Clinical Perfusionist Training

Updated July 19, 2017

A clinical perfusionist (also called a clinical perfusion technician or cardiovascular perfusionist) operates heart and lung equipment during surgery. The perfusionist operates blood and oxygen equipment in order to control the physiological parameters of the patient's body, such as blood flow and blood content. Training to become a clinical perfusionist involves a two-year program, followed by board certification.


Two years of coursework in an accredited cardiovascular perfusion program are required to become a clinical perfusionist. Admission to a program requires a four-year bachelor's degree or at least two years of undergraduate prerequisite courses. During the first year, students are educated in didactic and laboratory settings. Clinical observation is also practised. In the second year, focus shifts to clinical rotations at various hospitals and clinics.


Following successful completion of a two-year cardiovascular perfusion program, aspiring perfusionists gain work experience and must pass the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Certification Examination in order to become fully certified clinical perfusionists.

Additional Professional Training

A certified clinical perfusionist must be recertified each year. In addition, they must demonstrate clinical activity each year and professional activity every third year.

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About the Author

Cedric Kuo has been a writer since 1999. His published work appears in the science journal "Aquaculture Nutrition," In addition to freelance writing, he has worked in clinical research and as a high school science teacher. He attended Hawai'i Pacific University and earned a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry.