PURPOSE: This paper describes a telephone-based, outcomes-focused approach to diabetes education provided by certified diabetes educators (CDEs). METHODS: Random chart audits were conducted to evaluate the scope of practice and effectiveness of telephone-based interventions provided by CDEs to people with diabetes. Four case studies and a sample prevention case are used to illustrate the role of telephone-based CDEs in providing diabetes education. RESULTS: Counseling provided by CDEs helped to identify potential barriers and strategies for making lifestyle behavioral changes. CONCLUSIONS: Telephone-based counseling is a brief, effective, ongoing intervention that gives patients with diabetes immediate access to CDEs who provide education to support lifestyle behavioral changes.