Clinical perfusionists are the health-care professionals who are responsible for operating the machinery that regulates a patient’s heart and lungs during surgery. Because of the specialty of their work, these technicians have become an integral part of the cardiothoracic surgery team. In order to be considered for employment, the student must graduate from an accredited perfusionist school. Most perfusionist schools only offer certification, but some have degree programs.
Undergraduate students in the clinical perfusionist field often major in biology, chemistry, or both. Clinical Perfusion is considered a program and is not a major. A bachelor’s degree is required prior to acceptance into a perfusionist certificate program.
Internships and Clinical Experience
Drury also strongly recommends that students spend time in a clinical setting. The experience that the student gains will not only give them a better understanding of the perfusionist profession, but these experiences let perfusion schools know that an applicant has firsthand knowledge of the profession. A Drury University student has the advantage of contacts with local alumni, who can provide students with both shadowing opportunities and, in some cases, internships. Other internships can be arranged through the Office of Career Planning and Development.