Certified Diabetes Educator Exam

For those seeking certification as a Diabetes Educator or CDE, this is the required exam you must pass. This exam demonstrates that you have mastered the knowledge and specialty practices of this field with professionalism and dedication. This is not an entry-level certification process but is a practice-based one, requiring professional experience as well as academic requirements.

Who is Eligible?

Applicants for the CDE exam must meet requirements in four areas:

Discipline requirement

Have a current, valid, and unrestricted license as a:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Registered nurse
  • Occupational therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical therapist
  • Physician
  • Podiatrist


A registration or certification as a dietician or dietician nutritionist, PA, exercise physiologist, or health educator


Be a healthcare professional with at least a master’s degree in social work

Professional Practice Experience

At least two years of experience in the discipline you are applying through and a minimum of 1000 hours of DE experience with 400 of those hours being in the last year

Continuing Education

A minimum of 15 clock hours of continuing education activities related to diabetes within the last two years

Application Fee Payment

There is an initial exam fee of $350.

When and Where is it Taken?

Applications can be submitted to the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators or NCBDE at any time. Once they are approved, exams may be scheduled year-round, Monday through Saturday by AMP/PSI. It is important to note that once your application has been approved, you will have a 90-day testing window that you must schedule and pass the exam in.

AMP/PSI has about 300 test centers located throughout the U.S. and several international sites. You will be given a full list of available dates, times, and locations during the registration process.

Be sure to register for the exam as early as possible to get your preferred time, date, and location as space may be limited and is filled on a first come, first served basis.

Special accommodations are available for those who may not be able to test under normal conditions. This request must be made at the time of application and will be reviewed appropriately.

You may reschedule your appointment for any reason up until two days before your scheduled exam. You may do this once during your testing window without additional fees. Changes made within those last two days will not be accepted and you will forfeit any fees paid.

What Should I Bring?

It is important that arrive at least 30 minutes early for your scheduled exam, as there is a check-in process to be completed before you can begin the exam. those who arrive late will not be allowed entrance and will have to reschedule and submit another exam fee.

You will need to bring two forms of identification for the above-mentioned check-in process. These must be valid and current and must contain your signature and your full name as it appears on your application/registration information. One of these IDs will need to contain a recent and recognizable photo as well.

No personal items such as cell phones, cameras, food, drinks, or outerwear are allowed in the testing area. A designated locker will be provided for your wallet and keys to be kept in a separate area during the exam. A battery operated, hand-held, nonprogrammable calculator is allowed, and pencils and scratch paper will be provided for you at the testing center.

What is Covered?

This is a computer-administered exam made up of 200 multiple choice questions. 25 of these questions are classified as unidentified pretest questions that will not be scored or counted in your total. Each question is directly linked to a specific task, testing whether or not you have the knowledge and abilities essential to completing the task or the application of such a situation.

The exam is broken into three major categories. Below you will find a brief outline and description of each, along with the number of questions found there.

Assessment of Diabetes and Prediabetes (60 questions)

Learning/self-care behaviors, medical/health/psychosocial and economic status, and current knowledge and self-management skills

Interventions for diabetes and prediabetes (89 questions)

Patient/family/caregiver/healthcare team collaboration, counsel/teaching principles of care, evaluate and revise care, documentation of care, and referrals and follow-ups

Disease Management (26 questions)

Education and program standards, diabetes advocacy, and clinical practices

You will be given a total of four hours to complete the entire exam. You will be allowed to skip questions and return to them later or bookmark them for review. There is no penalty for guessing so you are encouraged to answer every question.

How is it Scored?

Score reports will be given to you at the completion of the exam by the proctor. These include your raw score (number of correctly answered questions) and your scaled or total score. This ranges between 0 and 99. You must achieve a scaled score of at least 70 to be considered passing.

Your score report will also include your raw scores for each of the three major categories of the exam.

In the event that you do not pass, you can retake the exam as many times as necessary. A new application and fee will need to be submitted each time.

Those who pass will be sent your official certificate and wallet cards about three months from your passing exam date.

How Can I Prepare for the Certified Diabetes Educator Test?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 14, 2019