The Child Development Associate (CDA) credential is recognized in the field of early childhood education. Professionals can use this credential as a stepping stone to advance their career.
The CDA credential is based on a set of competency standards determined by the Council for Professional Recognition. These guide education professionals striving to become qualified. If you are an early childcare professional, getting a CDA is a great step to moving your career forward.
Getting your credential means you have vital knowledge to put the competency standards into practice. You comprehend how it can help move children from one development stage to the next. As a CDA, you will know how to nurture children emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially.
Earning the CDA credential can benefit you in more ways than one. And if you want to become a CDA, below are the steps you need to take.
Those who wish to apply for a CDA credential must:
- earn a high school diploma, GED
- or be a high school student enrolled in early childhood education program
- or complete the required 120 hours of professional early childhood training which should include at least 10 hours of training in each of the following CDA subject areas:
- Planning a safe and healthy environment
- Supporting children’s social and emotional development
- Managing an effective program operation
- Observing and recording children’s behavior
- Advancing children’s physical and intellectual development
- Building productive relationships with families
- Maintaining a commitment to professionalism
- Understanding the principles of child development and learning
Up to 3 years before applying, you must get a total of 480 hours of professional experience working with children. This work experience must be with the age group that matches what you wrote in your application.
Within six months of your application submission, you must prepare your CDA professional portfolio. This should include a collection of reference materials and documents related to your work. The professional portfolio includes family questionnaires, education documentation, 10 resources, 6 reflective statements of competence and a professional philosophy statement.
The application for the CDA credential can be done online, or you can furnish a paper application provided in the CDA Competency Standards Book. The online application costs $425 while the paper application costs $500. The council will review your application and once accepted, they will send you a “Ready to Schedule” notification.
As soon as you get your “Ready to Schedule” notification , you can schedule your CDA Verification Visit as well as your CDA exam. You will have to find a Professional Development Specialist using the Council’s directory. This CDA Professional Development Specialist will be doing your Verification Visit. The PD specialist will visit you at your workplace and take the following steps:
- Review of your professional portfolio
- Observe how you work with children
- Reflect and discuss your strengths and opportunities
The final step would be the CDA exam which includes 65 multiple choice questions, 5 of which are scenario questions that require narrative answers. You are given an hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam.
A council committee will be tasked to review the results of your Verification Visit and CDA exam and render a decision on awarding you the CDA credential.
Because the CDA Exam is a crucial part of the CDA credential process, National CDA Training is here to help you be better prepared. At NCDAT, we use scenario-based training. The scenario-based approach will train your mind to react to each given classroom situation. You will get adequate mental practice so that you’ll know how to respond to situations that may arise in a classroom. Aside from being effective, our training is fun and unique!
It’s about time to advance your career! Take our CDA courses and apply for your preschool CDA credential now!