For those working in the diabetes field, the Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) credential has been a recognized title for over 30 years. But as healthcare evolves, so must credentials. As of January 2020, the CDE credential has transitioned to the Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) credential. Why did this change come about and what does it mean for diabetes professionals?

Historically, CDEs are healthcare professionals, typically nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists, who achieve this specialized credential by passing a national exam and completing diabetes-specific continuing education each year. Beyond diabetes education, CDEs provide clinical care in a variety of settings to support the mental, behavioral, and physical health of people with diabetes throughout the lifecycle and development of the disease.

In 2019, the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) announced their vision to improve awareness of the capabilities of CDEs. The concern was that a title of ‘diabetes educator’ did not fully express the scope of a CDE. After much research, including surveys that you may have received as a diabetes professional, they determined that changing the name of the credential was instrumental in achieving this vision. The incorporation of the words ‘care’ and ‘specialist’ in the new credential is intended to convey the clinical management skill set and level of expertise held by those with the credential.

In addition to changing the name of the credential, AADE and the national accreditation board changed their names as well. You may also be familiar with the Board Certified – Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM) credential through the ADCES. This credential is not affected by the renaming of the CDE. Here is a summary of the name changes:

Current Name Former Name

Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)

Certification Board in Diabetes Care and Education (CBDCE)

National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE)

Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists (ADCES)

American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE)

No Change: Board Certified – Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM)

Board Certified – Advanced Diabetes Management (BC-ADM)


If you are a CDE, your credential has transitioned to CDCES as of this year. You do not need to re-certify unless you are in your renewal window. When you renew, your updated certification documents will contain the new credential. While you can continue to use CDE until you re-certify, the CBDCE and ADCES encourage all CDEs to adopt the new credential now. Here are some steps you can take to support the transition:

  • Change your email signature, social media accounts, and presentation title pages
  • Update your business cards, promotional materials, and name plate
  • Inform your employer and encourage your colleagues to make the change
  • Use the following hashtags when posting on social media: #CDCES #BeyondEducation #SoMuchMore

Change is never easy but we can all support this evolution by embracing the CDCES credential and spreading the word within our organizations and to our patient populations. No matter the letters after our names, we are united in our goal of offering person-centered care to enhance the lives of people with diabetes. For more information about the name change, visit the CBDCE and ACDES websites: