Steps to Earning Your CDA
A person must hold a high school diploma or equivalent, or be a junior or senior in a high school vocational program in early education to complete the CDA process. A CCR&R Professional Development Coordinator can review your past training/experience and create a plan to help you meet the following requirements:
Complete 120 Hours of Approved Training
Training must be earned through an institution, agency or setting approved by the National Council. CDA Training Options. offer candidates a way to complete required training for college credit or non-credit clock hours. Approved training hours must be completed within five years prior to submitting CDA Direct Assessment Application.
Complete 480 Hours of Work Experience
A candidate must be working directly with children age bith to 5 years in a licensed, state-approved child care setting for hours to qualify as work experience. Work experience must occur within five years prior to submitting CDA Direct Assessment Application.
Formal Observation by CDA Advisor
Qualified CDA Advisor observes the candidate and completes national CDA assessment observation. Observation must be done within the six months prior to submitting CDA Direct Assessment Application.
Create a Professional Resource File
CDA candidates are required to put together a collection of reference materials related to their work, plus write an autobiography and statements of competence for each CDA Competency Area.
How to Compile a Professional Resource File.
Distribute and Collect Parent Opinion Questionnaires
These questionnaires offer parents an opportunity to give their opinion on your work with their children. Candidates must complete this step within six months prior to submitting CDA Direct Assessment Application.
Submit CDA Direct Assessment Application
A candidate can apply for national Direct Assessment once they have completed the prerequisites. A $325 application fee must be submitted with the application.
CDA Direct Assessment Checklist
Verification Visit by National Council Representative
At this visit, the CDA candidate takes a written and oral test and reviews their application materials with a representative of the National Council. This visit usually takes place within three months after the Direct Application Assessment Application has been submitted.
Tips for Surviving the CDA Assessment Visit
Review and Award of CDA Credential
The National Council reviews documentation and makes an award decision. An official CDA credential is mailed to candidates who meet all requirements. A recommendation is offered to those who need additional training.
Renewal ensures that associates are maintaining current knowledge and skills in their work with young children and families. A CDA credential is valid for three years after the initial award date, after which it may be renewed in five-year increments.