How to Become a Certified Diabetes Educator?

Diabetes Educator

You can undoubtedly travel down many career pathways to find jobs in the healthcare sector without having to become a healthcare provider. Some of the niches that don’t require you to become a doctor include pharmaceuticals, non-profit organizations, and medical transcriptionists. Many jobs are critical illnesses-centric, which need only well-researched, well-rounded information, more than diagnosis and prescriptions.

One such important career option that you can pursue if you have an interest in medicine is a certified diabetes educator. Certified diabetes educator job is a professional career in the medical realm that combines interaction with patient and expensive knowledge about Diabetes. 

Overview of Certified Diabetes Educator Jobs

Diabetes educators counsel patients who are suffering from life-long illness with useful health management routines and tips, such as proper nutrition, medication dosage, and physical activities. This career requires education and professional experience within the diabetes field before gaining certification.

As a Certified Diabetes Educator, you will coach diabetic individuals on self-care, self-management, and support so that they understand the illness better, find ways to cope with it, and improve quality of life. 

A certified diabetes educator must acquire collective and researched knowledge of prediabetes, Diabetes, management, treatment, prevention, and health complications. He must also have appropriate experience with regards to the profession’s scope of practice. 

You can find diabetes education jobs in different firms, such as hospitals, clinics, diabetes centers, home care, health and wellness programs, physician offices, and consultancy firms. 

Diabetic Educator Salary

Generally, the salaries of certified professionals in the medical realm are quite high. So it will be yours if you take up this career. In the year 2019, the average salary range that certified diabetes educators received was from $71,000 to $88,205. The salary will vary based on your experience, educational background, additional skills, and the hiring firm. 

How to get Certified Diabetes Educator Jobs In Steps

The number of cases of prediabetes and Diabetes is increasing(1) by the day in the USA. Diabetes can cause several health complications if it is not managed with medications and other non-medical treatments. This makes CDE quite demanding and a high-paying profession. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sets the requirement for the diabetes education program in the USA. 

Required Educational Qualification

Only a certified or non-clinical healthcare professional has the eligibility to become a Certified Diabetic Educator, such as,

  • Pharmacist
  • Physical therapist
  • Dietician
  • Optometrist
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Podiatrist
  • Physician assistant
  • Occupational therapist
  • A nutritionist or any healthcare provider with a Ph.D., Doctorate, or Master’s degree in a related field.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to pursue one of the professions mentioned above. Moving forward, the conditions and course to gain certification vary widely. For instance, to become a pharmacist, you must earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacology, then a Master’s Degree in Pharmacology, and gain a license to own or work in a pharmacy. 

However, each healthcare profession needs to be licensed or certified in their business to practice it ethically.

How to Apply for Diabetes Educator Certification

  • To gain certification, you must be employed as a compensated diabetes educator in the country for a minimum of five years. You must also have at least two years of professional practice in your discipline.
  • Simultaneously, you must make sure that you complete 10,000 hours of recorded counseling on diabetes education with patients (either face to face or call to call), along with 15 hours of ongoing training in Diabetes. 
  • You must be in your current employment (or medical practice), along with a distinct job role as a diabetes educator, to gain eligibility for certification.
  • Once you fulfill the requirements, you can apply for the Certification Examination for Diabetes Educators. The certification examination is accredited by the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educator(2)

For more information, you can also look up the American Association for Diabetes Educators(3) website. The site provides all the necessary materials about certification, qualification, and other essential things for pursuing a career. 

Once you clear the examination, you will be certified to practice as a CDE ethically. The certification is valid for 5 years. To recommence the certification, you have to complete certain hours of ongoing practice as CDE in a reputed hospital, clinic, or self-employed, and submit the renewal application form. 

You will find the required details on the NCBDE or AADE websites. 

What A Diabetes Educator Job Profile Looks Like

You play an essential role in supporting patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Since Diabetes is a life-long disease, patients need to learn to cope up with it every day. Your experience and vast knowledge will help patients manage Diabetes without additional medications. 

You can pursue being a diabetes educator as a freelancer or work for a hospital or in a clinical setting. Your job will involve attending different seminars, conferences, and workshops and setting up meetings with patients, one one one or in groups, and educate them about Diabetes.

You will collect information from patients, assess their medical condition and treatment history, and develop personalized diabetes management plans. 

Gestational Diabetes, prediabetes, blood sugar monitoring, insulin vs. oral medicines, blood sugar machines, diet changes, and physical activities for improving symptoms are subjects for general counseling. Advanced counseling includes complexities and prevention of diabetes-caused diseases such as neuropathy, CKD, BP, heart diseases, etc. 

Based on the patients’ condition, you will also have to conduct follow-up evaluations, tests, and treatment plans to determine the success of the education. 

If need be, you may also have to direct patients to appropriate services, such as nutritionists, dieticians, physiotherapists, especially if the treatment is out of your scope.

You have to continuously research and develop new educational materials, work with groups and NGOs to spread awareness on Diabetes, and participate in quality control programs.

According to the US Bureau Labor of Statistics, the employment rate for CDE(1)s is going to grow by 10% in this decade. So, don’t have second thoughts, for you have chosen well.