Diabetes Health Counselor Job Description and Education Requirements

Sep 23, 2019

Education requirements for diabetes health counselors vary depending on where they wish to work. Some positions, such as those of dietitians, only ask for a bachelor's degree while others require a master's or doctorate degree. Choosing to work as a registered nurse, educator or physician in conjunction with employment as a diabetes health counselor is a viable option.

Essential Information

Diabetes health counselors provide education and advice on the management or prevention of diabetes. Many diabetes health counselors are also trained in another healthcare profession, such as dietetics. These professionals can be found working in hospitals, clinics, and medical centers. Required education for these careers range from completion of a nursing diploma program to a medical doctor program; many of the positions also require licensure. Diabetes health counselors have the option of becoming certified.

Career Titles Health Educators Physicians Registered Nurses Dietitians
Required Education Master's degree Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Nursing degree and an R.N. license Bachelor's degree in dietetics or clinical nutrition
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 10% 7% 12% 11%
Mean Annual Salary (May 2018)* $59,660 $203,880 $75,510 $61,210

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Diabetes health counselors may also work as registered nurses, physicians, registered dietitians, or health educators. These specialized experts provide individuals and groups with information to help prevent or regulate diabetes. Because diabetic patients have very specific nutritional needs, diabetes health counselors inform diabetics on optimal food intake, as well as physical exercise, insulin management, and advising on behavior changes. Diabetes health counselors can become Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) oversees professional certification of diabetes health counselors.

Education Requirements

Education requirements for becoming a CDE vary, depending on an individual's existing healthcare training and profession. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for registered dietitians and registered nurses. Health educators must hold a master's degree, and physicians must complete the education and training required for becoming a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). The NCBDE lays out all the specific education and training requirements for the various healthcare providers wanting to become a CDE.

Training Information

Becoming a diabetes health counselor requires completing continuing professional education (CME) courses in diabetes self-management training. Additionally, many healthcare professionals, such as dietitians, might also be able to acquire training and experience through a required internship within a degree program. Choosing a healthcare center or organization that caters to those with diabetes might be one option for gaining hands-on diabetes counselor training.

Licensure Information

Certified Diabetes Educators do not need a license to practice, although most healthcare professions, such as physicians, nurses, and dietitians, are required to be state licensed. State requirements for licensure vary for those professions.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide statistics for diabetes health counselors, it does have information regarding the closely related career of health educators. According to the BLS, the employment of health educators from 2018 to 2028 is projected to increase much faster-than-average by about 10%. PayScale.com indicated that most certified diabetes educators earned between $49,000 and $87,000 a year in September of 2019.

RNs, physicians, health educators and dietitians may also work as diabetes health counselors. Licensure or certification is often required for these professions, and voluntary certified diabetes educator certification is available as well.

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