Tell us about your experiences with weight management. Take our survey!

a person in a speech bubble looking confused

Who You Gonna Call (If You Need Information About Your Diabetes)?

A friend of mine who happens to have type 2 diabetes was telling me the other day that she is planning on calling her endocrinologist to schedule an appointment with their certified diabetes educator (CDE). She was recently placed on multiple injections of insulin and is interested in finding out more about her insulin to carb ratio. The insulin to carb ratio refers to finding the right amount of insulin units to take according to how many grams of carbohydrate she will consume.

Her endocrinologist suggested she meet with a diabetes educator. That recommendation is right on target for what a diabetes educator can help a patient with diabetes navigate. They have the latest information on the newest technologies for managing diabetes. As our conversation continued, I realized that my friend was referring to the diabetes educator as a CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator).

Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Earlier in 2020, the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators updated their name to Certification Board for Diabetes Care and Education, and the credential for diabetes educators is no longer CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator). The official credential is now CDCES, which stands for Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist.

What was the reason for the name change?

There was a survey conducted by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (formerly called the American Association of Diabetes Educators) asking patients, nurse practitioners, primary care doctors, endocrinologists, industry, and medical insurers, and people with diabetes to see if the words certified diabetes educator truly explained all that a diabetes educator does. The consensus was that it did not, and the name was changed to Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to help capture the work of diabetes educators.

What is a CDCES?

A CDCES is a specialist in diabetes who can individualize your diabetes management plan tailoring it to your lifestyle, beliefs, and culture. A CDCES will have a healthcare background (nurse, registered dietitian, pharmacist, social worker, or exercise physiologist), will have extensive experience related specifically to diabetes patients, and will have successfully completed the certification exam.

When should you make an appointment with a CDCES?

Typically, people will meet with a diabetes care and education specialist at the time of their diabetes diagnosis. A diagnosis can be overwhelming and a CDCES can help answer your questions and get you on a plan for good health outcomes. Scheduling an annual check-in with your diabetes care specialist can be another good time to make sure your health goals are on track. Diabetes management focuses a lot on lifestyle so if you have any new challenges like a change in medication (especially insulin), a new medical issue, or changes in your life stage (i.e., teenager to adult or menopause or retirement), you may want to meet with your diabetes care specialist to help brainstorm and problem solve your diabetes management during these changes.

If you need help in navigating your diabetes management at any time, please reach out to a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. They are happy to help you with your journey of good health. You can ask your doctor’s office for a referral or go online to the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialist site to find a CDCES in your area.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.