Roughly half of the approximately 4,400 perfusionists in the United States are directly employed by hospitals, and the other half are independent contractors or practitioners who make themselves available by contract to one or more hospitals.
The most important prerequisite for entering the field of perfusion technology is acceptance at an accredited school that offers such a program. Once you have entered a program you should begin to investigate the field first through their professors and teachers and then through American Society of Extracorporeal Technology. This professional society of perfusion technologists has an active student membership division that hosts meetings and conferences and is a good source of advice and information concerning various job openings in the field. The society also offers job listings at its Web site, http://www.amsect.org/page/current-job-openings.
There are relatively few perfusionists nationwide and the field of extracorporeal technology is growing. Thus perfusionists have advancement opportunities in terms of both higher salaries and the opportunities to perform more complicated work. However, the field of perfusion technology is so specialized and so small that the concept of advancement is related more to a perfusionist improving his or her technical skills through experience than to administering large departments or large numbers of people. Qualified perfusionists, however, can advance into management or to the technological side of the field. The practicing perfusionist advances through gaining higher pay, better working conditions, and the ability to be involved in more complicated procedures as well as to train less-experienced perfusionists. Perfusionists may also obtain teaching positions in one of the accredited schools or conduct research funded by educational institutions, foundations, or professional societies.
Join the American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion, https://www.theaacp.com, which has resources for students.
Visit https://www.perfusion.com/perfusion-schools/ to find a school with a perfusion program and learn about the application requirements.
Take a tour of a school with a perfusion program. Don't be afraid to ask questions.