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How long before I renew my CDA?

In a recent article, we discussed the process for earning the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™. We noted that the CDA 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 will discuss how long your certification lasts, as well as the renewal criteria. In our next piece, we will discuss the renewal process itself and how often you must renew your certification.

How long is a CDA valid?

A CDA Credential is valid for three years from the award date. Keep in mind that a CDA Credential may only be renewed for the original setting, age-level endorsement and specialization. The purpose of the CDA renewal is to ensure that Child Development Associates are maintaining current knowledge and skills in their work with young children and families.

You can now renew your CDA online with the Council for Professional Recognition's YourCDA tool.

What is the renewal criteria?

All CDA Renewal Candidates must meet the following five criteria:

  • Documented proof of a current Red Cross or other nationally recognized agency First Aid and Infant/Child (Pediatric) CPR certification. The certification must include (1) treatment for blocked airway and (2) provide rescue breathing for infants and young children. Note: Training is not accepted from independent consultants and/or online training.
  • Documented proof of one of the following types of training in early childhood education/child development, principles of adult learning, mental health counseling, etc.:
    • 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
    • A three-credit-hour course
    • Or 45 clock hours.
    • Note: These hours must be in addition to the original 120 clock hours required when the Candidate obtained the CDA Credential. Bilingual CDAs must meet this requirement with coursework incorporating bilingual education.
  • Documented proof of recent (within one year) prior to your renewal, you must have worked a minimum of 80 hours with young children or families. This must be documented in a letter from your supervisor. 
  • A completed Letter of Recommendation Form regarding the CDA's competence with young children prepared by an early childhood education (ECE) Reviewer. The ECE Reviewer must meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Documented proof current membership with a national or local early childhood professional organization. Your membership must be active/current at the time the Council receives your renewal information. This must be an individual membership, not an agency membership. For a list of National Early Childhood Organizations click here.

What is the renewal cost?

The cost for renewing your CDA Credentials will depend on whether you're submitting your application by mail or online. As of June 22, 2022, the Council charges $150 for processing paper renewal applications and $125 for an online renewal. Make sure to secure your funds before you apply for CDA Renewal, as payment is due in full at the time of application.

ProSolutions Training offers continuing education for working professionals in the fields of early care and education and social services. We offer a CDA training and CDA Renewal to meet the needs of early care and education professionals seeking the CDA Credential. Refer to our next article to learn more about the CDA Renewal process.