Key Facts & Information
Training, Other Qualifications
To become a certified diabetes educator, a person usually starts out working in a health-related field, and then specializes as a certified diabetes educator. Before specializing, the person is often a pharmacist, dietitian, registered nurse, or physical therapist, but other careers are also suitable for specialization as a certified diabetes educator.
Two years of professional practice, at least 1000 hours of diabetes self-management education, and continuing education related to diabetes are required for certification, which is awarded by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators in the United States.
Education and Training
To become a certified diabetes educator, several requirements must be met, although the path a person chooses is rather flexible:
- Four years of health-related education in a college or university, resulting in a Bachelor’s degree.
- Additional education and/or training in a relevant health- or medical-related discipline, specifically to become one of the following professions:
- Clinical psychologist. Requires a Master’s degree.
- Dietitian or nutritionist. Requires a Bachelor’s degree, although many states also require a license and many employers prefer certification.
- Occupational therapist. Requires a Master’s degree.
- Optometrist. Requires a professional degree (Doctorate in Optometry, DO).
- Pharmacist. Requires a professional degree (Doctor of Pharmacy, PharmD).
- Physical therapist. Requires a Master’s degree.
- Physician. Requires a Master’s degree.
- Registered nurse. Requires an Associate’s degree.
- At least two years of experience in a professional practice as one of the above professions.
- At least 1000 hours of diabetes self-management education.
- At least 15 hours of continuing education related to diabetes.
People who want to become a certified diabetes educator must be comfortable working with both individuals and large groups. They need to be excellent communicators and comfortable speaking in public, as they may need to teach classes or give presentations. Certified diabetes educators often work with a very diverse population, so they must be sensitive to cultural differences. They should also be self-motivated, sympathetic, responsible, detail-oriented, and emotionally stable to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses. Certified diabetes educators often create new programs or materials, so they should also have some creativity and be skilled writers.