Perfusionists are trained to operate heart-lung machines; they assist physicians during open-heart surgery. Depending on the program, the entry requirement and degree training for perfusionists are varied. In addition to satisfying prerequisite science courses, some perfusionist programs require students to have between 60 and 80 credit hours of coursework before beginning their training. Others require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree or a combination of formal education in health science and practical work experience.
In the United States, there are approximately 21 schools that offer perfusionist programs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Perfusionist training is offered at the certificate, bachelor’s and masters degree levels. Health care practitioners like medical assistants, nurses or paramedics with a bachelor’s degree can enroll in either a certificate or master’s degree program in perfusion science. High school graduates or individuals without a formal degree should enroll into a bachelor’s degree program. Master’s degree and certificate programs in perfusion science can be completed within one to two years. Full-time undergraduate students can complete their training within four years.
Applicants seeking their bachelor’s degree in perfusion science are required to complete between 60 semester or 90 quarters of coursework in the liberal arts and sciences. This includes completion of prerequisite courses in organic chemistry, physics and anatomy and physiology. Prospective students must also satisfy minimum grade point requirements. Students receive classroom and clinical training, which includes participation in adult and pediatric open-heart surgical procedures. Graduates from the program are eligible to take their certification examination through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion.
Applicants seeking a master’s degree in perfusion science should have a bachelor’s degree and must meet minimum grade-point average requirements. Master’s degree candidates should fulfill prerequisite course requirements by taking subjects like algebra, calculus, physics and general biology. Additional prerequisite courses include laboratory training in subjects like biochemistry, microbiology and organic chemistry. A master’s degree in perfusion science can be completed within two years. During their final semester, graduate students must satisfy their clinical requirements.
Graduates from a perfusion science program must take a certification examination through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. Certified perfusionists have to maintain their credentials by taking continuing education and professional development courses. In order to renew a perfusionist’s license, candidates must perform at least 40 perfusion cases each year. Depending on a candidate’s formal training, perfusionist programs require at least 20 to 24 months of training. Candidates with a formal training in health science fields may be able to complete their training in less than 20 months.
- Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
What Are the Benefits of Being a Perfusionist?
A perfusionist is a medical professional trained to operate a heart-lung machine during cardiac operations, such as open-heart surgery. Since the heart...
Perfusionist Job Description
A healthy heart and pair of lungs are crucial to good cardiovascular health. However, during times of emergency where heart or lung...
How to Become a Perfusionist
Cardiac surgery is a team effort, and one of the most important members of the team is the perfusionist. This professional administers...
How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Assistant?
In most states, you can become a medical assistant, or MA, simply by finding a physician who is willing to hire and...
Salary in a Perfusionist Medical Career
A perfusionist operates the heart-lung machine that keeps a patient alive during heart surgery that involves stopping the heart. According to the...
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Salaries
Open heart surgery is a team effort, and one of the most important players on the team is the cardiovascular perfusionist. In...
Cardiopulmonary Perfusionist Programs
During heart surgery, cardiopulmonary perfusionists operate the life support equipment that allows patients to continue to breathe and pump blood throughout their...
Schools for a Cardiopulmonary Perfusionist
Cardiovascular perfusion replaces the functions of the human heart and lungs during an open heart procedure to facilitate surgery. It is the...