How did you become a CDE?

  1. Hello! I have come to a block in the road. I am very interested in becoming a CDE and I am having the hardest time achieving that goal. Can anyone please explain to me how they were able to become a CDE? I have been a RN on a med/surg floor for the past 2 years. I have been looking all over for jobs in diabetes clinics or anything endocrinology/CDE related. Everything I have found either wants a dietician, someone who already has their CDE or they are not hiring. Thank you in advance for any and all advice!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Mudwoman
    It is a long road. When I decided this was my goal, the first thing I did was join the AADE. You do not have to be a CDE or Diabetic Educator to join. Joining gives you the opportunity to take some online classes and there is study material for the CDE.

    You must have 1000 hours of teaching to sit for the CDE exam. 400 of those hours can be volunteer hours and in some cases, the NCBDE will allow up to 600 hours.

    You start doing everything you can to learn about what is expected of a CDE and running a Diabetes Education Program. That is why so many jobs require you to have your CDE is that they have a DSME program in place that will require you to know how to keep that program in place. There are standards that must be met in order for insurance companies and Medicare to pay.

    Then look for any type of job that will allow you to do some education. The nurses in Cardiac Rehab at my hospital cover for me on the weekends. They do not have a CDE. But they are getting hours. There is now a nurse from the Endocrinology Clinic that is working on her BSN that is doing some PRN and covering for me during the week. Talk to the Diabetes Educator personally at your local hospitals and clinics to see if there is a way that you could be PRN for them. I do PRN for the Diabetes Educator at the Outpatient Diabetes Education Clinic. But if I'm covering for her, I need coverage for me.

    You can also do some classes sponsored by your local pharmacy or a local church. Keep meticulous records of who attended and what you taught. Find out about your state's Diabetes Advisory Council through the Department of Health. I contacted the Governor of my state about my desire to become a CDE and make a difference. He got me a seat on the Council. That also opened some doors, so that when I did apply for a Diabetes Educator position, even though I did not have my CDE, I was able to show I had been a member of the AADE and knew what was required of an education program, and I was a member of the Diabetes Advisory Council.

    Took me 3 years to get a job in Diabetes Education. Another year to have the hours to sit for my CDE. So, you really have to want this and be willing to learn as much as possible and work at it.
  4. by   mmc51264
    I am looking at sitting for my CDE. I have been a floor nurse for 3 year. Any given week, I have a minimum of 2/3 days diabetic pts. Anytime I give insulin I am educating my pt. Over the course of three years, I have more than the required 1000 hours. I have spoken with the NCDBE and I AM qualified to sit. Your educating experience does not need to be exclusive to a diabetes setting.

    I am now looking into studying for the exam.

    If you have been working on a floor for 2 years, and have diabetic pts, you should be qualified to sit. I got my ortho certification. I needed 1000 hours and since I am on an ortho floor, the math works out to be 6 months (working 3-12s a week)
  5. by   HeatherannC
    I agree with the other respondents that the road to becoming a CDE is a long one and the American Assoociation of Diabetes Educators (AADE) is the best place to start.
    Being a med/surg nurse caring for patients with diabetes will meet the AADE guideline for discipline. However the 1000 hours of DSME is very specific. General nursing care for people with diabetes will not qualify you.
    Here are the qualification requirements that can be found on the AADE website.
    After meeting the Discipline requirement AND before applying for the Examination, both of the following professional requirements must be met in United States or its territories:
    a) Minimum of 2 years (to the day) of professional practice experience in the discipline under which the individual is applying for certification (examples: if an individual applies for certification as a registered nurse, 2 years of experience working/volunteering as a registered nurse is required; if an individual applies as a registered dietitian, 2 years of experience working/volunteering as a registered dietitian is required).
    AND
    b) Minimum of 1000 hours of DSME experience with a minimum of 40% of those hours (400 hours) accrued in the most recent year preceding application. In meeting the hourly requirement*, professional practice experience is defined as responsibilities, within the past 4 years (maximum window), that include the direct provision of DSME, as defined by NCBDE. (See definition of DSME).

    I think you best bet would be, connecting with a CDE and looking for diabetes education pecific job. (It would be very difficult to get you r 1,000 hours in the time limit working part-time or covering for a CDE). Many education centers, including my own in Ocala, FL are looking for educators. These centers are willing to train you and help you get your DSME teaching hours requirement. The expectation is usually that you will sit for your CDE exam within five years of taking the position. HTese educator centers are happy to act as your mentor and bring you into the rewarding world of diabetes education- and WE NEED YOU, if this is your area of interest!
    Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.
    Heatherann
  6. by   EGVnurse
    1. I documented all the diabetes education I gave while working on the floor.
    2. I applied to every diabetes nurse educator position open within 30 miles (or more).
    3. I worked REALLY hard on my cover letter so that I could squeeze through that narrow HR window. I got an interview for a CDE position at CHOP with only 1 year of RN experience, only because (I think) I wrote a bomb a** cover letter haha. Did not get the job, went all the way to Philly to interview! *tear*
    4. I applied to every diabetes nurse educator position open! Even if I was way under-qualified.
    5. I went to JDRF events in the area to try to network with people in the community. At one conference I met a CDE working in artificial pancreas research and kept in touch, and a year later she notified me of a job opportunity! Buttttt unfortunately I did not see the Linked In message until months later/I accepted another job!! Bummer. So lesson learned... check your Linked In account!!!!
    6. I went to diabetes support groups to shadow the leaders and continued to search All Nurses trolling for information and advice.

    Other advice would be what's already written here. And what I did only worked for me and may not work for other people. The only real thing you need is perseverance and a strong desire to work in this field. I am so happy with where the path has led me, but two years ago I was sobbing daily on my way home from work at my med-surg job and wondering when I'd ever get out.
  7. by   jenbrown1
    I am not trying to be rude, I am just uneducated.......can someone please tell me why the need to sit for the CDE exam? Are CDE's in demand? I have thought about doing this before, but it sounds like an incredible amount of work. I am not shying away from hard work, just don't understand why the CDE title or credential is important.....maybe in certain markets it is very important? Thank you and please don't be mean to me for asking....
  8. by   mmc51264
    Most endocrinology practices have them for newly diagnosed. We have board certified CDE that do clinical Ed. Teach the residents, help with difficult cases.
    If educating people about diabetes is what what you want to do, there needs to be a way to ensure you are, indeed, qualified to teach. Just like when people are looking for specialists, they usually look for a board certified surgeon. I know that I go out of my way to make sure I have board certified providers. I am an orthopedic nurse and I went the extra step to get certified so that my patients know that I have extra education about caring for them.
    I am not sure that you can get a job nowadays without the CDE, and probably need an MSN as well.
    What area are looking to work in where you educate about diabetes that you would not need the certification?
  9. by   jenbrown1
    Thanks mmc - There is a diabetes clinic at my local hospital that is recruiting for RNs. The job announcements mention nothing about being a CDE. There will be teaching, no doubt. Perhaps smaller or rural hospitals have a hard enough time recruiting/retaining RNs that they cannot require the CDE? Maybe they pay a type of "premium pay" if you do have the certification?
  10. by   bgreifinger
    Hi everyone! I am a semi retired nurse who stopped nursing about 3 yrs ago. I have since obtained a job with the American Red Cross as an instructor and was wondering if there was a way to segway back into nursing as a diabetes educator. It seems very difficult to do from what i'm reading here even when you're a full timer. I only want to do it part time. Is it possible now that i'm not working as a nurse? Thanks in advance.
  11. by   needlesmcgeeRN
    So, how did everyone document their hours of diabetic education with pts?
  12. by   RNinNYC
    I'm currently in the (very long) process of being a CDE. I would find an educator, and shadow them, pick up some pointers and document on the teaching you do with patients. We need a total of 1000 hours doing DSME (diabetes self management education) with up to 400 hours accrued within the most recent year preceding the application for CDE.

    In terms of documenting hours; I've been keeping a simple spreadsheet that states the date, amount of time spent and topics covered. Joining the AADE is also a good idea because it'll connect you with groups/meetings in your area with other professionals who are either CDE's or working towards being certified.
  13. by   OpthoGeek
    Lots of great advice. Thanks!

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