Pharmacists Can Make a Difference as Certified Diabetes Educators

APRIL 19, 2018
Jeannette Y. Wick, RPh, MBA, FASCP
Are You a Certified Diabetes Educator? Do You Want to Be?

Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) can make a tremendous difference in the lives of people who have diabetes. Many pharmacists are unaware that pharmacists comprise a significant proportion of CDEs, with their numbers exceeded only by nurses and dietitians. Increasingly, pharmacists are seeking certification in this field to differentiate themselves from other pharmacists, develop niche level expertise, and provide better care to patients who have diabetes.

In a recent article, the journal Diabetes Educator salutes pharmacists who perform in this role. In it, a team from Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana examines the current state of pharmacist CDE practice. These researchers collected crosssectional, nationwide data by sending an electronic survey to all 1275 CDE pharmacists in the United States. Their goal was to determine where these pharmacists practice, and what their practices as CDEs entail.

Of great interest to these researchers was pharmacists’ perceptions of the CDE credential's benefits and barriers. With 462 survey responses—a 36.2% response rate—the researchers were able to analyze a number of factors. Pharmacists (n=311) who carry this credential were most likely to work in a hospital or health system. Next, academia was a common practice setting (n=100), followed by managed care (n=44) and other sites. Of 460 pharmacists who answered a question about their plans to recredential as CDEs, a full 440 indicated that they would. Only 20 said that they would not seek recredentialing, with 8 of the 20 planning to retire before their credential expired. This indicates tremendous satisfaction.

The researchers note that pharmacists who had mentors or practiced in residencies had the best opportunities to obtain the clinical practice hours needed to sit for the CDE exam. They suggest that pharmacists who are seeking the CDE credential consider this as they contemplate this credential's requirements.

Interested individuals can find information on the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators website. 


Gonzalvo JD, Lantaff WM. CDE Pharmacists in the United States. Diabetes Educ. 2018 Mar 1:145721718767403. doi: 10.1177/0145721718767403.