Ready to apply for the CDCES exam?  You will place your application here at CBDCE. If you do not have an account with CBDCE, you will need to create one. To create an account > click Sign In > Click New user? Create an account! > follow the prompts to create your acccount. Once your account is created, to apply > click on Get Certified > Create an Application to apply for the exam. 


CDCES Scholarship Program: The 2024 CDCES Scholarship Program application window is now closed. For those who applied to the 2024 program, decisions will be made in July and notifications sent at that time. CBDCE established the scholarship program to support the journey for health professionals in the specialty and to encourage diversity in the pool of health professionals holding the CDCES credential. Learn more.

November 2023 Update: To address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ability of health professionals pursuing the CDCES credential to accrue practice experience in diabetes care and education (DCE), the CBDCE Board of Directors has approved moving the temporary changes to the professional practice requirement relating to DCE for initial certification to permanent state.  Learn more about what changed in our Pandemic Impact Certification Statement.

Medical professional testing mans blood sugar

The CDCES program is a practice-based certification for experienced health professionals who provide diabetes care and education in the United States or its territories.

To apply to take the exam, you must have
  • Earned one of the qualifying professional disciplines
  • Prior professional practice experience providing diabetes care and education
  • Mastered the knowledge and application associated with the specialty

Read on to find out if you meet the requirements.

Discipline Requirement

You will need to have a license, registration or certification in a specific discipline when you apply for the CDCES Examination and when you take the exam if you are following the standard pathway to certification. 

The discipline requirement must be completed before the other eligibility requirements can be met. 

Unique Qualifications Pathway (UQP) 

If you do not meet the discipline requirement, you may be eligible for the UQP. 

The UQP involves a pre-application process. You must meet all the eligibility requirements before applying.

Professional Practice Experience

To meet the professional practice requirement, you will need
  • A minimum of 2* years professional practice experience in your discipline after meeting the discipline requirement.
  • A minimum of 1,000 hours providing diabetes care and education (DCE) earned within the 5 years prior to your application date, with a minimum of 20% of those hours (200 hours) accrued in the most recent year preceding application. 
*Note:  Waiver: Individuals may claim a one (1) year waiver for one (1) of the two (2) years professional practice experience requirement for individuals with a master’s degree or higher in a health-related field. Using this waiver, individuals would only need a minimum of one (1) year working in their discipline. (Master’s degree would qualify as a waiver for the second year.)

What counts as Diabetes Care and Education (DCE)? 

Diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES), historically also referred to as diabetes self-management training or diabetes education, is performed by health professionals who have appropriate credentials and experience consistent with their profession’s scope of practice. CBDCE uses the term diabetes care and education (DCE). Review the Exam Handbook for specific information on which activities are considered DCE.

Continuing Education Hours

In addition to meeting the professional practice and diabetes education experience requirement, you will need a minimum of 15 continuing education (CE) hours applicable to diabetes prior to taking the exam. The CE activity must be
Need more experience?  If you need help getting more Diabetes Care and Education (DCE) hours, learn about our mentorship program.

Next Steps

Learn more about requirements

Read about preparing for the exam

 Take the exam