The Child Development Associate Credential
The CDA Credential is a National Credential, that is awarded by the CDA Council of Professional Recognition. It is the same regardless of which state that you live in. Our CDA training program meets the educational requirements to apply for a National Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).
The tuition to enroll in the CDA training program is $399. The tuition for the payment plan is based on a per module fee. The CDA Training program includes the 120 hours of training required to apply for a CDA.
You will be required to have 480 hours of work experience by the time that you are ready to submit the Direct Assessment Application to the CDA Council of Professional Recognition. You may be achieving this work experience while completing the training. If you were to work 20 hours per week, it would take you 6 months to have 480 hours of work experience. You could expect that the process of completing the training, gaining the experience, and obtaining the CDA may take about one year. You cannot apply for the CDA Credential if you do not have the 480 hours of experience.
CDA 2.0 Credential Process
These instructions are intended to give you an outline the CDA Process.
- Enroll in the CDA training Program - There are no text books to purchase. All training materials are online.
- Order your CDA Application packet from the CDA Council (the application packet is approximately $20 + shipping).
- Prepare the CDA Professional Portfolio. If you enroll in the Successful Professional Portfolio Program with SchoolChapters then you will build your CDA Professional Portfolio online and it will not be necessary to purchase any materials for the Professional Portfolio. Beginning June 2013 your CDA Professional Portfolio may be entirely electronic. It will no longer be necessary to print anything.
- Collect parent questionnaires from the families in your care (instructions and questionnaires are provided in the Direct Assessment Application packet).
- Mail the completed Direct Assessment Application to the CDA Council along with the application fee of $425. Make sure to mail it with delivery confirmation or tracking. The Council now accepts Direct Assessment Applications on a rolling basis.
- Verification Visit conducted by CDA Professional
Development Specialist (chosen by Candidate).
> Review of Professional Portfolio
> Training transcripts and certificates
> Reflective dialogue
- Candidate takes CDA Exam at a local PearsonVUE testing center
- Professional Development Specialist sends Verification Visit scores to the Council online
- PearsonVUE sends exam scores to the Council online
- Council awards or denies Credential
A CDA Credential is valid for three years from the award date. For details about the renewal process, see the CDA Renewal.
Payment Plan: Tuition is based on a per module fee – No due dates
Exploring the CDA
- The CDA as Part of Higher Education
- ECE Resource Library and Article Archive
- CDA Scholarships
- The Council Book Store: Application Packets
- College Credit for the CDA in Washington State
"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read."
~ Marilyn Jager Adams