About the Profession

What is a Perfusionist?

A clinical perfusionist is a skilled, allied health professional, trained and educated specifically as a member of an open-heart, surgical team. Perfusionists are responsible for the selection, setup, and operation of a mechanical device commonly referred to as the heart-lung machine.

Increases in technologies of cardiovascular medicine, such as the use of ventricular assist devices, the total artificial heart, and coronary angiography and angioplasty, have further increased the demand for perfusionists. Perfusionists work in hospital settings and most are employed either by hospitals, individual surgeons, surgical groups, or private health care corporations. Experienced perfusionists may find career opportunities working for companies who manufacture perfusion supplies and equipment. These individuals may be employed in research and development, or in some cases, may be employed in marketing or sales.

A typical work week consists of a 40-hour schedule with additional on-call coverage for emergencies. Perfusionists may be called to work evenings and weekends. Perfusionists enjoy starting yearly salaries that range from $125,000 to 140,000. In most cases additional compensation in the range of 10-25 percent of base salary may be earned for "on-call time" and shift differentials.

Find out how you can be a part of this challenging and rewarding career! Read more in this Department of Labor article>>