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CDA - Child Development Associate

What is a CDA? A person who is able to meet specific needs of children and who works to nurture children's social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth in a child development framework. A Child Development Associate has demonstrated competency to conduct a developmental program for children through a nationally recognized certification process.

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The Child Development Associate Credential:

  • Recognizes you as a professional.
  • Is a nationally recognized certification process for the early childhood field.
  • Verifies you've attended much more than the minimum required training.
  • Shows that you've had a variety of training and that your training has been well-rounded.
  • Gives you an advantage when seeking employment if you move to another area.
  • Means more than a folder full of training certificates. It means you have been assessed and have demonstrated your competency working with young children.
  • Is a good selling point to parents who ask about teacher qualifications.
  • Qualifies you for certain positions in many state licensing regulations.
  • Gives you a collection of resources you will use throughout your career.
  • Gives you the opportunity to meet other early childhood professionals and work together on a common goal.

To Get a CDA You Must:

  • Have completed 120 clock hours of child care education with at least 10 hours in each required area within the past 5 years.
  • Have 480 hours of experience working with children in a group setting.
  • Complete a Professional Resource File: A collection of materials that early childhood professionals use in their work. 17 specific items are required.
  • Distribute and collect the Parent Opinion Questionnaires. These are given to you in your CDA packet and allow for parents' input.
  • Have a formal observation conducted by a CDA Advisor while you are working as lead caregiver.
  • Successfully complete an interview and Skills Review to demonstrate your competencies.

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