky 40823
(606) 589-2145
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College can be taken at their campus in the town of Cumberland, Kentucky. Most of the school’s 3,111 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $3,936 and for students from other states around $13,296 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,000, depending on the program.

Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH Area

Ashland Community and Technical College

1400 College Drive, Ashland, Kentucky 41101-3683
(606) 326-2000
Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Surgical Technology at Ashland Community and Technical College can be taken at their campus in the city of Ashland. The college has approximately 2,728 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be about $3,936 and for students from other states likely to be about $13,296 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

Lexington-Fayette, KY Area

American National University-Lexington

2376 Sir Barton Way, Lexington, Kentucky 40509
(859) 253-0621
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

American National University’s Associate program in Surgical Technology is offered at their Lexington campus in the city of Lexington. The college has about 780 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The university is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Tuition fees are likely to be around $14,886 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $2,979, although this will vary with the program.

Bluegrass Community and Technical College

470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, Kentucky 40506
(859) 246-6200
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Bluegrass Community and Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Lexington, KY. Most of the school’s 10,388 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $4,016 and for out-of-state students approximately $13,376 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN Area

Jefferson Community and Technical College

109 E Broadway, Louisville, Kentucky 40202-2005
(502) 213-4000
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

Jefferson Community and Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Louisville in Jefferson County. The majority of of the school’s 12,138 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $4,016 and for out-of-state students approximately $13,376 annually. Learning materials may cost around $1,000, although this will vary with the program.

Sullivan University-Louisville

3101 Bardstown Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40205
(502) 456-6505
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Surgical Technology Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology at Sullivan University is offered at their Louisville campus in Louisville in Jefferson County. The college has about 3,318 students in total, of which 2,624 are undergraduate students. Tuition fees are around $12,870 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,800, although this will depend on the program. Students take courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Medical Terminology, as well as the care and safety of patients before, during, and after surgery, aseptic techniques, surgical procedures, sterilization techniques, prevention and control of infection, and proper handling of surgical instruments, supplies, drugs, and solutions. The program can be completed in 18 months in day classes.

Owensboro, KY Area

Owensboro Community and Technical College

4800 New Hartford Rd, Owensboro, Kentucky 42303
(270) 686-4400
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

Owensboro Community and Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in Owensboro in Daviess County. Most of the school’s 3,974 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $3,936 and for out-of-state students in the order of $13,296 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program chosen.

South Central Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Somerset Community College

808 Monticello Street, Somerset, Kentucky 42501-2973
(877) 629-9722
Surgical Technology – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Surgical Technology at Somerset Community College is based at their campus in the town of Somerset, KY. The majority of of the school’s 6,386 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $3,936 and for students from outside the state in the order of $13,296 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,000, although this will vary with the program.

West Kentucky Nonmetropolitan Area Area

Madisonville Community College

2000 College Drive, Madisonville, Kentucky 42431
(270) 821-2250
Surgical Technologist – Associate Program, Surgical Technologist – Certificate Program

Madisonville Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and two Certificate programs. Classes are taken at their campus in Madisonville in Hopkins County, KY. Most of the school’s 4,261 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $3,936 and for students from other states in the order of $13,296 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,000, although this will vary with the program.

West Kentucky Community and Technical College

4810 Alben Barkley Drive, Paducah, Kentucky 42002-7380
(270) 554-9200 x0
Surgical Technology – Associate Program, Surgical Technology – Certificate Program

West Kentucky Community and Technical College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the town of Paducah. This public college has about 5,980 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is in the order of $3,936 and for students from outside the state around $13,296 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

Residents of Kentucky may also wish to review their options in Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, West Virginia and Illinois.