It is expected that the number of people living with diabetes rise especially in low- and middle-income countries. In Iran, more than four million adults have diabetes mellitus, and self-management education is essential for effective diabetes self-care. This study aimed to investigate the effect of self-management education with telephone follow-up in diabetic patients of rural areas of Fars province in Lamerd city, Iran. In this experimental study, 64 participants were randomly assigned to intervention and control groups (32 patients for each group). In the intervention group, the participants attended four educational sessions, each lasting 90 minutes. The control group received the usual care. Outcome measures were clinical variables and the patients' scores in Diabetes Self-Management Questionnaire (DSMQ) in the preintervention and postintervention phases. Effects of the intervention were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U test and analysis of covariance. Data of 60 patients (30 in each group) were analyzed. There were significant differences between the two groups in fasting blood sugar after 3 months of intervention. There was a significant difference between the intervention and control groups in DSMQ sum scale after adjusting for baseline value. In subscales of DSMQ, there were significant differences between the intervention and control groups in glucose management, dietary control, and physical activity, whereas no significant difference was found in health care use between the intervention and control groups. Self-management education with telephone follow-up in diabetic patients in rural areas is effective, especially in improving fasting blood sugar level and increasing scores of patients based on DSMQ.