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Degree Offered

Master of Perfusion Science (MPS)
Additionally, 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.

Length of Program

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) consist of didactic course work with an introduction to perfusion science. The remaining 11 months (Phase II and III) consist of clinical rotations, a research project and elective courses.

Degree Requirements

Graduation requirements include successful completion of the following:

  1. Pass, with a greater than 70% grade, a comprehensive written objective test which focuses on problems encountered in the practice of clinical perfusion.
  2. Complete thorough and comprehensive evaluations of different patients who are to undergo clinical perfusion. The student must be able to differentiate between abnormal and normal variations and to design a pump circuit that would meet the physiological needs of the patient undergoing surgery. Demonstrate through appropriate consultation with the faculty member that a suitable circuit has been selected and that the patient can be safely supported on cardiopulmonary bypass.
  3. Meet all standards as established by the clinical competency committee.

Admission to the Program

Admissions Requirements

Enrollment in each program is limited and competitive. Evaluation of the qualifications of each applicant and the final selections for admission are made by the admissions committee of each program, which comprises program faculty and administration.

Admission to the Clinical Perfusion Program requires the applicant to successfully complete the following prior to matriculation:

University / College Required Prerequisites
Admission to the Clinical Perfusion Program requires the applicant to possess a bachelor's degree and be well rounded in the biological sciences, chemistry and mathematics.

Biological Sciences

Twelve (12) semester hours are required which may include laboratory sessions. Such courses should emphasize body structure, development, tissue organization and function. These courses may include but are not limited to general biology, cell biology, microbiology, physiology, anatomy, zoology, histology, embryology, genetics and immunology.

Physical Sciences

Six (6) semester hours of chemistry are required. Such courses should emphasize physical principles and may include but are not limited to general chemistry, qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, and organic chemistry. Additionally, three (3) semester hours of physics including laboratory session are required. Such courses may include general physics, quantum physics, or physics for life sciences.

Mathematics

Three (3) semester hours are required.

Admission to the Program

For information on how to apply to the Clinical Perfusion Program, visit the "How to Apply" website. For information on application deadlines and interview dates, visit the "Application Deadline" website.

Certification and Licensure for Perfusionists

Certification in Clinical Perfusion is attained by satisfactory performance on the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion certification examination.

Licensure varies from state to state.

About the Profession

A 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. During open heart surgery, when the patient's heart is immobilized and cannot function in a normal fashion while the operation is being performed, the patient's blood is diverted and circulated outside the body through the heart-lung machine and returned again to the patient. In effect, the machine assumes the function of both the heart and lungs.

The perfusionist is responsible for operating the machine during surgery, monitoring the altered circulatory process closely, taking appropriate corrective action when abnormal situations arise and keeping both the surgeon and anesthesiologist fully informed. In addition to the operation of the heart-lung machine during surgery, perfusionists often function in supportive roles for other medical specialties in operating mechanical devices to assist in the conservation of blood and blood products during surgery, and provide extended, long-term support of patients circulation outside of the operating room environment.

Career Outlook

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 $85,000 to 90,000. 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>>

Curriculum

Plan of Instruction

The program is 21 months in length.

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredit Hours
CLPR 502 INTRO PERFUSION TECHNOLOGY 2
CLPR 505 PERFUSION CONCEPTS I 4
CLPR 506 APPLIED CLINICAL PRACTICES 2
CLPR 702 PERFUSION SEMINAR I 1
PAMM 690 BIOLOGY OF DISEASE 5
CAHP 530 SCANNING HEALTH CARE ENVIRONMENT 1
CAHP 723 PRIN OF CRITICAL INQUIRY 2
 Credit Hours17
Spring
CLPR 512 PERFUSION TECHNIQUES 2
CLPR 515 PERFUSION CONCEPTS II 4
CLPR 520 THESIS DEVELOPMENT 1
CLPR 703 PERFUSION SEMINAR II 1
CLPR 705 PEDIATRIC PERFUSION 3
PHAR 507 PHARMACOLOGY 5
CAHP 531 MANAGEMENT IN HEALTH CARE 2
 Credit Hours18
Summer
CLPR 501 ELECTRONICS & BIOMED MONITORING 3
CLPR 701 IN VITRO/IN VIVO LAB PROCEDURES 2
CLPR 708 JOURNAL REVIEW 1
CLPR 710 THESIS DEVELOPMENT II 1
CLPR 715 CLINICAL ROTATION PERFUSION I 5
CLPR 718 CLINICAL ROTATION PERFUSION II 5
 Credit Hours17
Second Year
Fall
CLPR 711 THESIS DEVELOPMENT III 1
CLPR 720 CLINICAL ROTATION PEDIATRIC PERFUSION I 5
CLPR 722 PERFUSION SEMINAR III 1
CLPR 730 CLINICAL ROTATION PERFUSION III 5
CAHP 626 HEALTH CARE ETHICS AND CRITICAL THINKING 3
 Credit Hours15
Spring
CLPR 712 THESIS DEVELOPMENT IV 1
CLPR 723 PERFUSION SEMINAR IV 1
CLPR 725 CLINICAL ROTATION PEDIATRIC PERFUSION II 5
CLPR 735 CLINICAL ROTATION PERFUSION IV 5
 Credit Hours12
 Total Credit Hours79