Diabetes Health Counselor Job Description and Education Requirements
Diabetes health counselors are trained to provide education and advice on the management or prevention of diabetes. Many diabetes health counselors are also trained in another healthcare profession, such as dietetics. Diabetes health counselors have the option of becoming certified. These professionals can be found working in hospitals, clinics, and medical centers.
Diabetes health counselors may also work as registered nurses, physicians, registered dietitians, or health educators. These specialized experts provide individuals and groups with information to help prevent or regulate diabetes. Because diabetic patients have very specific nutritional needs, diabetes health counselors inform diabetics on optimal food intake, as well as physical exercise, insulin management, and advising on behavior changes. Diabetes health counselors can become Certified Diabetes Educators (CDE). The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) oversees professional certification of diabetes health counselors.
Education requirements for becoming a CDE vary, depending on an individual's existing healthcare training and profession. A minimum of a bachelor's degree is required for registered dietitians and registered nurses. Health educators must hold a master's degree, and physicians must complete the education and training required for becoming a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). The NCBDE lays out all the specific education and training requirements for the various healthcare providers wanting to become a CDE.
Becoming a diabetes health counselor requires completing continuing professional education (CME) courses in diabetes self-management training. Additionally, many healthcare professionals, such as dietitians, might also be able to acquire training and experience through a required internship within a degree program. Choosing a healthcare center or organization that caters to those with diabetes might be one option for gaining hands-on diabetes counselor training.
Certified Diabetes Educators do not need a license to practice, although most healthcare professions, such as physicians, nurses, and dietitians, are required to be state licensed. State requirements for licensure vary for those professions.
Salary Info and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of health educators from 2010 to 2020 is projected to increase by about 37%. Salary.com reported in December 2013 that the median annual salary earned by diabetes educators was $68,564. PayScale.com indicated that most certified diabetes educators earn between $46,036 and $82,646 a year.
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