One of the most common questions that I am often asked is "how did you become a Certified Diabetes Educator" or "how did you get into diabetes". Well, my love for diabetes care and education was sparked when I worked as the Clinical Coordinator of an endocrinology clinic. In that role, I had the privilege of caring for persons with diabetes on a daily basis in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. Furthermore, I was supported by a team of diabetes educators and clinicians that mentored me and supported my goal of becoming certified in diabetes education. In my three years employed there, I was able to obtain the 1000 hours of patient education needed to sit for the CDE exam and I realize now just how fortunate I was to have that opportunity.
When I am approached by healthcare professionals looking for an opportunity like the one that I had, I am told of how difficult it is to find employment in clinics and programs that serve people with diabetes. Some professionals are even willing to volunteer, yet they are still unable to find a place where they can acquire the hours needed to sit for the exam. This is unfortunate. There are professionals willing to help, with a passion to help, but can't get a foot in the door. Diabetes is too big of a problem to have that kind of problem and there is enough room at the table for more partners, educators, and clinicians.
The case for more diabetes professionals!
Diabetes by the Numbers 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. 30. 3 Americans have diabetes. Of those, 23.1 million are diagnosed, and 7.2 million are undiagnosed. 84.1 million Americans age 18 and older have prediabetes. Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
Diabetes by Race/Ethnicity
Communities of color are most affected by diabetes.
15.1% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives
12.7% of non-Hispanic blacks
12.1% of Hispanics
8.0% of Asian Americans
7.4% of non-Hispanic whites.
Diabetes cost $327 billion dollars in direct cost. (Not to mention the indirect costs associated with diabetes management, both for the healthcare system and for the person with diabetes).
There are less than 20,000 Certified Diabetes Educators in the United States. (Did I mention there were 30 million people with diabetes and 80+ million with prediabetes? What a poor professionals to patient ratio).
Roughly 95% of diabetes educators are women. (We need more men).
70% of Certified Diabetes Educators are older than 45 years old. The greatest concentration (36%) of diabetes educators reported being 55 to 64 years old. (Retiring educators will need to be replaced).
6% of CDE’s are Hispanic/Latino
4.2% of CDE’s are Black/African American
2.2% American Indian or Alaska Native
(Did I mention that communities of color are most affected by diabetes? Sooo...you get the picture I'm painting, right?)
Diabetes is an epidemic of epic proportion. We need more educators. We need diverse educators (because representation matters, right), and we need better educated healthcare professionals.
Maybe you have considered a specialty in diabetes care and management but have lots of questions on the best avenue to pursue. If so, then I invite you to participate in a free series on various professions/certifications within the specialty of diabetes. The Diabetes Professions Series consists of 4 lessons. Each lesson will go over the following: the diabetes profession overview, the scope of practice involved in that profession, the certification eligibility and examination/certification details, and lastly the job outlook. The course will review 4 different types of diabetes specialties:
Lesson 1 -Certified Diabetes Educator
Lesson 2 - Certified Lifestyle Coach
Lesson 3 - Diabetes Paraprofessional
Lesson 4 - Community Health Worker
At the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A with me and my special guests that all work in diabetes in some capacity. During the virtual chat, you will have an opportunity to ask more specific questions about about our real world experiences in diabetes care and education. You will also learn about exciting volunteer opportunities to help you acquire those patient education hours.
You can find out more about the Diabetes Professions Series and how to register here