Best Cardiovascular Perfusionist Masters Programs In USA

Cardiovascular perfusionists play the vital role of ensuring the safety and success of complex cardiac surgery procedures by maintaining cardiopulmonary function during surgery.

As the demand for highly skilled perfusionists continues to rise, the pursuit of cardiovascular perfusionist master’s programs becomes an appealing option for aspiring professionals seeking to excel in this specialized field.

With various schools across the United States offering these programs, it is crucial to explore and find the best programs that offer comprehensive training, cutting-edge research opportunities, and clinical experiences.

In this blog post, we will review the top cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA, certification bodies, and career outlook.

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Whether you are a recent graduate considering further education or a seasoned perfusionist aiming to advance your career, this guide will help you make informed decisions about the best path for your professional growth.

What Is Cardiovascular Perfusion?

Cardiovascular perfusion involves the operation and management of the heart-lung machine, also known as the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) machine, during surgical procedures.

The heart-lung machine is responsible for temporarily taking over the functions of the heart and lungs, allowing surgeons to perform intricate cardiac procedures while ensuring the patient’s vital organs receive oxygenated blood.

Cardiovascular perfusionists monitor and maintain the patient’s circulation, oxygenation, and temperature during cardiac surgery. They are responsible for operating and managing the heart-lung machine, administering blood products, monitoring blood gases and electrolytes, and adjusting the machine’s settings according to the surgeon’s requirements.

Given the critical nature of their job, cardiovascular perfusionists require specialized training to ensure their competence and expertise in the field. While a bachelor’s degree in a related field is typically the minimum requirement, having a master’s degree in cardiovascular perfusion provides an opportunity for in-depth knowledge and advanced skill development.

Cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers essential theoretical concepts, practical training, and clinical experiences. These programs are designed to equip students with a deep understanding of the cardiovascular system, advanced perfusion techniques, and the latest technological advancements in the field.

Also, master’s programs often incorporate research components that allow students to contribute to the advancement of cardiovascular perfusion through scientific inquiry.

Responsibilities Cardiovascular Perfusionists

The responsibilities of a cardiovascular perfusionist during cardiac surgery are diverse and important to the success of the procedure. They include:

  • Operating the heart-lung machine: The cardiovascular perfusionist is responsible for setting up and operating the heart-lung machine, which takes over the functions of the heart and lungs. They ensure the machine is functioning properly, monitor its parameters, and make adjustments to maintain the patient’s stability.
  • Monitoring and adjusting blood circulation: A cardiovascular perfusionist closely monitors the patient’s blood flow, blood pressure, and oxygenation levels. They adjust the heart-lung machine’s settings to maintain adequate blood flow and oxygen delivery to vital organs.
  • Administering medications and blood products: A cardiovascular perfusionist administers medications, anesthetics, and blood products, ensuring the patient’s blood coagulation and clotting factors remain within the optimal range.
  • Managing the patient’s temperature: Maintaining the patient’s body temperature is crucial during cardiac surgery. The cardiovascular perfusionist uses specialized equipment to regulate the patient’s temperature and prevent hypothermia or hyperthermia.
  • Operating and monitoring other circulatory support devices: In addition to the heart-lung machine, the perfusionist may operate and monitor other circulatory support devices, such as ventricular assist devices (VADs) or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), depending on the needs of the patient.
Best Cardiovascular Perfusionist Masters Programs In USA
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Overview of Cardiovascular Perfusionist Masters Programs In USA

If you’re looking for a list of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA, look no further. Click on a facility to learn more about it. Also, see the address to know how to get there.

Rush University – Chicago, Illinois

Rush University is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. The university, founded in 1972, is the academic arm of Rush University Medical Center.

This cardiovascular perfusion master’s degree program (formerly known as Perfusion Technology) prepares you for a career as an advanced perfusionist. You’ll also train to be a leader in your chosen specialization, whether it’s education, research, or clinical. The rigorous curriculum includes coursework and clinical fieldwork, which are completed at RUSH University and its affiliated clinical sites.

The Master of Science in cardiovascular perfusion program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee-Perfusion Education (AC-PE).

After graduating from the perfusion program, you will be qualified to sit for the certification examination of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. Rush offers one of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA.

Address: 1653 W Congress Pkwy #12, Chicago, IL 60612, United States

Phone: +1 312-942-7100

The University of Nebraska Medical Center – Omaha, Nebraska

The Clinical Perfusion Science Education (CPE) Program at UNMC is 21 months in length. Upon successful completion of the program, UNMC awards the Master of Perfusion Science degree, making graduates eligible for national certification.

The first two semesters (Phase I) consists of didactic coursework with an introduction to perfusion science. The remaining 11 months (Phase II and III) consist of clinical rotations, a research project, and elective courses.

Also, the CPE Program offers an online Masters of Perfusion Science (MPS) Degree Advancement Option (DAO) for those who have already completed a CAAHEP-accredited perfusion education program. DAO participants are part-time students and are allowed up to five years to complete a 17-hour curriculum. It offers one of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA.

Address: 42nd and Emile, Omaha, NE 68198, United States

Phone: +1 402-559-4000

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SUNY Upstate Medical University – Syracuse, New York

SUNY Upstate Medical University, located in Syracuse, New York, offers a Master of Science (MS) degree in Cardiovascular Perfusion. This program is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and clinical experiences necessary to become proficient cardiovascular perfusionists.

The program at SUNY Upstate Medical University is typically a two-year, full-time program that combines didactic coursework, laboratory training, and clinical rotations.

Students receive comprehensive instruction in cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, cardiac surgical procedures, extracorporeal circulation techniques, equipment operation, patient management, and research methodologies.

SUNY Upstate Medical University’s cardiovascular perfusionist program emphasizes hands-on training and clinical experience. Students have the opportunity to work in a variety of clinical settings, including operating rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and intensive care units.

The clinical perfusion program accepts ten students each year. Graduates are eligible to take the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion’s National Certification Examination. It offers one of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA.

Address: 750 E Adams St, Syracuse, NY 13210, United States

Phone: +1 315-464-5540

Quinnipiac University

Quinnipiac University is a private university in Hamden, Connecticut. It teaches you to operate the equipment perfusionists use to support or replace a patient’s heart and lung functions during cardiac surgery and to monitor vital cardiopulmonary signs to keep the patient stable. You’ll also learn to administer the appropriate medications and anesthesia during surgery.

The program is one of only 8 in the nation that offer graduate-level training. As cardiovascular disease becomes increasingly common, the employment opportunities in this field continue to expand, and Quinnipiac will prepare you to enter the workforce with a competitive advantage.

The school instills a strong sense of responsibility and the capacity to work effectively with other professionals in a high-pressure environment in students. You’ll acquire both during group activities and clinical work. Plus, you’ll learn in our technologically sophisticated Center for Medicine, Nursing, and Health Sciences.

To become a certified clinical perfusionist (CCP), graduates must pass the Perfusion Basic Sciences Exam (PBSE) and the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Exam (CAPE). Graduates are eligible to take the PBSE when they have completed at least 75 procedures as a primary perfusionist, and have graduated from the program.

To be eligible for the CAPE, graduates must perform an additional 50 procedures after their graduation date, usually as an employee of a hospital.

Quinnipiac’s cardiovascular perfusion program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) through the Accreditation Committee – Perfusion Education (AC-PE). It offers one of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA.

Address: 275 Mt Carmel Ave, Hamden, CT 06518, United States

Phone: +1 203-582-8200

Milwaukee School of Engineering

The Milwaukee School of Engineering is a private university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 22-acre campus is in the East Town neighborhood of downtown Milwaukee.

MSOE’s Master of Science in Perfusion program starts in the fall of each academic year and is designed for full-time graduate students. It can be completed over six consecutive quarters, provided all program requirements are met.

MSOE is a leader in the field of perfusion education. It has been educating perfusionists since 1983 and started the first master’s degree program in 1993. MSOE’s accredited master’s degree in perfusion program emphasizes clinical exposure and courses focused on health sciences, statistics, and research study interpretation.

Students in the perfusion program will see a wide variety of cases, which may include implantation of Ventricular Assist Devices, transplant procedures, and procedures using ECMO (extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation).

Research and statistical techniques are also core to the program, which are critical for completing research projects and understanding scientific literature. It offers one of the best cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs in USA.

Address: 1025 N Broadway, Milwaukee, WI 53202, United States

Phone: +1 414-277-7300

Cardiovascular Perfusionist Masters Programs Certification

In the United States, two primary certification bodies for cardiovascular perfusionist masters programs are:

  • American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP): The ABCP offers the Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) credential. To be eligible for CCP certification, candidates must have completed an accredited perfusion education program, fulfilled clinical experience requirements, and successfully passed the ABCP certification examination.
  • American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion (AACP): The AACP offers the Diplomate of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (DABCP) certification. The requirements for DABCP certification include completion of an accredited perfusion program, clinical experience, and successful completion of the AACP certification examination.

Both certifications require applicants to maintain active participation in continuing education and adhere to ethical standards to retain their certification.

Career Opportunities and Outlook

The job market for cardiovascular perfusionists is generally favorable, with a growing demand for qualified professionals. The increasing prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and the aging population contribute to the demand for skilled perfusionists to support cardiac surgeries.

The salary of cardiovascular perfusionists can vary based on factors such as experience, geographical location, work setting, and level of responsibility. However, cardiovascular perfusionists generally enjoy competitive salaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for cardiovascular technologists and technicians, including perfusionists, was $58,730 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,990, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $98,960.

Overall, cardiovascular perfusionists can expect competitive compensation packages that reflect the specialized nature of their work and the critical role they play in cardiac surgeries and patient care.


Pursuing a Cardiovascular Perfusionist Masters Program is a significant step toward a rewarding and impactful career in the field of cardiac surgery.

The best cardiovascular perfusionist master’s programs in the USA offer a comprehensive curriculum, cutting-edge technology, and valuable clinical experiences that prepare students to excel in this specialized profession.

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