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How do I earn my CDA?

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education, and is the best first step on the path of career advancement in the field. The distinctive CDA Credential is the only nationally recognized, portable, reciprocal, competency-based credential of its kind in the country. In this article, we address how you can earn the CDA Credential™, outlining its requirements and the steps you must take to complete it.

What are the requirements?

To earn your CDA, you must complete the following:

  • 120 hours of Professional Education
  • 480 hours of Professional Experience
  • Professional Portfolio
  • Family Questionnaires
  • Identify your CDA Professional Development Specialist
  • Complete the CDA Exam
  • Complete the Verification Visit

How do I get my CDA?

The application process requires that you submit the following (either online to the Council for Professional Recognition or by mail):

  • Your CDA application or paper CDA application
  • The name of your CDA Professional Development Specialist
  • $425 Assessment Fee (Send to the Council the payment documentation if an agency is paying your fee). 
  • Application review and approval
  • You will receive a "Ready to Schedule Notice" by email. Once you receive this notice, you may proceed to schedule your CDA Exam with Pearson Vue and your Verification Visit with your PD Specialist. Both must be completed within 6 months.

As part of your application, you must demonstrate the following:

  • Verification Visit with a CDA Professional Development Specialist.
    • Review of documents prepared in the above step
    • Observation of Candidate in the classroom
    • Reflective dialogue
  • CDA Exam at a Pearson Vue test center

After completing all of the above steps, scores will be sent electronically to the Council and you will receive a credentialing decision within 10 business days.

ProSolutions Training offers continuing education for working professionals in the fields of early care and education and social services. We offer a CDA Course (120 hours) and a CDA Renewal Course (45 hours) to meet the needs of early care and education professionals seeking the CDA Credential.