Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential

What is the CDA?

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is the most widely recognized credential in early childhood education (ECE) and is a key stepping stone on the path of career advancement in Early Childhood Education.

The Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™ is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professionals as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. The CDA Council works to ensure that the nationally-transferable CDA is a credible and valid credential, recognized by the profession as a vital part of professional development.

How does the CDA work?

Earning your CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident child care professionals with command of today’s best practices for teaching young children. CDA requirements include:

  • Complete 120 hours early childhood courses (check out Child Care Aware Training Academy™ for an online option)
  • Completed Professional Resource File
  • Complete a Formal Observation performed by a CDA Advisor
  • Complete Parent Opinion Questionnaires
  • Complete a Verification Visit from a CDA Council Representative, which includes an Early Childhood Studies Review, multiple-choice examination, and an Oral Interview to evaluate your knowledge of early childhood care and education practices.

Who can obtain a CDA?

Any child care provider/early childhood educator who has 480 Hours of experience working with children within the past 5 years.  Candidate must be able to speak, read and write English well enough to fulfill the responsibilities of a CDA Candidate

Benefits of the CDA include:

  • Advance your career
  • Meet job requirements
  • Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education
  • Provide parents with peace of mind
  • Understand developmentally appropriate pract
  • Increase your confidence

Child Care Aware® of Kansas CDA programs

Military CDA program
Child Care Aware® of Kansas has partnered with the Military Academic Advancement Program (MAAP), an initiative of Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA), to assist Military spouses in earning a CDA Credential. The Department of Defense has joined together with the Department of Agriculture to provide quality distance education programs to service members, their spouses, children, and civilian professionals.  MAAP provides quality distance education programs to the military community and provide students with necessary resources to prepare for a career serving military families around the world.

For additional information about Greater Plains IDEA check out their website:

Child Care Aware® of Kansas has partnered with Department of Defense to assist Military spouses in earning a CDA Credential. Contact Tanya at

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