Careers in the Licensed Professions


Perfusionist Print Profile PDF

Perfusionists operate heart-lung machines—the equipment that replaces a patient’s circulatory and respiratory functions during open-heart surgery. This includes the following responsibilities, as directed by the heart surgeon:

  • redirecting the circulation of a patient’s blood outside of the body and through artificial organs (heart, lung, and kidney)
  • administering medications to stop the heart and protect it while it is stopped
  • monitoring and managing the patient’s breathing and circulation
  • re-starting the heart and circulation after surgery
  • providing expertise in devices such as artificial hearts and lungs


Bachelor’s or higher degree in a Department-registered perfusion licensure program, or the equivalent.


Certification exam of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion.

Visit the Office of the Professions for a listing of all options and requirements.




Salary and Projected Growth

  • Median salary: $116,000 in the U.S.
  • Salary range: $86,000-$153,000 in the U.S.
  • Salaries in NY are expected to be higher
  • Projected growth: faster than average

Where Could I Work?

  • Hospitals
  • Colleges and universities
  • Research and development

Your Interests and Abilities

  • Basic and medical sciences
  • Manual and technical skills
  • Participation in surgical procedures

Professional Skills

  • Concern for others
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Mental and physical endurance

What Interests You?

Match your interests and personality to career options! Explore a free career tool at

Tip: try searching for mentoring programs—talk to a perfusionist about what they do and how they got started!

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Last Updated: January 14, 2020