It is not an easy field to get into, but it will happen if you work at it. When I decided this was what I really wanted to do in 2011, the first thing I did was join AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators). You do not have to be an educator or CDE to join. Next thing I did was contact my state representatives and the governor of my state and just let them know that we have all these health initiatives for reducing diabetes in our state, but for those of us that want to be a part of that; well, it is almost impossible. It is hard to get a job as a diabetes educator if you aren't already, and you can't become an educator without all the hours as an educator. From those contacts, I was invited to be on the Diabetes Advisory Council in my state. Then, I started looking for ANY job that was for a diabetes educator whether it was PRN or part time. After a year and a half, I got a part time job in the hospital I work at as a diabetes educator and from there was able to get all my hours to sit for my CDE. If you have a diabetes educator in your hospital or one of the clinics in your area, talk with the person that does the hiring. It is hard to find someone to cover for these people if they have to be out on vacation or sick leave. You might just be the person to get trained to cover PRN. That would also give you a foot in the door.
When I applied for the part time position, there were 9 other people that applied. What got me the job is that I was almost done with my BSN, I was already a member of AADE and had been taking their free online seminars, and I was on the Diabetes Advisory Council. I stood out as serious.
This position is still part time and it is a real sacrifice financially!!!! I had been full time and I'm the sole support of my family. However, I am now putting together my own online business from this that will supplement my income and allow me independence that would not have happened otherwise.
There are about 12,100 CDE's in the US. There are currently just under 600 outpatient diabetes education clinics in the US. Be sure to add yourself to Linkedin. I have received 3 job offers in the last year from Linkedin. I was just not willing to relocate. All of the positions were at hospitals. One was in Oklahoma, one in New Mexico, and one in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. There are also jobs with insurance companies as "health coach" that will allow you to work as long as you can get your CDE within a year. You just have to be actively looking all the time.
Hope this helps you.