Living with Diabetes

If you are newly diagnosed or need guidance in managing your diabetes, you may not know where to start.

Consider getting help from a professional that specializes in diabetes care and education that will partner with you to provide you with the skills to self-manage your diabetes.

One way to successfully manage your diabetes is to work with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, also known as a CDCES. Your CDCES can help you gain knowledge about a broad range of topics such as:

Problem Solving

Having a plan when an unusual situation arises is a must for people living with diabetes. A CDCES will help you develop problem-solving skills that can help you avoid a crisis. 

Reducing Risks

Diabetes-related complications and other health issues can affect people with diabetes. Your CDCES will teach you to recognize the risks and help you reduce them. 

Healthy Coping

Living with chronic illness can take a toll. Your CDCES will help you develop strategies for coping so you can work through psychological, physical and emotional issues as you learn to live with diabetes.

Healthy Eating

Your CDCES will help you make food choices that will best help you manage your blood sugar. 

Being Active

You’ll learn about the benefits of staying active. Regular activity will help you lose weight, improve your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and control your blood sugar. 


CDCES professionals teach you how to check and monitor your blood levels and how to adjust your diet or activity if the levels are high.

Taking Medication

Medications to treat diabetes and related conditions are available to you. Your CDCES will teach about medications, including how to use insulin.

CDCESs can also help educate your family members about ways to support your healthy eating, lifestyle changes, and other aspects of health care self-management.

Watch the CBDCE/CDN video where a few young individuals from The College Diabetes Network shared their personal experience on the value of seeing a CDCES and how a CDCES helps with their diabetes management.  

What is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist?

Before 2020, the CDCES was known as the Certified Diabetes Educator® (CDE®). 

A Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) is a health professional who possesses comprehensive knowledge of and experience in diabetes prevention, prediabetes, and diabetes care and management. Since it was first awarded in 1986, the CDCES credential has become a standard of excellence for the delivery of quality diabetes care and education. The CDCES educates, supports, and advocates for people affected by diabetes. The CDCES promotes self-management to achieve individualized behavioral and treatment goals that reduce risks and optimize health outcomes. CDCESs have completed a rigorous process including passing an exam to show they have specialized knowledge in diabetes care and management. 

What is Diabetes Care and Education?

Diabetes care and education is a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes gain the knowledge and skills needed to successfully manage the disease and its related conditions. It can take place in a group or one-on-one setting as part of a recognized or accredited education program or in an informal format.

Obtaining general diabetes information can be helpful in the short term, but diabetes care and education can lead to better managed diabetes and decrease short and long-term complications when you partner with a CDCES.

Are you ready to take charge of your diabetes and improve your health? Get started today. 
Responsive Image
Diabetes and pre-diabetes affect over 100 million people in the US, costing more than $325 billion each year. View the PBS two-hour special documentary:  Blood Sugar Rising: America's Hidden Diabetes Epidemic.  

The documentary puts human faces to these statistics, exploring the history and science of the illness through portraits and voices of Americans whose stories shape the documentary. Together, they present a dramatic depiction of this hidden national crisis. The film also reveals new hopes: from the rise of safer and easier medical treatments to new discoveries about lifestyle and environmental factors, Blood Sugar Rising reports on those taking action to improve diabetes management and prevention.  Watch the two-hour PBS documentary now! (Courtesy of PBS)

Answers to Your Questions

We often hear from people who have been diagnosed with diabetes who have questions about their care and about working with a CDCES. We’ve put together some typical questions and responses for your convenience. If you have other questions, please feel free to contact us.

Please read our public awareness advisory for more information on the credential. 

What does a CDCES do?

A CDCES educates and supports people affected by diabetes to understand and manage the condition. A CDCES promotes self-management to achieve individualized behavioral and treatment goals that optimize health outcomes. CDCESs have passed a rigorous exam to show they have the knowledge to provide the education persons with diabetes need to manage their conditions.

How can a CDCES help me?

Successful self-management of diabetes involves knowledge about a broad range of topics such as healthy eating, taking medication, being active, and healthy coping. It’s not easy to gain all of the necessary knowledge without help. This is where your CDCES comes in.

I see my physician, isn’t that enough?

Diabetes care and education is a collaborative process involving you and other health professionals such as nurses, dietitian nutritionists, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, optometrists, physical therapists, podiatrists, clinical exercise specialists, PAs, or exercise physiologists. Consulting with a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist may lead to better outcomes. They partner with both you and your family on how to manage and improve your health.

I have just been diagnosed and have a referral to see a CDCES. What can I expect now?

The process varies from person to person. Generally speaking, once you get a referral from your provider you will spend some one-on-one time with your CDCES for an assessment and basic education. You may then be referred to group classes, or additional individual sessions based on your needs, where you will learn about skills to manage the disease in a variety of areas, including healthy eating, being active, taking medication, problem solving, reducing risks, monitoring, healthy coping, etc. You will also schedule follow-up visits as needed.

How does someone become a CDCES?

Diabetes care and education specialists are health professionals who must meet rigorous requirements before they are eligible to take the CDCES exam. Besides meeting a discipline requirement, e.g., license, registration, or advanced degree, requirements related to the individual’s experience as a health professional, including providing diabetes care and education to persons with diabetes, must be met. In addition, candidates must obtain continuing education related to diabetes. Eligible candidates must then take and pass a rigorous exam that covers the different areas related to managing the disease in order to earn their CDCES credential. They are also required to renew the credential every five years. Renewal helps to ensure that CDCESs continue to maintain and enhance their knowledge.

I want to work with a CDCES. What do I do first?

In most cases, you will need a referral from your provider. If your provider does not offer a referral to a CDCES, ask for one. You may also contact a CDCES near you and they will likely be able to walk you through the process. Find a CDCES near you.

How can I find a CDCES?

Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialists can be found in many different healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician offices, private practice and clinics, to name a few. Find a CDCES near you.

How much does it cost to consult a CDCES?

Costs vary and, in some cases, may be covered by medical insurance. Consult with a CDCES in your area to find out the specific costs associated with their services or your insurance provider for coverage.