Graduate certificate programs for diabetes education and management are often part of a school's non-degree or continuing education department. Courses may apply to a general diabetes-related certificate of advanced studies or may be geared toward preparing students for the exam necessary to be a Certified Diabetes Educator.
Courses in Diabetes Education and Management
Course topics in this type of certificate program may be taught as separate classes or as modules of one overall program course. Regardless, the following topics are common in many diabetes education or management programs.
Type I and Type II Diabetes
A class of this nature will give a broad introduction to diabetes and should include the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The reasons why each type develops will likely be part of the course and may include information about at-risk populations for each type. These courses will likely also include physiology studies about how the body metabolizes energy, the parts of the body affected and frequent complications.
This type of course educates students about the parts of the disease a patient may be able to control with help from a healthcare professional. Students will learn about the emotional impact of the disease and ways to assist patients with emotional side effects. The connection between nutrition and exercise may also be a part of this course.
Clinical Management and Monitoring
The ways healthcare professionals should approach patient care and monitoring will be a focus in courses such as this. Practical knowledge about ways to approach patients of all types in the clinic may be a topic as will the most frequent ways that diabetes is managed from a clinical standpoint. Students will learn current best practices in the treatment and monitoring of the disease.
Current Research and Trends
Diabetes affects a large portion of the population; like with any disease, constant research and new treatments are constantly becoming available. This course may look at the latest research studies and the implications for care now and in the future. The latest technology and trends available to help patients manage diabetes will likely be a part of the course focus and help students gain valuable knowledge for future clinical applications.
Classic symptoms of and tests for diabetes should be covered in a course focused on patient assessment. The course may also include information about successful patient communication. Students should learn about the disease's effect on special populations, those with inherited tendencies for diabetes, socioeconomic groups and those with particular body types. The problems facing the uninsured may also be covered in the course.
Independent Study or Clinical
Some programs include an independent study project or clinical practicum. The study project may include a thesis and research paper similar to that required of a master's program or be less rigorous. A clinical component may be one assigned by the school or connected to the student's current healthcare profession.
Because most of these programs are meant for licensed, healthcare professionals, students will often already have a master's degree. Some programs may be open to students with a bachelor's degree who are also working on a related master's degree. Programs will usually require transcripts and a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. A statement of purpose or intent requesting admittance can be a common requirement as can letters of recommendation.
Healthcare professionals who want to enhance their diabetes education or provide diabetes management to patients can find certificate programs that include course topics in patient assessment, clinical management, and behavioral considerations. Most programs require students to have a bachelor's degree, but many have a master's.