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Degrees & Credential Programs

Early Childhood executive leadership institute

Opportunity for leaders of programs serving children birth through age 8 to learn together as part of a powerful professional development experience: NISL's Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute bridges the gaps between early learning programs and K-12 schools.

The Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institutes (ECELI) bring together early education and K-3 leaders in a cooperative, professional learning community. This partnership encourages an understanding of the early care and education and school-based educational systems which children and families navigate. It also builds relationships among the leaders to create coordinated, aligned, and coherent learning experiences for students and their families. Dates and locations of ECELI are varied throughout Pennsylvania.

Early education program directors and administrators are in a unique position in their communities. These individuals have the opportunity to acquire deeper knowledge and greater leadership skills to successfully identify and navigate the challenges and opportunities in creating Prenatal to Grade 3 (P3) alignment. The Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institutes are ideal for those leaders who want to take a deeper dive into collaborative learning and relationship building around early learning and P3 alignment. PQAS and Act 45 hours are offered.  

This initiative is part of Pennsylvania's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant. For more information on other initiatives funded by this grant, visit the PA Department of Education website


Director Credential

Director Credential Applications

Director Credential Documents 

Institutions of Higher Education wanting more information on applying for approval of your Director Credential program of study, view the Higher Education page.

For more information, please contact:


School-Age Credential

More detailed information about the School-Age Professional Credential can be found in the School-Age section.


Child Development Associate (CDA)

Visit the Council for Professional Recognition’s Web site for more information.

Child Development Associate (CDA) Renewal

Renewal criteria

All CDA Renewal Candidates must meet the following five criteria:

  1. Documented proof of a current Red Cross or other nationally recognized agency First Aid and Infant/Child (Pediatric) CPR certification - the certification must include (1) treatment for blocked airway and (2) provide rescue breathing for infants and young children. Note: Training is not accepted from independent consultants and/or online training.
  2. Documented proof of one of the following types of training in early childhood education/child development, principles of adult learning, mental health counseling, etc.:

    - 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) 
    - a three-credit-hour course
    - or 45 clock hours

    These hours must be in addition to the original 120 clock hours required when the Candidate obtained the CDA Credential. Bilingual CDAs must meet this requirement with coursework incorporating bilingual education.
  3. Documented proof of recent (within one year) prior to your renewal, you must have worked a minimum of 80 hours with young children or families. This must be documented in a letter from your supervisor. (Note: The letter from your supervisor should specify, “works with children”.)
  4. A completed Letter of Recommendation Form regarding the CDA's competence with young children prepared by an early childhood education (ECE) Reviewer.  The ECE Reviewer must meet the eligibility requirements.
  5. Documented proof current membership with a national or local early childhood professional organization. Your membership must be active/current at the time the Council receives your renewal information. This must be an individual membership, not an agency membership.. For a list of National Early Childhood Organizations please visit the Council for Professional Recognition website.

Apply online for a CDA Renewal, or contact the Council for further information:

Council for Professional Recognition
2460 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009-3547
Office hours: 8am - 5pm EST



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