Perfusionist Career Plan

Perfusionists are part of the front line in cardiac surgery, and they have an educational level that reflects their importance. A career as a perfusionist will require post-baccalaureate training. The following are tips and resources to get you started.

Become a Perfusionist

Perfusion Resources…

  1. Use your high school years to get a strong academic background. Take advanced chemistry and biology courses, but also focus on composition and oral communications. Healthcare workers need poise and communicative ability – and these skills can go a long way in helping you earn a spot in a competitive college program.

  2. Explore healthcare careers. Participate in job shadowing or healthcare camps. Camps may be sponsored by hospitals, colleges, or AHEC centers. Some cost nothing.

  3. Apply to undergraduate programs. There is no one right choice of major, but you’ll want something that prepares you for a career in science. It’s good to look ahead and know what prerequisites will be expected at the graduate level. Typical prerequisites include biochemistry, anatomy and physiology, and pre-calculus. Programs are competitive, so seek out opportunities to distinguish yourself at the undergraduate level. Look for internships and volunteer opportunities.

  4. Apply to graduate school. Look for programs that have been accredited by the Accreditation Committee for Perfusion Education. The Perfusion Program Director’s Council currently lists 16 programs in the United States and Canada. There are differences from program to program. The University of Arizona, for instance has a dual track in medical pharmacology and cardiovascular perfusion.

  5. You may want to become a part of the Student Perflist, offered through the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology. You can get help understanding course concepts and also participate in mock interviews.

  6. It’s time to use your resources and connections to find a job. Participation in professional organizations can provide you with networking opportunities. (It also helps you stay current with legislation and with new developments in the field.

Personality Traits: Perfusionists have a high level of technological competence, but they also need good communication abilities.