The dramatic increase in the use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) over the last decade with the concomitant need for ECMO competent perfusionists has raised questions of how well perfusion education programs are preparing entry-level perfusionists to participate in ECMO. While all perfusion schools teach ECMO principles, there is no standardized or systematic approach to the delivery of didactic knowledge and clinical skills in ECMO. Given this variability of ECMO education across and within perfusion schools, the CES-A exam may provide a metric for comparing curricular approaches. The purpose of this study is to examine three different curricular approaches to prepare new perfusion graduates to master the Adult ECMO Specialist Certification exam (CES-A). We examined three different curricular approaches to prepare new perfusion graduates to master the Adult ECMO Specialist Certification exam (CES-A). We hypothesized that there would be no difference in CES-A pass rate, exam score, Rasch measure, and item category scores between SUNY Cardiovascular Perfusion Program (CVP) graduates who completed SUNY’s ECMO Capstone experience (Group III) and CVP graduates who did not select the ECMO Capstone experience (Group II). Further, we studied the performance of a third group of new graduates from an external program that does not offer formal ECMO courses or an ECMO Capstone experience (Group I). Every perfusion graduate in all groups passed the adult ECMO specialist exam. The graduates who as students completed an ECMO Capstone experience (Group III) scored higher on the exam and significantly higher on four exam categories: coagulation and hemostasis (p = .058), lab analysis point of care (p = .035), and monitor patient and circuit (p = .073), and the safety and failure modes (p = .017). Overall the median graduate Rasch measures ranked with Group III demonstrating the highest measure to Group I the lowest measures (not significant at p = .085). There is a positive educational effect due to CVP graduates completion of the ECMO Capstone experience compared to the program standard ECMO-related curricula in the two perfusion programs participating in this study. From this observation a structured ECMO simulation-based program appears to be equally effective as a traditional, typical lecture-only, clinical perfusion preceptorship, while demonstrating a more satisfactory experience with a higher reported case experience. In this study the standard perfusionist education curriculum prepared the new graduate to be successful on the CES-A exam. The three curricular approaches appear to prepare perfusionist graduates to be successful on the Adult ECMO Specialist exam.