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


Note: This program runs every two years. The September 2017 intake will accept applications starting November 1, 2016 (or next business day).

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 and provide practical, hands-on training. Our students come from the cardiac field with the passion and work experience to succeed at this intensive program.

About the program

  • Two-year 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
  • Outcomes of the Cardiovascular Perfusion program are designed to meet the competencies outlined in the National Entry-Level Competency profile of The Canadian Society of Clinical Perfusion

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 prerequisite courses
  • Thrive in fast-paced, high-stress team environments 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 how and when to apply.

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 November 1st* to May 1st.*

*or next business day

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

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Three-step process

Due to the limited number of seats and the large number of applicants, this program accepts only the most suitable applicants.

First priority is given to BC residents or applicants who will move to BC for the duration of the program and remain in BC to work following graduation.

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.

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 (BHSC 1200 or equivalent) 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)
      • 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.

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) and Immunization Review to be completed prior to start of clinical practicum year.
    Note: CPR C is the minimum level of CPR certification acceptable.

  • Face Respirator Fit Testing: Respirator Fit Testing with a N95 respirator (1860, 1860s or 1870) is required and must be performed, in accordance with CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Z94.4-02. Fit Testing must also include inspection, cleaning, maintenance, and storage of protective equipment. Students will be given specific instructions on how to access FIT testing by the program prior to the first clinical. Students are responsible for paying for the annual FIT test while in the program and carrying their certificate with them at all times during their practicum.

Apply to program

Note: This program runs every two years. The September 2017 intake will accept applications starting November 1, 2016 (or next business day).

Scheduled intakes

September of odd numbered years


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

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

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Part-time Studies Fees page for information on tuition fees and refunds.

Books and supplies

Most online courses require a textbook for reference. Bookstore fees change from term to term.

Face respirator fit testing: approximately $40.00 per year (annual re-fitting required).

Immunization review available at Health Services for $35.00 (including TB skin testing).

At minimum, CPR C is required annually at approximately $50.00 per year.


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 (44 weeks) Credits
  PERF 8100 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 1 3.0
  PERF 8200 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 2 21.0
  PERF 8300 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 3 21.0
  PERF 8400 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 4 21.0
  PERF 8500 Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical 5 4.5
Total Credits: 102.5

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 students gain the fundamental knowledge required for entry to the clinical rotations. A strong understanding of cardiothoracic anatomy, physiology and pharmacology is essential knowledge in order to grasp the physical principles of perfusion science. An emphasis on cardiothoracic pathophysiology, as well as surgical techniques, is introduced early in order to prepare for clinical. Students are 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, students enter an intensive, full-time, 44-week clinical rotation where they 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 is 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. Students are taught to communicate effectively with members of the health care team, patients and their families.

Students learn to use reason, analysis, calculations, problem solving, critical thinking, and other learning skills to acquire knowledge, and to 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, students are assessed on how safely and effectively they work in often stressful situations.

Clinical site rotations are assigned to students by BCIT faculty. Although student input is used for site assignments, there is no guarantee that all learners will receive their preferred placements. The hospitals listed below will provide clinical placements:

Clinical site partners

BC Children's Hospital
Foothills Medical Centre
Kelowna General Hospital
Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
Royal Columbian Hospital
Royal Jubilee Hospital
St. Boniface Hospital
St. Paul's Hospital
Vancouver General Hospital

Note: During the clinical year, BC resident students rotate through the listed BC clinical sites. Alberta resident students rotate through the listed Alberta clinical sites. 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 two and three weeks (two courses) and 14 weeks (three courses). Complete clinical schedules will be available to students three months prior to beginning the clinical year.

Program length

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 BCIT Cardiovascular Program is registered for accreditation with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). The program assessment is tentatively scheduled for March 12 – 15, 2017 which is prior to the graduation date of July 2017. For more information, contact or visit the Canadian Medical Association website.

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 the professional association website to learn more about the work perfusionists do and to find career opportunities:

Apply for graduation

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, complete an Application for BCIT Credential [PDF] and submit it 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

Perfusion FAQ

What are the working conditions and physical requirements of a career in Cardiovascular Perfusion?

Being a perfusionist involves:

  • Shift work, including work on weekends, holidays, and overtime.
  • Being able to work long hours
  • Managing stressful situations during cardiac procedures by utilizing a high level of skill and decision-making whilst monitoring and operating complex mechanical devices.
  • Heavy lifting at times to move equipment or transfer patients.
  • Good manual dexterity and eye/hand coordination to operate extracorporeal and blood-related equipment.

Can I work during the program?

This is a very demanding program. While it is possible to work during the didactic year, it is not recommended during the clinical year. Any work hours must accommodate full-time labs and clinical hours.


Where will lab classes take place?

The Perfusion lab is located at the BCIT Aerospace Campus, on Sea Island, in Richmond, BC.


I do not live in the Greater Vancouver area, will I be expected to come to the lab classes?

Yes. All students must attend lab classes. Full-time lab classes will be scheduled at the beginning of each clinical practicum rotation.


Where will my clinical placements be located?

BCIT arranges clinical training for the student. Students will be asked to provide their preferences for clinical placements, but there is no guarantee that they will be assigned to one of their preferences.


Am I responsible for costs throughout the clinical placement?

You are responsible for all personal expenses, including food, accommodation, and transportation throughout the clinical practicum. No stipend is available for any portion of this program.


Are there any breaks in the program?

In addition to the Christmas and spring breaks between didactic terms, there will be two, one week, breaks scheduled between clinical rotations.


How can I make my application more competitive?

Admission to the program is highly competitive. In addition to completing all of the prerequisites, successful applicants typically have the following profile:

  • Post-secondary education with a focus on human anatomy and physiology and/or health
  • Strong academic performance
  • Job or volunteer experience involving direct patient care
  • Demonstration of a clear understanding of the profession and the program
  • Excellent communication skills

The questionnaire that is included with the application should exhibit thoughtful, articulate answers to all questions, as these are carefully reviewed in the selection of candidates for interview.


Can I apply to the program while I’m working on meeting the prerequisites, or do I need to wait until all are complete?

You can only apply when you have fully met the academic requirements. An exception can be made if you are in the process of completing prerequisite courses and can submit interim reports which show you have completed a minimum of 50% of the course work at the time that you apply. Please be aware that the program is very competitive and preference will be given to applicants who have completed all of their prerequisites prior to the application closing date.


What if I have the prerequisites but they are from more than five years ago?

With the exception of English, it is highly recommended (but not required) for Option 2 course work to have been completed within five years of the program start date.


Do you consider GPA within the selection process?

Participation in the selection process is not guaranteed to applicants who meet only the minimum entrance requirements. The program selects those applicants deemed to have the best opportunity for success. All complete applications will be reviewed by the program and shortlisted.

Preference will be given to applicants with a strong GPA, Bachelor’s Degree with emphasis on human anatomy and physiology, a demonstrated interest in the field, and related volunteer/work experience. It is important that your achievement demonstrates an aptitude for success.


What can I do to prepare myself for success in the selection process?

The program looks for well-rounded individuals who will be successful as students and as future cardiovascular perfusionists. Ensure that you have researched what it means to be a perfusionist and are aware of the scope of the work involved.

Be prepared for a formal Multi-Mini Interview (MMI) process. All interviews will take place on campus.


Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Melanie Beggs-Murray, BCIT Program Assistant

Ed Proniuk, BCIT Faculty
Lead Instructor and Perfusionist

Saverio Spada, BCIT Contract Instructor
Chief of Perfusion, Kelowna General Hospital

Robin Wolfe, BCIT Program Head

Advisory committee

  • Al Davenport, Chief of Perfusion, Royal Jubilee Hospital
  • Sean Hardiman, Provincial Clinical Director, Perfusion
  • Cindy Lawlor, Operations Leader, Perfusion, St. Paul's Hospital
  • John Miller, Chief of Perfusion, Mazankowski Heart Institute
  • Mary Nieforth, Operations Director, Perfusion,
    Vancouver General Hospital
  • Saverio Spada, Chief of Perfusion, Kelowna General Hospital
  • Dustin Spratt, Chief of Perfusion, 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 Information Access and Privacy.

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