Cardiology training usually happens through fellowship and residency programs after earning a medical degree. Cardiovascular perfusionists are medical workers trusted with operating the integral circulation equipment during medical and surgical procedures. A 2-year master's program familiarizes students with surgical environments, tools and procedures through clinic and hospital rotations. Some schools might require membership and participation with medical organizations, such as the American Society of ExtraCorporeal Technology (AmSECT).
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Master's Degree in Cardiovascular Perfusion
Master's programs in cardiovascular perfusion usually require a bachelor's degree in any science or health-related field, as well as undergraduate coursework in chemistry, biology, physics and physiology. Some schools mandate that students must also have professional experience working in the health care field. Applicants might need to have earned the Basic Life Support certification from the American Heart Association.
Courses in this master's program deal with the sciences and technical workings of cardiovascular perfusion. Students are taught proper handling and use of surgical equipment. Clinical rotations expose students to the process of cardiopulmonary bypass, and instructs on various diseases encountered by cardiovascular perfusionists. Some examples of course topics include:
- Medical chemistry
- Adult and pediatric surgical considerations
- Hematology and blood-borne disease
- Patient monitoring
- External pulmonary support
Career and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that cardiovascular technologists and technicians can expect to see job growth of 22% for the years 2014 through 2024. The BLS reported in 2015 that cardiovascular technologists and technicians made a median annual salary of $54,880.
Cardiovascular perfusionists interested in becoming surgeons can earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree and participate in postdoctoral residencies to train as a cardiologist. Additionally, many university and teaching hospitals offer cardiology fellowship programs to M.D. graduates.
These residencies and fellowships provide doctors with clinical practice under the direct supervision of an experienced cardiologist. Doctors and fellows participate in cardiac catheterization lab activities, electrophysiology, electrocardiology and noninvasive cardiac evaluations, in addition to cardiac surgical observation and assistance.
Master's degree programs in cardiovascular perfusion educate students with a combination of clinical experiences and coursework including science and proper equipment operation. With a master's degree, students can become a cardiovascular technologist or technician--a field that is expected to see rapid job growth over the 2014-2024 decade.