Perfusionist Salary Guide in 2017

Perfusionists are healthcare providers who use a cardiopulmonary bypass machine to monitor patients’ physiological state during cardiac surgery. These professionals are highly paid throughout the world with those in the US earning an average annual salary of more than $130,000 per year compared to Australia where earnings are about AU$194,000 ($155,060 USD). US dollar equivalent annual incomes in New Zealand and Canada are similar at about NZ$163,000 ($118,770 USD) and C$133,629 ($109,567 USD), respectively, followed by the UK at more than £73,000 ($87,643 USD) per year. Perfusionists in South Africa earn nearly R518,000 ($39,145 USD) while those in India bring home more than 1,000,000 ($15,598 USD) per year. Earning potential varies worldwide based on geographic region, professional experience, and work setting as further outlined in this guide.

How Much Does a Perfusionist Make per Year?

The chart below displays earnings for emergency room nurses in select countries worldwide.

Perfusionist Salary US Canada UK Australia New Zealand India South Africa
Hourly Wage $63 C$64 £35 AU$93 NZ$78 Rs481 R249
Annual Wage $130,420 C$133,629
($109,567 USD)
($87,643 USD)
($155,060 USD)
($118,770 USD)
($15,598 USD)
($39,145 USD)

perfusionist salary

Factors that Influence the Perfusionist Salary

While work setting plays a lesser role in incomes for perfusionists, geographic region and professional experience can strongly influence salary levels. The following paragraphs provide additional information on earning potential and a career as a perfusionist in select countries worldwide.

1. Geographic Area

Perfusionist Salary in US

In the US, the average annual salary for a perfusionist is more than $130,000 per year with bonus income potential exceeding $4,000 in additional earnings. Newly trained perfusionists who are beginning their careers can expect an annual starting salary of nearly $113,000 with annual earnings steadily increasing and peaking at more than $159,000 per year at the senior level.

Perfusionist Salary in Canada

Entry level perfusionists in Canada can expect a starting salary of about C$116,000 per year, increasing with experience to an average of about C$134,000 annually. Those in senior level positions with the most experience and responsibility achieve the highest level of earnings at more than C$163,000 per year. An average of C$4,300 can be earned in additional income through bonus pay opportunities.

Perfusionist Salary in UK

Perfusionists in the UK earn, on average, more than £73,000 per year with an additional £2,400 possible through bonus pay. Entry level perfusionists earn an average starting salary of more than £63,000 per year while senior level professionals receive a yearly income of nearly £90,000.

Perfusionist Salary in Australia

The average annual salary for perfusionists in Australia is nearly AU$194,000 per year. Entry level positions garner yearly pay of about AU$168,000 compared to senior level positions with incomes at more than AU$237,000 per year. The average annual bonus payment is about AU$6,200.

Perfusionist Salary in New Zealand

In New Zealand, entry level perfusionists earn an average annual salary of about NZ$141,000, with earning potential increasing throughout their careers to more than NZ$199,000 for senior level professionals with the most experience and responsibility. The average annual salary for perfusionists at all experience levels in New Zealand is more than NZ$163,000 per year with an average bonus payment of more than NZ$5,200.

Perfusionist Salary in India

Perfusionists in India earn more than Rs1,000,000 per year, on average, plus another Rs32,000 in bonus income potential. The average annual starting salary for entry level perfusionists is nearly Rs879,000 compared to average annual earnings that can exceed Rs1,242,000 for those in senior level positions with the most experience and responsibility.

Perfusionist Salary in South Africa

Average yearly incomes for perfusionists in South Africa are about R518,000 with another R17,000 in bonus potential. Those in entry level positions receive an average annual salary of more than R452,000, increasing with experience to about Rs639,000 per year for senior level professionals.

2. Experience

A look at worldwide salaries shows an overall trend of increasing income with additional experience. Salaries increase throughout one’s career with senior level professionals earning between 41% and 43% more than their entry level counterparts. The greatest percentage of increase in earnings is seen in the UK where senior level positions garner about £27,000 more per year, equating to an increase of about 43%. The annual salary difference for senior level and entry positions in the US is about $46,000 per year, or 41%.

3. Industry

By the nature of their work, perfusionists most often work in hospitals participating in surgical procedures. Some transition to teaching roles or emergency transport providers later in their careers. With little variance in work setting, this factor is a lower level influencer on income. However, because hospitals can be nonprofit or for-profit, publicly or private funded, or part of academic institutions, these factors can influence salaries for those who work in them. Those who work in nonprofit or public sector hospital institutions may earn lower salaries compared to their colleagues employed in for-profit and private sector facilities. Additionally, bonus incomes and benefit levels may be more generous in for-profit and private sector hospitals.

Working Hours

Scheduled surgeries are often Monday through Friday during normal business hours, meaning perfusionists may have a fairly consistent schedule. However, because emergency situations may necessitate surgical procedures, on-call hours are expected and there may times when evening, weekend, and even holiday work is required. Perfusionists most often work a full-time schedule with hours possibly exceeding 40 hours per week.

Bonuses and Benefit Packages

It is typical for a comprehensive benefits package to be offered to perfusionists. This package often includes healthcare coverage for medical, dental, and vision; paid time off for vacation, holidays, and sick time, and bonus income potential. Other benefits may include hiring bonuses to attract healthcare providers to underserved areas and allowances for continuing medical education training and associated travel.

Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only 21 schools in the US that offer perfusion education programs and the number of students who graduate from these programs is less than 200 per year. With an aging population, it is expected to see an increase in cardiovascular surgical procedures, and the number of trained perfusionists each year appears low for future possible demand. This low number of trained professionals means salaries will likely remain steady with sufficient demand in positions expected in the coming years.

Those who choose a career as a purfusionist are required to have approximately two years of specialized training to earn a certificate in perfusion. While some programs offer a bachelor’s degree, it is not required for some training programs. Some may already be working as nurses or medical technicians and choose to return to educational training for this new career. Those who choose to complete the equivalent of a four-year bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree may earn higher salaries or be in training positions.


Perfusionists earn high salaries, and with only about two years of required education, this career offers a solid return on educational and financial investment. A full benefits package with healthcare coverage, paid time off, and bonus income opportunities is commonly offered to perfusionists. With a globally aging population, additional cardiac procedures are expected in the coming years, which should support demand for this career field. With few specialized training programs, the number of professionals entering this career field each year is low, indicating lower competition for open positions.

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