Child Care Aware® of North Dakota is a program
of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

A CDA Credential is a nationally recognized early childhood professional credential awarded by the National Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition. A person who has earned the CDA Credential is referred to as a CDA. A person who is working toward the CDA Credential is referred to as a candidate.

To earn the CDA credential, a person must successfully complete the national credentialing process. The CDA Credentialing Process determines a candidate’s demonstrated ability to meet the specific needs of young children and their families, and to work with other adults in a professional capacity.

Typically, the CDA Credential is earned in one of three areas: Infant/Toddler, Preschool, or Family Child Care. Though less common, a credential may also be earned in Home Visiting. The CDA Credential covers the age groups of 0-5 years. CDA does not address schoolage development.

Advantages of Earning Your CDA

Pursuing a CDA credential helps you grow your skills and knowledge. It also demonstrates to parents, your employer and others that you are a well-prepared, early childhood professional.

A CDA Credential is portable state to state and is a recognized hiring qualification for many early childhood positions. Earning a CDA can help you build your skills for the job you have now and also help you advance your early childhood career. For example, in North Dakota, a person with a CDA credential is qualified to be a supervisor in a licensed group child care or child care center. A CDA with at least one year of experience is qualified to be a child care center director.

Interested in a CDA Scholarship?

CDA scholarships for new and renewing applicants are available as funding permits. Complete an interest form if you would like to be notified when CDA scholarship opportunities become available.


Review these resources to learn more