Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

The CDA is a national credential that is awarded by the Council on Professional Recognition.  It is based on achieving 13 functional competencies. The application components are:

  • 120 hours of documented training hours covering 8 subject areas (10 hours at least in each area).  These can be for college credit or not.
  • A resource file with specific documents included
  • Completed parent questionnaires about your work with their children
  • A portfolio with your autobiography and examples of your knowledge and skills in the competency areas
  • Complete an online test at a Pearson Learning Center
  • Recorded observation by an approved Professional Development Specialist (PDS), of your work with young children
  • A completed application, payment of the application fee and interview with the Council representative (PDS)

The initial credential is for 3 years and it can be renewed every 5 years after that.

Credential holders receive a Certificate and may apply for an early childhood Level II certificate.

In June 2013 the Council changed the Credential process to CDA 2.0 .  This streamlined the process, increased the rigor to obtain the Credential, and changed the role of the CDA advisor who assesses the candidate.  Here are links to documents about the changes in the CDA

Learn more about the CDA process

  • This page  has more detail and answers many of your questions about CDA

Once you get your CDA  –

  1. Apply for a Level II Career Ladder Certificate– look in the side bar for applications
  2. At the first renewal of your CDA (if you already have a Career Ladder Level II Certificate) apply to CDD for a recognition bonus  for renewing your CDA  (scroll to the bottom of the recognition bonus page)
  3. Learn how to use your CDA to earn college credit