Introduction to a Diabetes Educator Career
According to the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), diabetes educators, or diabetes self-management educators, use an ongoing cooperative and holistic process to help assess an individual's needs and identify specific educational goals related to diabetes or prediabetes. Due to the complex nature of diabetes, these educators work in a wide range of healthcare fields from nursing to physician assisting to psychology, and many of the education and certification requirements for diabetes educator roles in these fields can be pursued through online learning. Check out basic career info in the table below.
|Required Skills||Written and verbal communication skills, ability to provide health guidance in a culturally-competent and age-appropriate manner|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)*||11% (for all community health workers and health educators)|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$46,080 per year (for all community health workers and health educators)|
Source: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Become a Diabetes Educator Online
If desired, becoming a diabetes educator can be accomplished almost fully online by using online degree programs as well as online continuing education to fulfill the education requirements for this career. Students pursuing the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential will also need to complete work experience and exam requirements, which must be done in person.
Step 1: Complete a Degree in a Related Healthcare Field
Many positions in the healthcare field that provide guidance or education to patients as diabetes educators require you to have a minimum of a bachelor's or graduate degree. Exercise psychology, pharmacy, nursing, and dietetics are among some of the undergraduate and graduate degree programs available online that can allow you to pursue professions related to diabetes education and also become a Certified Diabetes Educator. These programs often combine online coursework with on-site laboratory or clinical requirements.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Some employers look for diabetes educators who have work experience in their particular healthcare field as well as diabetes education experience. Two years of professional experience in your profession are also required to sit for the Certified Diabetes Educator exam.
Step 3: Specialize Your Knowledge
In addition to obtaining a healthcare degree, comprehensive knowledge of diabetes management and education is required for becoming a diabetes educator. Online education and training in diabetes self-management is available from several colleges and universities as well as professional organizations like the AADE. These fully online programs allow varying healthcare professionals to hone their skills in caring for patients with diabetes, while also fulfilling continuing education requirements for certification.
Step 4: Obtain Your Certification
Once the appropriate level of education and experience is attained, professional healthcare workers can sit for the Certified Diabetes Educator exam provided by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). This credential is often required or preferred by employers.
Registration for the certification exam can be completed online. The test consists of 200 multiple-choice questions and must be taken within 90 days of approved registration. The CDE certification lasts for five years, during which time professional practice hours and continuing education must be maintained to remain eligible for recertification.