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Child Development Associate (CDA) Credentialing Program

The Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition operates the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credentialing program. The CDA represents a national effort to credential qualified providers who work with children from birth through age five.

A Child Development Associate is an individual who has successfully completed the CDA assessment and has been awarded the Credential. By receiving the credential, the provider has demonstrated that s/he is able to meet the specific needs of children and works with parents to nurture the child’s emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development. Also, the individual must demonstrate their ability to meet the CDA Competency Goals. There are thirteen functional areas from which the goals were developed: Safety, Health, Learning Environment, Physical, Cognitive, Communication, Creative, Self, Social, Guidance, Families, Program Management, and Professionalism.

In order to receive the CDA, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past 5 years
  • Have 120 clock hours of formal education/training within the past five years, with no fewer than 10 hours in each of the content areas
  • Complete a portfolio and resource file

To begin the process of receiving your CDA, contact the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition at (800) 424-4310 or or online at The cost for the assessment fee is $425.

For information on CDA scholarships through T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, contact Michelle Spencer, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Coordinator at 302-764-1501 or

National Organization: Council for Professional Recognition