Cardiovascular Perfusion

A cardiovascular perfusionist is a specialized medical professional who works collaboratively with a surgeon during procedures that require a patient’s circulatory or respiratory functions to be temporarily managed by a machine. For instance, during open-heart surgery, the cardiovascular perfusionist monitors the artificial pumping of the blood throughout the body, allowing for the heart to be operated on. Additionally, they are responsible for choosing the correct equipment for the procedure, as well as administering blood and other medications during the surgery to keep the patient stable.

Please note: This is an informational page for current SPU students and does not represent a program that SPU offers.

Becoming a cardiovascular perfusionist requires a bachelor’s degree with a strong background in biology, math, human physiology, chemistry, and other scientific disciplines. The cardiovascular perfusionist training programs are around 1-4 years in length. After graduating from a certification program, the individual will complete a two-part exam administered by the American Board of Clinical Perfusionists (ABCP). Not all states require certification, but employers may. The certification will need a yearly renewal.

Professional Websites

General Information


There are several perfusionist programs throughout the United States. Official programs are certified through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion.


Most programs require the following:

  • Bachelor's degree
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Completion of the following course work:
    • Social Sciences, Biology w/lab, General chemistry w/ lab, A&P, Biochemistry, Physics, Applied mathematics, English
  • Experience shadowing a perfusionist
  • At least two letters of recommendation

Standardized Tests

After completing a cardiovascular perfusionist program, practitioners must pass the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Examination to attain Certification in Clinical Perfusion (CCP).

Content provided by PPHS students Becca Gorrie and Emma Honeyman