Part-time/Distance & Online Learning Advanced Certificate 6820ascert


Note: The January 2015 intake is now closed for new applications. This program runs every two years. Applications for January 2017 will be accepted on June 1, 2016 (or next business day).

Please check our list of programs that may have space available or access our program database for a complete list of BCIT programs.

The BCIT Cardiovascular Perfusion program is one of only three of its kind in Canada. A Cardiac perfusionist is a key member of a highly specialized surgical team. Cardiovascular perfusionists work in operating rooms, providing life-saving support to patients undergoing heart surgery. It’s a serious job, and our graduates are ready.

At BCIT, we believe in real life experience. We provide practical, hands-on training to ensure you get the experience you need to succeed. Our students come from the cardiac field with the passion and work experience to take on this intensive program. 

About the program

  • Two-year, part-time, advanced specialty certificate
  • One year of distance and online learning means you can keep working while you study
  • One year of clinical rotations at your sponsor's location provides direct learning
  • Full spectrum of courses includes cardiothoracic anatomy, pathophysiology, pharmacology, fetal and neonatal cardiac development, and perfusion science

Visit Program Details for more information on our program structure and clinical rotation.

Who it’s for

This program is for certified respiratory therapists, critical care nurses, cardiac professionals or related degree graduates, who:

  • Have two years or more of current experience in cardiac critical care
  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree (preferably a Bachelor of Science) and the required pre-requisite courses
  • Thrive in fast-paced, high stress team environment and are able to think fast on the go
  • Have a high level of sensitivity and care for patients
  • Are willing to work long hours and on an on-call schedule

Interested in working in this specialized field of cardiac care? Program Entry to find out if this program is right for you.

What grads can do

Cardiovascular perfusionists are integral members of an expert cardiac surgical team. See Graduating and Jobs to learn more.

Program Entry

Application processing

Applications accepted June 1st* to October 1st*

*or next business day

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Three-step process

Preference will be given to applicants with:

  • Academic grades above the minimum
  • Requirements completed within the last five years
  • Related experience*
  • Additional post-secondary academic courses*

*Applicants with preferred entrance requirements are to submit transcripts and supporting documentation with their online application.

Note: This program does not accept applications from International students. View programs that do

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

  • English: two years of education in English in an English-speaking country with one of the following:
  • Bachelor's Degree

  • Plus one of the following options:

    • Option 1: Two years of current experience working as a Certified Respiratory Therapist or Critical Care RN and successful completion of the following post-secondary courses:


    • Option 2: Successful completion of the following post-secondary courses:
      • Human Anatomy and Physiology (university level, comprehensive systems based) 6.0 credits
      • General Physics (100 level) 6.0 credits
      • Chemistry (100 level) 6.0 credits
      • Medical Terminology (CARD 1103* or equivalent)
      • Statistics (CARD 1187* or equivalent)
      • Research (MIMG 7006 or equivalent)
      • CARD 1186* (or equivalent as determined by Program Head) is required for applicants without relevant patient care experience

  • Complete the following forms for submission with your online application:

*For access to Cardiology courses (CARD 1103, CARD 1186, and CARD 1187), please complete a Special Approval Form [PDF] and submit to Cardiac Sciences prior to term start. Please note MIMG 7006 does not require departmental approval.

Applicants who have completed post-secondary studies outside of Canada, United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand will require a comprehensive evaluation of their credentials by the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES).

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Step 2: Requirements for selected applicants

  • Multiple Mini Interview Process (MMI)

Step 3: Conditionally selected applicants

If you have been conditionally accepted to BCIT you will be notified and the following information will be required in order to be accepted into the program:

Once these and any other outstanding conditions have been met, you will receive notification of your full acceptance.

Clinical requirements

Note: Effective immediately, all health care workers who come into contact with patients at publicly-funded health care facilities or in the community, including at long-term-care facilities, will have to get the influenza vaccine or wear a mask during flu season. This policy affects all students who will be entering a clinical setting.

As such, you will be required to provide proof of your immunization or agree to wear a mask at all times through the flu season prior to being placed in your clinical studies.

  • Current Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) to be completed prior to start of clinical practicum year

Apply to program

The January 2015 intake is now closed for new applications. This program runs every two years. Applications for January 2017 will be accepted on June 1, 2016 (or next business day).

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

January of odd numbered years

The next intake of this program will be January 2015.


Within 2 business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal e-mail and your myBCIT e-mail address. All correspondence about your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at We'll send you an email when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these emails, or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within 4 weeks.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees and Textbooks [PDF]

Face respirator fit testing: approx $25 per year, annual re-fitting required.

As BCIT strives to keep our programs current, programs and courses are subject to change without notice.


Program matrix

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Term 1 (15 weeks) Credits
  BHSC 6100 Applied Anatomy and Physiology 1 3.0
  PERF 7100 Cardiac Anaesthesia and Clinical Pharmacology 1 3.0
  PERF 7200 Perfusion Equipment and Techniques 1 4.0
Term 2 (15 weeks) Credits
  BHSC 6110 Applied Anatomy and Physiology 2 3.0
  PERF 7110 Cardiac Anaesthesia and Clinical Pharmacology 2 4.0
  PERF 7210 Perfusion Equipment and Techniques 2 4.0
Term 3 (15 weeks) Credits
  PERF 7220 Perfusion Equipment and Techniques 3 4.0
  PERF 7300 Pediatric Perfusion 3.0
  PERF 7400 Hemodynamic Monitoring/Diagnostic Imaging 4.0
Clinical (45 weeks) Credits
  PERF 8100 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 1 3.0
  PERF 8200 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 2 19.5
  PERF 8300 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 3 19.5
  PERF 8400 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 4 19.5
  PERF 8500 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 5 4.5
Total Credits: 98.0

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

The Advanced Certificate in Cardiovascular Perfusion program is two years in length, consisting of a first year of part-time distance learning, followed by a second year of full-time clinical rotations.

The first academic year consists of three semesters of online distance courses. During this year you will gain the fundamental knowledge required for entry to the programs clinical rotations. A strong understanding of cardiothoracic anatomy, physiology and pharmacology will be essential knowledge in order for the students to grasp the physical principles of perfusion science. An emphasis on cardiothoracic pathophysiology, as well as surgical techniques will be introduced early in order to prepare students for clinical. You will be expected to spend approximately 9-12 hours/week completing coursework, including online group discussions, Instructor directed problem solving/quizzes, and peer reviewed lectures.

Upon successful completion of the first year, you will enter an intensive full-time 45-week clinical rotation. You will be expected to train alongside qualified clinical perfusionists in the hospital setting, using the experience to complete clearly defined clinical year objectives. The majority of this clinical year will be spent learning the theoretical and practical application of safe cardiopulmonary bypass, as well as taking part in class days, wet lab work, lectures and student presentations. You will be taught to communicate effectively with members of the health care team, patients and families.

You will learn to use reason, analysis, calculations, problem solving, critical thinking, and other learning skills to acquire knowledge, comprehend, and synthesize complex situations. Students must be prepared for achieving and maintaining a high level of knowledge and clinical competence, as well as having a distinct awareness of the consequence of error in judgment and/or skill. Under supervision the students will be assessed on how safely and effectively they work in often stressful situations.

Clinical site rotations are assigned using student input and a computer program to generate assignments. Although student input is used for site assignments, there is no guarantee that you will receive your preferred placements. The hospitals listed below will provide clinical placements:

Clinical site partners

BC Children's Hospital
Kelowna General Hospital
Royal Columbian Hospital
Royal Jubilee Hospital
St. Paul's Hospital
Vancouver General Hospital

Note: students rotate through the sites listed during the clinical year. This requires that students travel and make arrangements for accommodations in out of town sites according to the length of each rotation. The duration of the clinical courses are 3 weeks (2 courses) and 13 weeks (3 courses) and are scheduled from January 6th, 2014 to December 19th, 2014. One week of the first clinical course will be scheduled for December 2013. Complete clinical schedules will be available to students 3 months prior to beginning the clinical year.

Program length

Two years, part-time, with intake in January of odd numbered years.

Program location

Courses are offered through distance and online learning.

Graduating & Jobs

Our graduates get work

As the need for cardiovascular and open-heart surgeries increases, jobs are opening up across Canada for cardiovascular perfusionists. Many of our grads are offered work in their sponsored hospitals after they graduate.

Career opportunities

Students graduate as cardiovascular perfusionists ready to work as members of cardiac surgical teams in hospital operating rooms. Positions start at approximately $42 per hour.

Visit our professional associations to learn more about the work we do and career opportunities:

Apply for graduation

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, complete an Application for BCIT Credential [PDF] and submit to Student Information and Enrolment Services.

Allow approximately six to eight weeks for processing.

All financial obligations to the Institute must be met prior to issuance of any credential.

Professional associations

Canadian Society of Clinical Perfusion

Faculty, Advisors & Staff


Natalie Barlow
BSc, Respiratory Therapist, Cardiovascular Perfusionist, UBC Medical Student

Neil D Casey
Chief of Perfusion, BCCH / PHSA

Cindy Mazerolle
MBA, BSc Kinesiology

Saverio Spada
Canadian Certified Perfusionist, Respiratory Therapist

Dustin Spratt
Chief of Perfusion, Royal Columbian Hospital


Dr. Jim Abel
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, FRCSC

Filippo Berna
BSc, US/Canadian Certified Perfusionist

Dr. Matt Klass
Anesthesiologist, FRCPC

Dr. Martin Lampa
Anaesthesiologist, FRCPC (Canada)

Steven St. John Gabbott
Canadian Certified Perfusionist

Dr. Calvin Wan
Cardiac Surgery, FRCSC

Advisory committee

  • Pam Aikman, Stroke Services BC / Cardiac Services BC
  • Neil Casey, BC Children's Hospital
  • Al Davenport, Royal Jubilee Hospital
  • Dr. Derek Gunning, Royal Columbian Hospital
  • Carol Laberge, Inerior Health Authority
  • John Miller, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
  • David Nash, Vancouver General Hospital
  • Dustin Spratt, Royal Columbian Hospital

Contact Us

Questions or comments?

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy.

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