Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator - RN Careers (2023)

Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator - RN Careers (1)

By Karen Edmondson

Updated: October 16, 2021

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(Video) Nursing Careers Diabetes Educator

Diabetes Nurse Educator Overview

  • What You Will Do: A certified diabetes nurse educator specializes in providing guidance and management for patients with Type I and Type II diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes.
  • Where Will You Work: Certified diabetes nurse educators work in the hospital setting, with private physician practices, or in public health and community clinics.
  • Employment Projections: Nursing is expected to be one of the fastest-growing professions, with growth projected at 16% – 23%. Similarly, the need for certified diabetes nurse educators continues to increase, given the aging population and related diabetes.
  • How Much Will I Earn: The average annual salary for professional nurses is $68,450; factors such as level of degree, specialty certification, geographical location and level of experience will affect salary. The average annual salary for certified diabetes nurse educators ranges from $70,190 – 86,189.
  • Requirements to Become One: Become a registered nurse; complete an accredited nursing program, preferably earning bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN), then obtain licensure as a professional registered nurse by passing the NCLEX-RN examination.

Five Steps to Become a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator

  • Earn Your RN: You must earn an RN degree from an accredited nursing program. While certification does not require a bachelor’s degree (BSN), employers typically do require a BSN degree for the position of diabetes nurse educator.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN Exam: After completed an accredited program, you must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain licensure to practice nursing.
  • Gain nursing experience: In your role as a professional nurse, seek a position that provides opportunities to work with patients with diabetes.
  • Seek related continuing education: Continuing education related to diabetes education is necessary as a part of the requirements for specialty certification.
  • Obtain Certification: The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) offers the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential.

What is a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator?

A certified diabetes nurse educator specializes in providing care and guidance for patients with Type I, Type II and gestational diabetes, working with individuals or with groups. Certified diabetes nurse educators teach about the causes, pathophysiology and signs and symptoms of diabetes. They teach patients about self-assessment related to complications of diabetes, and the importance of following the treatment regime. They also teach patients about diet and nutrition related to maintaining appropriate blood glucose levels, as well as how to monitor those levels. They teach patients about oral and injectable diabetes medications, including correct administration, time of peak effects, signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and how to avoid a drop in blood sugar. Insulin dependent diabetics must learn about the differing types of insulin, including the time of onset and peak effects. They participate in monitoring and tracking lab test result, such as periodic hemoglobin A1C checks. In addition, they teach patients about what the test is and the information it supplies. If the patient is having difficulty managing the disease, the nurse educator can enlist a family member or friend to assist the patient. They can report concerns, problems with the treatment regime, or barrier to compliance to the physician, then implement and evaluation of changes to the treatment plan.

How Do I Become a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator?

The first step toward becoming a certified diabetes nurse educator is to become a Registered Nurse (RN), earning a Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree from an accredited nursing program. After graduation, you must obtain RN licensure by taking the NCLEX-RN examination in your state. Practice NCLEX-RN test questions.

The next step is to seek employment as a professional nurse providing direct patient care, optimally in a setting that provides opportunities to provide care and guidance for patients with Type I, type II or gestational diabetes. After 2 years experience that includes providing diabetes education, the next step is to apply for certification as a diabetes nurse educator.

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) offers the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE credential. Eligibility requires:

  • Current, active, unrestricted professional licensure
  • A minimum of two years professional practice
  • A minimum of 1000 hours of diabetes education experience within 4 years of application for certification, with 400 hours within the year of application
  • A minimum of 15 hours of related continuing education within the 2 years before application. The continuing education must be provided by a NCBDE approved provider

Certification is valid for 5 years.

The American Association of Diabetes Educators offers the Board Certificated-Advanced Diabetes Management credential for nurses with an advanced degree. Eligibility requires:

(Video) Susan Ridder, RN, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator - CHI Health

  • Current, active, unrestricted RN licensure
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) or higher
  • 500 clinical practice hours within 4 years of application for certification

Certification is valid for a period of 5 years.

Where Do Certified Diabetes Nurse Educators Typically Work?

Certified diabetes nurse educators find employment in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, physician practices, public health, home health, and wellness programs. Typically they work in association with an accredited diabetes education program, one which has met the requirements of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, allowing for billing for diabetes self-management education for individuals or for groups.

How Much Do Certified Diabetes Nurse Educators Earn?

Nursing, in general, is identified as one of the fastest growing professions in the US in terms of salary, with a projected growth of 16% or higher, much higher than the national average. The median annual salary for nurses is 68,450, but the range of potential salary can vary, depending on degrees and certifications held, type of employment, and geographical location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the top five states for general nursing salaries are (range 88,770 – 102,700);

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • Oregon

Specialty certification can increase earnings significantly. Salaries are generally higher in urban areas, however, the cost of living is typically higher, as well. In addition, bachelor’s prepared nurses tend to earn higher salaries than nurses with associate degree in nursing. The average annual salary for nurse managers ranges from $70,190 – 86,189.

Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator Education

Additional specialty education for nurse managers at the undergraduate degree level largely consists of continuing education activities, such as professional conferences, in-service presentations or through professional organizations. The NCBDE provides a list of recognized approved providers, which includes, in part;

An added option is seeking an advanced practice role as a nurse practitioner. This involves earning an advanced degree, either at the master’s degree or doctoral degree level. Universities offering a graduate degree in nursing with a concentration in diabetes/endocrinology include;

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

(Video) Becoming a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

What is a Typical Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator Curriculum?

At the undergraduate degree level, the overall focus for continuing education concerns;

  • Basic knowledge
    • Learning styles
    • Cognitive/Change theory
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Type I Diabetes Mellitus
      • Pharmacological therapy
      • Lifestyle modification
    • Type II Diabetes Mellitus
      • Pharmacological therapy
      • Lifestyle modification
      • Obesity management
    • Diabetes and pregnancy
    • Diabetes prevention

Curriculum content for graduate programs with a concentration in diabetes/endocrinology is focused on topics such as;

  • Behavior change strategies for diabetes prevention and management
  • Pathophysiology of diabetes and related complications
  • Assessment of individuals with diabetes
  • Preventive and therapeutic interventions for diabetes management
  • Pharmacology related to diabetes
  • Clinical practice in diabetes care and management

The Role of the Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator in the Healthcare Provider Shortage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that employment for nurses will increase at a rate of 16% by 2024. There is a national shortage of nurses in general related to the Baby Boomer population entering retirement, and the increased health needs of the growing aging population. It is projected that the South and West will be hardest hit by the nursing shortage. The 12 states expected to have the most acute shortages are; Florida, Georgia, Texas, Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico.

Just as there is an increasing demand for nurses, in general, the need and demand for certified diabetes nurse educators is projected to increase 12% by 2024. As diabetes is a leading cause of death and disability, it is expected that the need for certified diabetes nurse educators will increase, due, in part, to the aging population and increased incidence of age-related diabetes. An added factor is the nationwide physician shortage; as a result, certified diabetes nurse educators are needed to help primary care providers manage patients with diabetes and ensure optimal patient care outcomes.

Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator Resources


Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator - RN Careers (3)

Karen Edmondson

Karen is a Registered Nurse, graduating with a BSN in nursing in 1972 from North Park College in Chicago, Illinois. Her graduate degree was earned at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985. While her major clinical area specialty has been maternal/infant, pediatrics nursing, and women’s health, she has also worked in med-surg and adult ICU environments. She have 22 years’ experience in a faculty role, the past 7 years in an online venue.

(Video) Becoming a Diabetes Educator!

Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.


What can you do as a diabetes educator? ›

While you manage your patients' care, diabetes educators can empower them to manage their diabetes. They teach, coach and guide patients so they understand their diabetes and how it affects their personal lives, and work with them to set (and meet) behavior change goals to improve their health.

Why do you want to be a diabetes educator? ›

The Role of Diabetes Education

As a diabetes educator, you could expand on the advice that patients and their caregivers hear from other medical professionals, sharing a real-world perspective on how to follow through with large shifts in their daily routines.

What band is a diabetic nurse? ›

At band 6, a recommended job title of diabetes specialist nurse (DSN) should be used for those that can demonstrate a comprehensive, specialised, factual and theoretical knowledge within the field of diabetes.

What qualifications do I need to become a diabetes nurse? ›

Specific qualifications and experience required
  • Registered General Nurse.
  • 3 years post registration experience at grade E.
  • Specialist practice degree in Care of People with Diabetes.

Are diabetes educators in demand? ›

Demand for diabetes educators is projected to increase. The employer base will broaden beyond traditional out- patient venues and extend into industry, retail pharmacy clinics, and community-based organizations.

Can diabetes educators work independently? ›

AADE's Diabetes Education Accreditation Program allows physicians to implement their own diabetes education program by contracting with an independent diabetes educator or directly employing an educator.

What does a diabetes educator do in hospital? ›

When you are first diagnosed, Credentialled Diabetes Educators explain what diabetes is and provide individualised advice on how to get your blood glucose levels within the appropriate target range. They will also help you organise tests and screenings for diabetes complications.

What does a diabetes education nurse do? ›

A diabetes educator nurse is a medical professional who helps diabetes patients better understand their condition and how to live with it. When working in this role, you may also educate their guardians or loved ones on the proper care of this group of diseases.

What is the new term for certified diabetes educator? ›

Starting in 2020, CDE's will go from being Certified Diabetes Educators to our new name: Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (CDCES).

Are all diabetes educators nurses? ›

Diabetes Educators may be from quite different clinical disciplines: Registered Nurses, Midwives, Dietitians, Podiatrists, Pharmacists, Doctors, Exercise Physiologists or Physiotherapists.

Does the FBI hire diabetics? ›

The Federal Bureau of Investigation prohibits people with insulin- dependent diabetes from occupying the positions of special agent or inves- tigative specialist. However, the FBI does allow people who have non- insulin-dependent diabetes to be special agents or investigative specialists.

Where do diabetes nurses work? ›

DSNs work wholly in diabetes care. They may be employed and work in primary care; secondary care providing inpatient care; intermediate care working in the community; or, in a mixture of these settings. A DSN's clinical caseload might encompass the care of adults or children with diabetes, or both.

What is a CDE called now? ›

CDCES was Formerly Known as the CDE Credential

The Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) designation was formerly known as the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). Let's show people with diabetes and the healthcare community who CDCESs are and how they can contribute to positive health outcomes!

Can a diabetic nurse prescribe medication? ›

Conclusion: Supplementary prescribing provides a practical and useful framework within which to prescribe medicines for patients with diabetes and its associated complications. Specialist diabetes training is a necessary prerequisite for nurses prescribing in this area.

Can a school nurse administer insulin? ›

These school staff can also help your child to give his or her own insulin (by verifying the dose or by watching your child give an injection or press the buttons on an insulin pump). California law also permits insulin to be administered by school nurses (and other licensed health care professionals), students who are ...

Can a certified diabetes educator adjust insulin? ›

A CDE can help you adjust your diabetes routine in terms of food, exercise, glucose monitoring and medication dosing to gradually achieve your goals.

Is a diabetes educator a dietitian? ›

While Credentialled Diabetes Educators provide general nutrition education as part of diabetes education occasion of service, only Accredited Practising Dietitians can provide and claim re-imbursement for medical nutrition therapy.

Is it hard to get a job with diabetes? ›

In all but a few rare cases, there is no reason why people with diabetes should not have equal access to jobs; the exceptions being when employers, for some positions, may be unwilling to accept employees who are at risk of hypoglycemia.

What does a diabetic nurse educator do? ›

Their role is to empower those living with diabetes with knowledge and guidance to understand the condition, overcome the challenges it may bring and gain confidence to live a healthy, full life. They do this by providing education and training, as well as clinical care.

What does a diabetes educator do in hospital? ›

When you are first diagnosed, Credentialled Diabetes Educators explain what diabetes is and provide individualised advice on how to get your blood glucose levels within the appropriate target range. They will also help you organise tests and screenings for diabetes complications.

What does a diabetes nurse educator do in the community? ›

Diabetes Educators provide support, education, guidance and skills training to help you: Understand diabetes and make informed lifestyle and treatment choices. Understand the role and importance of physical activity in daily life. Use medicines effectively and safely.

What are roles of a nurse educator on a diabetes treatment team? ›

The diabetic nurse educator establishes long-term commitments and knows patients very well. Responsibilities include instruction on foot and skin care, and appropriate diet; monitoring of blood glucose; and administration of insulin.


2. Rachel Dowd, RN, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator - CHI Health
(CHI Health)
3. Ashley Manhart, RD, MSN, CDE, CPT - Certified Diabetes Educator - CHI Health
(CHI Health)
4. What is the role of a Diabetes Educator?
(Diabetes NSW & ACT)
5. Kelly Reilly, CDE, RN, Diabetes Educator living with Diabetes
6. A Life as a RN-CDE
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