What is the CDA?
The CDA is a national credential for individuals working with children ages birth to five. The program is sponsored by The Council for Professional Recognition, headquartered in Washington, D.C. It is designed to provide performance-based training, assessment and credentialing of caregivers who demonstrate their ability to nurture children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth in a child development framework.
Who is eligible?
While Candidates seeking to apply for CDA assessment are able to begin their CDA training at least one year before, at the time they apply they must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Hold a high school diploma or GED
- Have 480 hours of experience working with children within the past three years
- Have 120 clock hours of formal child care education
- Identify a licensed child care program to be observed in working as the lead caregiver
- Be able to speak, read, write and understand English, or the language you will be pursuing your credential in, well enough to complete all aspects of the process
Why would someone want to obtain a CDA?
The CDA is a self-paced, on-the-job credential for working individuals. It is nationally recognized and will therefore move with the Candidate from job to job and state to state. It may be required or encouraged by a program or employer, or required to meet state licensing and/or accreditation standards for directors and/or staff members. It helps to improve both knowledge base and practical classroom skills. It is relatively inexpensive as compared to higher education and there are scholarships and incentives available to help defray the cost. It could lead to a raise, promotion, or better employment in the field.
What is the CDA Consultant’s role?
The CDA Consultant guides each participant through the process of achieving their CDA in various ways including: helping to assess and track training hours, facilitating a practice observation of the participant in a licensed childcare program acting as a lead caregiver, providing constructive feedback, offering support for completing the Professional Portfolio, and remaining available to each participant to answer questions, address concerns, and meet their needs.