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About the CDA

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

The 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 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.

CDA's have knowledge of how to put the CDA Competency Standards into practice and understanding of why those standards help children move with success from one developmental stage to another. Put simply, CDA's know how to nurture the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children.

Earning the CDA Credential has many advantages, including exposure to the larger community of early childhood educators. Over 260,000 educators have received their CDA to date!
Becoming a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident practitioners with command of todays best practices for teaching young children.

Benefits of a CDA

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

For information about the process and requirements please visit the CDA Council website at

Download: faqaboutcda.docx
Download: faqaboutcda.pdf

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