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What is a Diabetes Educator?

Updated: Mar 30, 2022

healthcare professional touching patients' shoulder

A Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES), previously known as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), is a healthcare professional who has experience and training in the care of people with diabetes and prediabetes. They help educate, support and advocate for people affected by diabetes.

To become a CDCES, one has to be a healthcare professional already. Most CDCESs are nurses and dietitians, but pharmacists, psychologists, physical therapists, physicians, physician assistants, as well as various other healthcare professionals can be CDCEs. To obtain the credential, they have to demonstrate that they have experience working with people with diabetes and prediabetes by logging at least 1000 hours of diabetes education. They also must have specific education related to diabetes care and pass a comprehensive exam. The exam is quite challenging, with only 66% of first-timers passing the exam in 2017 (only 45% of repeat takers passed). To keep the credential, they must retake the exam every 5 years or do a significant amount of continuing education related to diabetes care. CDCESs have KNOWLEDGE and EXPERIENCE!

CDCESs work in a variety of settings- hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, doctor offices or in private practice. They also may work for drug or insulin pump companies. They may teach diabetes classes, diabetes prevention program classes, or work with individuals one-one-one. Their job may be to teach people about insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors, or their primary role may be educating other healthcare professionals. We’re out there doing all sorts of things!

Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists can help you in all sorts of ways! We can answer all your questions – you know, the ones that you thought of right AFTER your appointment with the doctor. We can help you figure out how to use your glucometer and other diabetes related devices. We can guide you to find a plan to manage your diabetes that fits into your life. Whatever else you need related to your diabetes, we can probably help or at least refer you to someone who can. We love to help- that’s our job!

To find a CDCES near you, click here:



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