Press Release

National Survey Reveals Profile of Diabetes Educators

For Release:August 7, 2009

Diana Pihos at 312.601.4864,

August 6, 2009—Atlanta—The average diabetes educator has a median salary of $64,900 per year, has a bachelor’s degree and is 51 years of age, according to the 2008 Salary Survey commissioned by the American Association of Diabetes Educators and released during the AADE’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta. This is the first survey of its kind for the diabetes education profession.

Diabetes education is a collaborative process through which people with or at risk for diabetes work with a skilled professional to gain the knowledge and skills needed to modify behavior and successfully self-manage the disease and its related conditions.

“Surveys like this help our members to proactively respond to changes in their profession and practice,” said Lana Vukovljak, MS, MA, chief executive officer of the AADE.  “ The data demonstrates the strong educational and experiential foundation that qualifies educators to meet evidence-based practice standards for excellence in diabetes care. On a basic level, these characteristics assist in understanding who diabetes educators are.”
 AADE analyzed survey responses from 5,823 respondents from both AADE member and non member lists. Data were collected from October 31 to November 24, 2008.
Professional profile
The survey found that 31 percent of the respondents were over age 51 and only 9 percent were under 35.  Very few diabetes educators are male—only 3 percent, according to the survey.

Approximately 88 percent of respondents hold the CDE® credential and the average respondent has 25 years of health care experience; 21 percent have more than 20 years and 15 percent have less than five years.

A majority of diabetes educators are nurses, with 40 percent describing themselves as registered nurses, seven percent indicating they were clinical nurse specialists and four percent nurse practitioners. A significant percentage—37 percent—said they were registered dietitians.

Employer Characteristics

Diabetes educators most frequently (43%) report they work in a university or hospital setting while 12 percent indicated an inpatient hospital setting. Eleven percent reported they work in a doctor’s office; eight percent work in a health system ambulatory clinic and six percent in a community-based setting.

About three-quarters of diabetes educators work in either urban (41%) or suburban (34%) settings while 22 percent are found in rural areas and 2 percent in tribal/Indian Health Service settings.

Position Characteristics

Ninety-five percent of respondents are responsible for and/or personally perform diabetes self-management education, 57 percent cite responsibility for health care professional education, and 50 percent name medical nutrition therapy. Also cited by more than a fourth are disease management, clinical (medical management), telephone care management, counseling services and case management. Only one in ten named research or home-care diabetes education as areas of responsibility.

Virtually all respondents (98%) report working directly with patients in diabetes education. The typical professional spends 73 percent of his/her work time in patient contact, and the median number of patients seen per week is 18, with nine percent seeing 40 or more and 18 percent seeing fewer than 10.

Thirty-two percent of respondents directly supervise other people, and 21 percent report budget responsibility. 


Seventy percent of those responding to the survey said they work full time and the median base pay was $31.20 per hour, with two percent earning $45.00 per hour or more and 15 percent earning less than $25.00 per hour.  The average base pay annualizes to $64,900 per year with seven percent reporting $100,000 per year or more and 11 percent earning under $50,000.  Including other cash compensation, the total median compensation is $65,520.

About the AADE:

Founded in 1973, AADE was created by and for diabetes educators. AADE is dedicated to providing our members with the tools, training and support necessary to help patients change their behavior and accomplish their diabetes self-management goals.

As a multidisciplinary professional association, AADE represents and supports the diabetes educator by providing members the resources to stay abreast of the current research, methods and trends in the field and by offering opportunities to network and collaborate with other healthcare professionals.

AADE is continuously working towards our vision of successful self-management for all people with diabetes and related conditions.