Individuals must document a minimum of 1000 hours of professional practice experience during the five-year certification cycle, in addition to either taking the Certification Examination or renewing by continuing education. The professional practice requirement for renewal of certification, however, is not the same as that required for initial certification. NCBDE recognizes that diabetes education is an evolving specialty and that experienced CDEs often assume roles other than the practice of diabetes self-management education required for initial certification.

Definition of Professional Practice

For purposes of recertification, practice means providing a direct or indirect professional contribution to the care and self-management education of people with diabetes.

What is Included in this Definition
This definition is intended to be as inclusive as possible of positions currently held by CDEs, including program development, program management, public health/community surveillance, volunteer activities, diabetes-related research, clinical roles in diabetes industry, case management, professional education, consultant roles to industry or other providers, or others.

What is NOT Included
Employment in the manufacture, direct sales, or distribution of diabetes-related products or services in pharmaceutical or other diabetes-related industries, or jobs or volunteer activities unrelated to diabetes will not meet the practice requirement.

The 1000 hours of professional practice experience requirement must:

  • Take place in the United States or its territories
  • Be completed during the appropriate five year certification cycle. For those renewing for the first time, the start date for accruing practice hours is the January 1 following the year of initial certification. For those who have previously renewed, the start date for accruing practice hours is the day after the deadline date of their last renewal by continuing education or the fall exam deadline date (e.g., for those renewing in 2019, those who renewed by continuing education on September 15, 2014, accrual starts September 16, 2014; for a CDE who renewed by exam on June 6 or November 27, 2014, the accrual date starts September 16, 2014). All hours must be obtained prior to the date of application for renewal.

There is no requirement about how or when this must be accomplished, e.g., to complete 200 hours per year each of the five years, or to be practicing at the time of application.

For Those Unable to Meet the Practice Requirement

For CDEs who wish to maintain certification status but do not or cannot meet the practice requirement, there is only one renewal option. That method requires both successful completion of the 75 clock hours of continuing education and passing the Certification Examination. During the five year period that certification is valid, if a CDE has practiced less than the required 1000 hours, has taken employment unrelated to diabetes care and education, is on leave from employment or has retired, but still wishes to maintain certification as a diabetes educator, the requirements to hold a current, active unrestricted license or registration for the same discipline held at the time of initial certification and to demonstrate knowledge of current standards and practices by documenting relevant continuing education activities (Continuing Education Details) and passing the examination (Certification Examination) are required (click here for the CE Packet to be submitted with 2019 Exam application). No exceptions are allowed.