A program of Lutheran Social Services in western North Dakota and Lakes & Prairies Community Action Partnership in eastern 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.

Review the steps needed to earn your CDA Credential.


Review these resources to learn more