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What is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) AND What do they do?
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. For over 35 years, the CDCES credential has become a standard of excellence for the delivery of quality diabetes care and education. CDCESs educate, support, and advocate for people with 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.
Why Should You See a CDCES?
Diabetes impacts you in many areas of your life. Successful self-management involves knowledge across a broad range of topics including healthy eating, taking medication, monitoring, being active, problem-solving, and reducing risk. It's difficult to do it alone, that is where a CDCES can partner with you in your journey.
When Should You See a CDCES?
You should consult with a CDCES upon diagnosis and during the transitions of important life stages. It is crucial to have ongoing support from a CDCES to help successfully manage your diabetes throughout your lifetime.
Locate a CDCES-Certified Specialist
Are you ready to partner with a CDCES to help manage your diabetes and improve your health outcomes?
Use the Locate a CDCES Directory to find a CDCES near you.
"One exceptional experience was when I counseled a patient living with type 2 diabetes for many years who had never had an opportunity to meet with a CDCES in the past. His
A1C was consistently above 9%, and his physician increased his insulin administration each visit. The individual and I worked together for six months, modifying his diet, exercise, and medication. At the 6-month visit, his A1C was now 6%, and he no longer needed his rapid-acting insulin." Sue Stewart, RD, LD, CDCES
Additional Diabetes Resources: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
More than 37 million Americans are living with diabetes (about 1 in 10 people), and approximately 90-95% of those individuals are living with type 2 diabetes. Visit the
CDC's website for additional information on type 2 diabetes. For information on type 1 diabetes
, click here.
CDCESs can help you gain knowledge about a broad range of topics affecting diabetes management:
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.
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.
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.
Your CDCES will help you make food choices that will best help you manage your blood glucose.
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 glucose.
CDCES professionals teach you how to check and monitor your blood glucose levels and how to adjust your food intake or activity if the levels are too high or too low. The other important aspects of monitoring your overall health will be covered as well.
Medications to treat diabetes and related conditions are available to you. Your CDCES will teach about medications, including how to use insulin.
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. If you have other questions,
contact us. Please read our
public awareness advisory for more information on the CDCES 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.