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 takes 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 by the state. [En Español]

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 apply 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.

Surgical Technology Programs in Kentucky

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.

Allied Health Education Programs in Kentucky

Numerous schools across Kentucky offer programs in allied health professions. These include medical assisting, medical billing and coding, diagnostic sonography, pharmacy technology, and other specialties related to surgical technology or surgical assistance. Many of these programs are offered at major universities such as the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green and Murray State University in Murray. For those interested in pursuing a career as a surgical technologist or assistant, these schools offer the necessary educational foundation to achieve certification.

These programs involve a combination of classroom instruction and clinical experience, which gives students the necessary training and knowledge to become certified health professionals. Most programs require an application fee and transcripts verifying the completion of a high school diploma or equivalent. Many schools also require official transcripts from any previously attended college or university. In addition, some programs may require a background check before admission. Once accepted, students typically must complete an internship to gain the practical experience necessary for certification exams. After graduation, most schools provide career counseling and job placement assistance.

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 6 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 enjoy ongoing job security. You can also expect to earn a good salary working in this career in Kentucky. In 2021, the average hourly rate for surgical techs in the state was $22.51. The average annual salary was $46,810.

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.

Neighbor States

Residents of Kentucky may also wish to review their options in TennesseeOhioVirginiaIndianaMissouriWest Virginia, and Illinois.

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