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AADE Survey Reveals Profile of Diabetes Educators

Aug 10, 2009

For the first survey of its kind for diabetes educators, they found that 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 released during the AADE’s Annual Meeting in Atlanta. 

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 nonmember lists. Data were collected from October 31 to November 24, 2008.
The survey found that 31% of the respondents were over age 51 and only 9% were under 35.  Very few diabetes educators are male — only 3%, according to the survey.
Approximately 88% of respondents hold the CDE® credential and the average respondent has 25 years of health care experience; 21% have more than 20 years and 15% have less than five years.
A majority of diabetes educators are nurses, with 40% describing themselves as registered nurses, 7% indicating they were clinical nurse specialists and 4% nurse practitioners. A significant percentage — 37% — said they were registered dietitians.
Diabetes educators most frequently (43%) report they work in a university or hospital setting while 12% indicated an inpatient hospital setting. Eleven percent reported they work in a doctor’s office; 8% work in a health system ambulatory clinic and 6% in a community-based setting.
About three-quarters of diabetes educators work in either urban (41%) or suburban (34%) settings while 22% are found in rural areas and 2% in tribal/Indian Health Service settings.
Ninety-five percent of respondents are responsible for and/or personally perform diabetes self-management education, 57% cite responsibility for health care professional education, and 50% 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% of his/her work time in patient contact, and the median number of patients seen per week is 18, with 9% seeing 40 or more and 18% seeing fewer than 10.
Thirty-two percent of respondents directly supervise other people, and 21% report budget responsibility. 
The survey also showed that, they work full time and the median base pay was $31.20 per hour, with 2% earning $45.00 per hour or more and 15% earning less than $25.00 per hour.  The average base pay annualizes to $64,900 per year with 7% reporting $100,000 per year or more and 11% earning under $50,000.  Including other cash compensation, the total median compensation is $65,520.

To obtain a copy of the full report, contact Diana Pihos, AADE director of communications, at 312.601.4864, or from August 5-8, at 312.550.5110.