What is a CDA?

The Child Development Associate® (CDA) is the most nationally recognized credential for early childhood educators working with children ages birth to five years old. It is awarded after completing educational coursework, a portfolio, exam, and verification visit. CDA certification programs arm educators with the knowledge and skills needed to create a positive and nurturing environment for children.

What types of courses are included in a CDA certification program?

Candidates must complete 120 hours of qualified training, including at least 10 hours in each of the eight subject areas:

  • Planning a safe and healthy learning environment
  • Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
  • Supporting children’s social and emotional development
  • Building productive relationships with families
  • Managing an effective program operation
  • Managing a commitment to professionalism 
  • Observing and recording children’s behavior
  • Understanding principles of child development and learning

What is the CDA exam?

In order to be credentialed, each candidate must complete the CDA exam. The exam consists of 65 multiple choice questions encompassing various aspects of early childhood education, child development, and effective teaching strategies. Candidates have up to one hour and 45 minutes to complete. This timeframe is designed to evaluate an individual’s ability to manage their time effectively in responding to the questions. 

How can I begin training for the CDA credential?

Training must be completed through an organization with expertise in early childhood education and teacher preparation. The organization must provide official documentation upon training completion.

Obtaining a CDA credential is a significant commitment, but one that creates confident and well-rounded educators. Because of this, we invest in our teaching staff and encourage them to participate in our CDA credential program. This fosters a culture of continuous professional development and ensures our educators are equipped with the skills needed to excel in their roles.

If you’re an educator at our school, contact your school leader to learn more about our CDA credential program. Interested in a position at our school? Explore our careers portal today.