Cardiovascular Perfusionist Education and Career Pathway

By | July 16, 2023
Cardiovascular Perfusionist Education
You can begin your cardiovascular perfusionist education by completing a Bachelor’s degree in a health care field like nursing, medicine, or pharmacy. Image source: college.mayo.

This post provides exhaustive information to help you learn about the cardiovascular perfusionist education and career, including what you need to have to become one.

If you interested in the cardiovascular perfusionist career, it is important to know the kind of education and certification you need to start and advance your career, including the qualities you need to be a successful cardiovascular perfusionist.

please read on:

Why Choose Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career?

The cardiovascular perfusionist career path offers many opportunities for advancement within the medical field.

As an independent contractor, a cardiovascular perfusionist may work with other professionals such as surgeons, nurses, physicians, technicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, and others.

The job can be performed by a single individual or as part of a team.

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Education Requirements

To become a cardiovascular perfusionist, you must earn at least a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, or another related health care profession.

You also need to complete coursework in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, and microbiology.

In addition, you should have experience working with cardiac catheterization labs, operating rooms, intensive care units, and emergency departments. 

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Continuing Education

In order to maintain your certification as a cardiovascular perfusionist you must take continuing education courses every two years. These courses include topics such as:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Nursing
  • Anesthesia
  • Cardiac Catheterization Lab
  • Operating Room
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Emergency Department
  • Patient Safety/Hospital Infection Control

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Certification/License

You must obtain a license from the state board of nursing before you begin practicing as a cardiovascular perfusion specialist.

To do so, you must pass a national exam administered by the National Board of Nursing Examiners.

After passing this exam, you must apply for licensure through your state board of nursing.

The certification bodies for a cardiovascular perfusionist include:

  • American Society of Anesthesiologists
  • American Registry of Radiologic Technologists
  • American Society of Echocardiography
  • American College of Chest Physicians
  • Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions 

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career Pathways

There are several different ways to pursue a cardiovascular perfusionist career. Some of these pathways include:

  1. Independent Contractor

You can choose to work independently as an independent contractor. Your employer would not provide any benefits or pay insurance premiums.

However, you would receive a salary based on the number of hours worked each week.

2. Hospital Staff Perfusionist

As a hospital staff perfusionist, you would work directly for a hospital. You could perform all aspects of cardiovascular perfusion services, including preoperative assessment, intraoperative management, postoperative care, and discharge planning.

3. Private Practice Perfusion

A private practice perfusionist works independently in his or her own office. This is usually done in conjunction with a physician’s office.

A private practice perfusionist manages patients who require cardiovascular perfusion services.

He or she performs procedures such as coronary angioplasty, balloon valvuloplasty, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), pacemaker implantation, and electrophysiological studies.

4. Public Health Service (PHS)

The U.S. Public Health Service provides healthcare professionals to assist communities in meeting their public health needs.

PHS includes more than 1,200 hospitals and clinics that serve over 40 million people annually.

The agency employs approximately 50,000 physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers, administrative officers, and other allied health personnel.

5. Regional Medical Center

Regional medical centers offer advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training programs for perfusionists.

These programs teach perfusionists how to manage patients during emergency situations.

They also prepare them for certification exams offered by the American Heart Association.

Other career paths for cardiovascular perfusionist include:

  • Medical School Internship
  • Residency Program
  • Fellowship Program
  • Clinical Instructor
  • Research Assistant
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Doctorate Degree

How to Advance your Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career

As a cardiovascular perfusionist there are many ways to advance your career. Some of these include:

  1. Work Experience

Gaining work experience will help you gain valuable skills and knowledge. It may also allow you to earn additional income.

2. Professional Organizations

Joining professional organizations will give you access to up-to-date information about new developments in the field.

3. Continuing Education Courses

Attending continuing education courses will enhance your technical skills and increase your ability to handle complex cases.

4. Certification Exams

Certification exams will demonstrate your expertise in cardiovascular perfusion.

5. Research

Performing research will enable you to develop new techniques and treatments for patients.

6. Teaching

Teaching others will expand your skill set and improve your communication abilities.

7. Specialty Training

Specialty training will broaden your understanding of specific areas within the field. For example, you can specialize in one of the following:

  • Preoperative Assessment
  • Intraoperative Management
  • Postoperative Care
  • Discharge Planning
  • Pacemaker Implantation
  • Electrophysiology Studies
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease

8. Fellowship Programs

Fellowship programs are designed to provide specialized training in a particular area of cardiology.

How to Find a Good Cardiovascular Perfusionist School

There are several ways to find a good school to attend. You should consider the following when choosing a program:

  1. Location

Choosing a location close to home allows you to save money on transportation costs. If you live far from the city where the school is located, it may be difficult to commute.

2. Size

Small schools tend to have smaller class sizes than large ones. This means that students receive individual attention. Large schools tend to have larger classes.

3. Faculty

Look at the faculty members’ credentials and experience. Ask if they have any publications or awards.

Are they active in clinical practice? Do they have special interests or certifications?

4. Facilities

Ask what kind of facilities the school has. Is it equipped with modern equipment? Does it have a library? What type of laboratory does it have?

5. Student Body

Ask other students who attended the school. Were they satisfied with their experiences? Did they feel comfortable asking questions?

6. Cost

Find out how much tuition costs. Compare this cost with similar programs offered by local hospitals.

7. Accreditation

Check with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) to see if the school is accredited. The ARRT accredits more than 1,000 educational institutions worldwide.

8. Clinical Exposure

Check with the school’s director to see whether the school offers hands-on training. Also ask if the school provides opportunities for shadowing physicians.

9. Graduation Rate

Ask the school’s director about graduation rates.

10. Alumni Network

Ask alumni if they would recommend the school.

You can also check out the National Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (NASAHP).

NASAHP lists all accredited allied health professions schools and programs.

It also contains information about each school, including its address, phone number, website, and degree offerings.

How to be Successful in your Cardiovascular Perfusionist Career

To be successful in your cardiovascular perfusionist career, you must develop certain skills and characteristics. These include:

  1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are essential in every profession. In addition, you need these skills to communicate effectively with patients, coworkers, and superiors.

2. Critical Thinking

Critical thinking involves using logic and reasoning to analyze problems and make decisions. It helps you think through situations and solve problems.

3. Problem Solving

Problem solving is critical in most jobs. When faced with challenges, you will often need to come up with solutions.

4. Teamwork

Teamwork is an important skill in healthcare because doctors work together as a team to provide quality care.

5. Ethical Decision Making

Ethical decision making refers to making choices based on ethical principles. For example, when you choose which treatments to use for your patient, you should consider the benefits and harms of those treatments.

What Does a Cardiovascular Perfusionist Do?

A cardiovascular perfusionist performs many different tasks.

Most commonly, he/she assists surgeons during open heart surgery.

He/she may also perform procedures such as angioplasty, stenting, and balloon valvuloplasty.

Perfusionists also assist in diagnostic testing such as echocardiography, nuclear medicine, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, and computed tomography.

They may even help create medical devices like pacemakers or defibrillators.

Qualities of a Good Cardiovascular Perfusionist

In order to become a good cardiovascular perfusionist, you must have certain qualities. Among them are:

  1. Knowledge

Knowledge includes understanding concepts related to the field of cardiovascular perfusion.

You must know about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, and other subjects that are relevant to the field.

2. Skill

Skill means having the ability to apply knowledge to real life situations. This includes being able to perform procedures correctly and safely.

3. Attitude

Attitude refers to how you feel about yourself and others. A positive attitude can motivate you to succeed in your cardiovascular perfusion career.

4. Dedication

Dedication means working hard at what you do. If you want to be successful in your cardiovascular career, you must put forth effort and energy into it.

5. Integrity

Integrity means doing things honestly and fairly. To be honest, you must follow the rules set by your employer. Fairness means treating everyone equally.

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Salary

According to Glassdoor, the national average compensation for a Cardiovascular Perfusionist in the United States is $137,277 per year.

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Job Outlook

The demand for cardiovascular perfusionists is expected to increase over the next few years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth of 20% from 2016-2026.


If you enjoy helping people and would like to pursue a career in cardiovascular perfusion, then this career path is perfect for you.

This post has provided information to help you get the education you need to start and advance your cardiovascular perfusionist career.