Child Development Associate (CDA)

This is your path to a career in childcare. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than 6 months. No degree or experience required.

Just $9.99 per course or $199.99 for all 60 courses.

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CDA Gold Standard Comprehensive.

CDA Gold Standard Comprehensive Program

The Comprehensive CDA Gold Standard℠ was awarded to CypherWorx following a quality review of our CDA coursework by the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA Gold Standard℠ is awarded to organizations offering exceptional CDA coursework in preparation for the CDA exam and a career as early childhood educators.

About the CDA

The Child Development Associate Credential™ is a national credential in early childhood education that is based on a core set of six Competency Standards and thirteen Functional Areas. The purpose of the CDA Credential is to meet the developmental needs of young children, ages birth to five years old. It was created to enhance the quality of early care and education by defining, evaluating, and recognizing competence, based on the training and performance of the child care professional.

The CDA candidate will need to complete 120 CDA professional development hours of formal early childhood education at any time before applying in each of the following CDA subject areas:

  • Subject Area 1: Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Subject Area 2: Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Subject Area 3: Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Subject Area 4: Building productive relationships with families
  • Subject Area 5: Managing an effective program operation
  • Subject Area 6: Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
  • Subject Area 7: Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Subject Area 8: Understanding principles of child development and learning
Toddler

Pathways

The CDA Credential is a professional path to help prepare early educators to work with young children and their families. CDA candidates will need to identify a chosen CDA setting when applying.

An infant

Center-Based Infant-Toddler
Work with children birth to 36 months

Preschooler

Center-Based Preschool
Work with children ages 3 to 5 years old

Family Child Care

Family Child Care
Work with children ages birth to 5 years

120

Hours of training

60

Courses

6.0

CEUs Awarded

Courses in this credential

A Critical Look at Family Child Care Spaces
CDA 1

A Critical Look at Family Child Care Spaces

2 hours

ADHD
CDA 8

ADHD

2 hours

Advocating for Early Childhood Care
CDA 6

Advocating for Early Childhood Care

2 hours

Art and Sensory Experiences that Foster Creativity
CDA 5

Art and Sensory Experiences that Foster Creativity

2 hours

Assessing and Implementing a Safe Child Care Environment
CDA 1
CDA 5

Assessing and Implementing a Safe Child Care Environment

2 hours

Benefits of Connecting Seniors and Young Children
CDA 3

Benefits of Connecting Seniors and Young Children

2 hours

Brain Development in Infants and Toddlers
CDA 8

Brain Development in Infants and Toddlers

2 hours

Building Foundations for Language and Literacy Development
CDA 8

Building Foundations for Language and Literacy Development

2 hours

Child Care in Mixed-Age Groupings
CDA 1
CDA 5

Child Care in Mixed-Age Groupings

2 hours

Children's Temperament: A Practical Approach to Meeting Individual Needs
CDA 3

Children's Temperament: A Practical Approach to Meeting Individual Needs

2 hours

Coping with Crying
CDA 1
CDA 3

Coping with Crying

2 hours

Coping with Food Allergices in Child Care Spaces
CDA 1

Coping with Food Allergies in Child Care Spaces

2 hours

Creating a Supportive Classroom Community
CDA 3

Creating a Supportive Classroom Community

2 hours

Cultural Competency for Children and Families
CDA 4

Cultural Competency for Children and Families

2 hours

Daily Schedule Development with Child-Centered Activities
CDA 5

Daily Schedule Development with Child-Centered Activities

2 hours

Developing Children’s Emergent Literacy Skills
CDA 2

Developing Children’s Emergent Literacy Skills

2 hours

Developing High Quality Inclusion Practices
CDA 8

Developing High Quality Inclusion Practices

2 hours

Developing Important and Successful Communications Skills
CDA 3

Developing Important and Successful Communications Skills

2 hours

Developing Methods of Observation
CDA 7

Developing Methods of Observation

2 hours

Developing Your Professional Philosophy Statement
CDA 6

Developing Your Professional Philosophy Statement

2 hours

Enhancing Emotional Literacy in Children Ages 3 Through 5
CDA 3

Enhancing Emotional Literacy in Children Ages 3 Through 5

2 hours

Enhancing Emotional Literacy in Children from Birth to Age 3
CDA 3

Enhancing Emotional Literacy in Children from Birth to Age 3

2 hours

Family-Teacher Relationships
CDA 4

Family-Teacher Relationships

2 hours

Food Safety Practices
CDA 1

Food Safety Practices

2 hours

Foundation for School Success
CDA 6

Foundation for School Success

2 hours

Fundamental Tools to Monitor Child Development
CDA 7

Fundamental Tools to Monitor Child Development

2 hours

Growth and Development of Infants and Toddlers
CDA 1

Growth and Development of Infants and Toddlers

2 hours

Growth and Development of Preschoolers in Family Child Care
CDA 1

Growth and Development of Preschoolers in Family Child Care

2 hours

Hands-On Math Learning Activities
CDA 2

Hands-On Math Learning Activities

2 hours

Identifying Essential Components of Child Care Supervision
CDA 1
CDA 5

Identifying Essential Components of Child Care Supervision

2 hours

Incorporating Physical Activity Into Every Day
CDA 2

Incorporating Physical Activity Into Every Day

2 hours

Individualized Care and Routines
CDA 4
CDA 5

Individualized Care and Routines

2 hours

Management of Effective Preschool Child Care Environments
CDA 1

Management of Effective Preschool Child Care Environments

2 hours

Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA)
CDA 2

Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA)

2 hours

Multi-Age Learning and Interaction
CDA 1
CDA 5

Multi-Age Learning and Interaction

2 hours

Observation and Assessment of the Learning Environment
CDA 7

Observation and Assessment of the Learning Environment

2 hours

Planning and Implementing Everyday Physical Activities
CDA 2

Planning and Implementing Everyday Physical Activities

2 hours

Planning for and Implementing Transitions
CDA 5

Planning for and Implementing Transitions

2 hours

Positive Guidance Toward Problem-Solving
CDA 3

Positive Guidance Toward Problem-Solving

2 hours

Prompting Executive Function Skills
CDA 2

Prompting Executive Function Skills

2 hours

Reduce the Spread of Germs in Child Care Programs
CDA 1

Reduce the Spread of Germs in Child Care Programs

2 hours

Respecting the Child's Perspective
CDA 3
CDA 4

Respecting the Child's Perspective

2 hours

Selecting and Implementing Curriculum to Support Learning
CDA 5
CDA 7

Selecting and Implementing Curriculum to Support Learning

2 hours

Serving Nutritious Meals and Snacks Using CACFP Meal Patterns
CDA 1

Serving Nutritious Meals and Snacks Using CACFP Meal Patterns

2 hours

SIDS and Safe Sleep
CDA 1

SIDS and Safe Sleep

2 hours

Sleep is Essential to Good Health
CDA 1

Sleep is Essential to Good Health

2 hours

Social Emotional Development – Problem Solving
CDA 3
CDA 8

Social Emotional Development – Problem Solving

2 hours

Strategies for Dealing with Anger
CDA 3

Strategies for Dealing with Anger

2 hours

Strengthening Relationships for Families with the Community
CDA 4

Strengthening Relationships for Families with the Community

2 hours

Successfully Implementing STEAM into the Curriculum
CDA 2

Successfully Implementing STEAM into the Curriculum

2 hours

Supporting Children and Families Through Transitions
CDA 5

Supporting Children and Families Through Transitions

2 hours

Take it Outside!: The Importance of Outdoor Play
CDA 2

Take it Outside!: The Importance of Outdoor Play

2 hours

The Importance of Sensory-Rich Play
CDA 2

The Importance of Sensory-Rich Play

2 hours

The Importance of Stimulating and Focused Interaction
CDA 8

The Importance of Stimulating and Focused Interaction

2 hours

The Purpose for Ethical Commitment
CDA 6

The Purpose for Ethical Commitment

2 hours

The Relevance of the Child-Caregiver Attachment
CDA 7

The Relevance of the Child-Caregiver Attachment

2 hours

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
CDA 3

Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

2 hours

Understanding Learning Theories
CDA 8

Understanding Learning Theories

2 hours

Understanding Poverty and Practical Strategies
CDA 3
CDA 4

Understanding Poverty and Practical Strategies

2 hours

Understanding the CDA Credential and Process
CDA 6

Understanding the CDA Credential and Process

2 hours

Frequently Asked Questions

You must purchase the Competency Standards Book for the age group you are applying for. Click here to go to the Council for Professional Recognition’s Council Store.

You also have the option to purchase the CDA textbook Essentials for Working with Young Children. Click here to do so.

Before you apply for your CDA credential, you must complete one of the following:

  • Earn a high school diploma.
  • Earn a high school equivalency diploma.
  • Be enrolled as a junior or senior in a high school career and technical program in early childhood education.

You must also complete 120 hours of formal early childhood education training.This includes at least 10 training hours in each of the eight CDA subject areas. You can view the eight CDA subject areas above.

Within six months of submitting your application, you must:

  • Prepare your CDA Professional Portfolio
    • You are required to put together materials related to your work.
    • Follow the instructions in your Competency Standards book to prepare your CDA Professional Portfolio.
  • Find a CDA Professional Development (PD) Specialist
    • To learn more about CDA PD Specialist’s role in the CDA credentialing process, click here. You will need to create an account with CDA Council.

Within three years of submitting your application, you must obtain 480 hours of professional work experience in a group setting with children the age of the children for which CDA credential you are applying for.

or

  • Complete a paper application; it can be found in your Competency Standard Book for the age group you are applying for.
  • The non-refundable / non-transferable application fee of $500 must be submitted with your application. Learn about CDA scholarships in your state.
  • Once your CDA application has been reviewed and accepted, you will receive a Ready to Schedule notification from the Council.

Once you receive your Ready to Schedule notification from the Council, you are ready to schedule your CDA Verification Visit and CDA Exam.

Scores are electronically submitted to the Council by the CDA PD Specialist and Pearson Vue testing center.

A Council committee will review your assessment results and make a decision on whether or not to award you the CDA credential.

  • If your credential is awarded, the official Child Development Associate Credential will be mailed to you.
  • If the committee decides you need more training, the Council will let you know the next steps to take to earn the credential.

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