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How to Choose a College for an Aspiring Perfusionist

A perfusionist is a medical professional who supplies life support to the lungs and heart of a patient who is undergoing an operation, which requires that the vital organs be stopped, such as open-heart surgery. Training for this career involves securing either a bachelor's or a master's level degree and appropriate training and accreditation in the field.

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Aspiring perfusionists can find training programs at teaching hospitals and 4-year colleges and universities. Bachelor's and master's degree programs -- as well as training certificates -- are available.

Schools with Perfusionist Programs

These schools offer perfusion training and education that may meet your academic needs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Post-baccalaureate certificate $9,693 (in-state), $26,871 (out-of-state)
Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee, WI 4-year, Private Master's $19,764
Long Island University Brooklyn, NY 4-year, Private Master's $1,178 (per credit, 2016-2017)
University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE 4-year, Public Master's $8,351 (in-state), $22,931 (out-of-state)
Upstate Medical University Syracuse, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $ 7,279 (in-state), $17,129 (out-of-state)
Rush University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private Bachelor's, Master's $32, 671 (undergraduate), $32,608 (graduate)
University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, TX 4-year, Public Post-baccalaureate certificate $18,000
Midwestern University Glendale, AZ 2-year, Private Master's $39,868
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 4-year, Private Post-baccalaureate certificate $34,000

Sources: *NCES, school websites

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when choosing a perfusionist training program or school:

  • Look for schools with the appropriate level of accreditation from the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP).
  • Assess the practical training available.
  • Evaluate the job placement assistance opportunities as some programs may support professional connections through organizations like the American Society for Extra-Corporeal Technology.
  • You may also want to give extra attention to schools with higher job-placement rates.

Bachelor's Degree in Perfusion

A bachelor's degree in perfusion is a rare academic program offered through select 4-year schools. Clinical experiences train students in the appropriate measures used to calibrate and operate perfusion equipment. Students may also be required to complete a research project. Accredited programs will allow students to sit for the ABCP certification examination and coursework may include:

Master's Degree in Perfusion

A master's degree in perfusion typically requires the completion of a science-based bachelor's degree and prerequisites dictated by the individual schools. The program may include a final project or thesis as well as clinical practicums and training in research methods.

Individuals interested in a healthcare career involving treatment of the lungs and heart may seek training as a perfusionist at the bachelor's and/or master's level. Research and hands-on clinical training are often incorporated into the curriculum.

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