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How to Become a Certified Diabetes Educator

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There is no cure for diabetes, requiring patients to rely on medication, diet and lifestyle changes to manage the disease. People with diabetes look to experienced educators to teach them how to eat, how exercise affects their symptoms, and what complications to watch for while monitoring their conditions. A diabetes educator has an extensive background with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and earns a specific certification after accumulating experience and passing an exam.

Preparing for Role of CDE

A certified diabetes educator, or CDE, is a health professional who works directly with patients in a number of settings, ranging from outpatient counseling groups to inpatient hospital rooms and doctors’ offices. To earn the specialty certification, a CDE studies diet, exercise, lifestyle and other health issues and counsels patients in all aspects of the disease, from prevention to daily blood sugar monitoring. Your general healthcare education and direct-care background prepare you for the next step as a specialist in diabetes education.

Medical Licensure Required

To sit for the certified diabetes educator exam given by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators, you first must prove you already hold medical or healthcare credentials. The exam is given to a host of professionals, including licensed nurses, physicians, clinical psychologists and nutritionists. You also may hold a master’s degree in social work to sit for the certification exam.

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Proven Experience

In addition to holding a degree and healthcare credentials. You must be able to prove that you have been active in diabetes care for a minimum of 1,000 hours, with 400 of those hours having taken place within the year preceding your application for certification. You must have been in professional practice for two years before you can become eligible to take the CDE examination as well.

Taking the Test

The CDE exam is given twice a year by a professional testing agency. Sites for the test are located all throughout the country. The cost for the initial exam is $350 in 2014 and the certification must be renewed every five years for $250. Additionally, you need to accrue 75 hours of continuing education directly related to diabetes management and new information related to the disease before renewing. Once you completed the requirements, you can use the CDE designation letters after your name, furthering your credibility in the field.

About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."

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