Perfusionists operate the cardiopulmonary bypass machine during
open-heart surgery, coronary artery bypass, heart and lung
transplantation, congenital defect repairs, and valve replacements.
Carlow's perfusion technology program is the only one of its
kind in western Pennsylvania, one of only 21 programs in North
America and the oldest in the nation.
In cooperation with the UPMC Presbyterian-Shadyside School of Cardiovascular Perfusion, Carlow offers a five-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion degree.
The UPMC School of Perfusion accepts up to 20 students per year. There are two general populations of students who may apply for admission to the program: Carlow University undergraduate students who meet all program prerequisites at Carlow and students who already hold a bachelor degree and have met all program prerequisites. In other words, you don't have to be a Carlow biology major to get your MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion.
For Carlow University undergraduate students, program requires three academic years at Carlow as a biology major with a 3.0 minimum GPA (3.0 in the sciences) and 18 months of clinical training at UPMC Shadyside, which replaces the traditional senior year. The clinical portion of the perfusion program requires out of town clinical externships, room and board for externships are the responsibility of the student.
Accreditation and Professional Licensure
The American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP) is the organization that confers the professional perfusion credential of 'Certified Clinical Perfusionist' (CCP). Upon completion of the Carlow/UPMC Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion program, students are eligible to sit for the ABCP Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE), which is the first of two exams that lead to professional certification. Upon completion of fifty clinical perfusion cases after graduation from perfusion school, one becomes eligible to sit for part two of the ABCP's CCP examination process, the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Exam (CAPE). A candidate must pass both sections of ABCP boards to practice perfusion.
The ABCP officially recognizes perfusion schools that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). CAAHEP accredits programs based on the recommendation of the Accreditation Committee-Perfusion Education (AC-PE). The UPMC School of Perfusion is and has always been in good standing with the CAAHEP.
Carlow University and the Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion program are also accredited by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP)
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)