perfusion certification exam

If you’re already in perfusion school or considering a career in perfusion, you might already be aware of the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. In order to become a certified perfusionist at the end of your training, you must first become certified by the ABCP. This consists of taking two examinations on what you’ve learned in training.

The first exam is the Perfusion Basic Science Examination, or PBSE. The second exam is the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination, or CAPE. Both tests are given twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.  Once you meet all requirements to take the PBSE, you’ll also be qualified to sit for the CAPE as well at the same exam site. Let’s take a closer look.

Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE) The PBSE exam is a multiple choice test made up of over 200 questions that cover basic perfusion sciences and cardio pulmonary bypass. These questions were created to test a person’s knowledge of science as it only applies to clinical perfusion. The PBSE can be re-taken as many times as needed to pass, but you’ll have to wait until the next season comes around. A fee of $350 will be charged each time for both exams, bringing the cost to $700 total.

Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE) The CAPE exam, also in multiple choice format, creates a series of scenarios in a clinical setting, each with their own set of questions. The number of questions overall may vary from 200 to 230 depending on the scenarios of each exam. The questions are designed to evaluate a person’s understanding of clinical perfusion practice. If the PBSE is about the science, the CAPE is about how to apply the science in a real life setting. The CAPE can also be taken as many times as needed to pass, but it’s only offered twice a year.

Eligibility Criteria for Testing

We already know that a student must graduate from a perfusion college or program before taking these exams, but here are a few more things you’ll have to cover before signing up. Applicants need to have specific documents on file with the ABCP National Office at least four weeks prior to examination. These documents include:

  • An up-to-date official transcript of credits from your perfusion college or program with your official date of graduation
  • A written statement of satisfactory clinical competency from a chairperson of your school’s Clinical Competency Committee
  • A Clinical Education Record documenting a minimum of 75 perfusion procedures you’ve performed before the graduation date

Applications are due on July 1 and December 1 of every year. If you have to re-take either exam, you do not have to re-submit the three documents above. They will remain on file.

The ABCP Knowledge Base

Both the PBSE and CAPE examinations are based on topics covered within the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion knowledge base. Here are the 11 major sections of the knowledge base that you should focus on when prepping for the tests:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathology
  • Laboratory Analysis
  • Quality Assurance
  • Devices and Equipment
  • Clinical Management
  • Special Patient Groups
  • Special Procedures/Techniques
  • Catastrophic Events/Device Failure
  • Monitoring

Start Your Employer Search Now

If you are in perfusion school, why not get a head start on the search for your future employer? SpecialtyCare hires perfusionists across the country and we offer competitive compensation and an excellent benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance plans. We also offer generous paid time off, 401(k) with matching funds, tuition reimbursement, professional development, membership allowances, certification test preparation, and support.

In addition, SpecialtyCare provides annual perfusion scholarships to students enrolled in perfusion school and clinical techs interested in enrolling. We will be announcing details on this year’s Brown-Brukardt Perfusion Scholarship soon!