The Child Development Associate Credential

  • The CDA Credential is a National Credential, that is awarded by the CDA Council of Professional Recognition. It is the same regardless of which state that you live in. Our CDA training program meets the educational requirements to apply for a National Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).


    The tuition to enroll in the CDA training program is $399. The tuition for the payment plan is based on a per module fee. The CDA Training program includes the 120 hours of training required to apply for a CDA.

    You will be required to have 480 hours of work experience by the time that you are ready to submit the Application to the CDA Council of Professional Recognition. You may be achieving this work experience while completing the training. If you were to work 20 hours per week, it would take you 6 months to have 480 hours of work experience. You could expect that the process of completing the training, gaining the experience, and obtaining the CDA may take about one year. You cannot apply for the CDA Credential if you do not have the 480 hours of experience.

  • CDA Certificate online


    CDA 2.0 Credential Process


    1. Enroll in the CDA training Program - There are no text books to purchase. All training materials are online.

    2. Order your CDA Application packet from the CDA Council (the application packet is approximately $20 + shipping).

    3. Complete the 120 hours of CDA training

    4. Prepare the CDA Professional Portfolio.

       ***If you enroll in the Successful Professional Portfolio Program with SchoolChapters then you will build your CDA Professional Portfolio online and it will not be necessary to purchase any materials for the Professional Portfolio. Beginning June 2013 your CDA Professional Portfolio may be entirely electronic.

    5. Collect parent questionnaires from the families in your care (instructions and questionnaires are provided in the Direct Assessment Application packet).

    6. Mail the completed Direct Assessment Application to the CDA Council along with the application fee of $425. Make sure to mail it with delivery confirmation or tracking. The Council now accepts Direct Assessment Applications on a rolling basis.

    7. Verification Visit conducted by CDA Professional Development Specialist (chosen by Candidate).

         a. Review of Professional Portfolio

         b. Training transcripts and certificates

         c. Observation

        d. Reflective dialogue

    8. Candidate takes CDA Exam at a local PearsonVUE testing center

    9. Professional Development Specialist sends Verification Visit scores to the Council online

    10. PearsonVUE sends exam scores to the Council online

    11. Council awards or denies Credential

    12.  A CDA Credential is valid for three years from the award date. 


  • CDA Council