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 ECE. The CDA Credential is based on a core set of competency standards, which guide early care professional as they work toward becoming qualified teachers of young children. There are four credentials offered: Center-based, Infant -Toddler (birth-36 months), Center-based, Preschool (3-5 years), Home-based Family Child Care (birth-5 years), and Home Visitor (families of children birth-5 years). Obtaining a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident early childhood educators with command of today’s best practices for teaching young children.
Benefits of The Child Development Associate Credential for an ECE provider:
- Career advancements
- Meet job requirements
- Reinforce your commitment to early childhood education
- Provide parents with peace of mind
- Understand Developmentally appropriate practice
- Increase your confidence
For more information on how a CDA credential fits in to Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) Career Pathway, visit the Career Pathway page.
OBTAINING A CDA IN PENNSYLVANIA
Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is implementing statewide Professional Development Organizations (PDOs). PDOs will specialize in access to credit-bearing coursework and credentials for the early childhood education (ECE) workforce. Shippensburg University and Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) were selected as the PDOs in Pennsylvania. See a regional map. (PDF)
While PDOs begin their work, The Pennsylvania Key contracted with several organizations and institutes of higher education to offer community-based cohorts so that individuals attempting to obtain a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential can complete the 120 hours of credit-bearing coursework and receive additional support. This opportunity is available for Spring 2020. Space in these cohorts is limited. Use the contact information in the table below to determine the best program for you.
ECE Professionals can also find credit-bearing coursework for the CDA at the following higher education institutions:
If you are unable to find a program that fits your needs, contact your PDO. PDOs will begin work on more CDA programs statewide in early 2020.
SPECIAL FOR 2020: CDA RENEWAL AMNESTY PROGRAM
Due to recent events, the Council is extending the deadline for the CDA Renewal Amnesty Program to December 31, 2020. The Council’s hope is that this extension will help ease concerns and allow individuals additional time needed to take advantage of this opportunity. For additional information about accommodations made by the CDA Council due to COVID 19, please visit: cdacouncil.org/newsletter
- Expiration date as far back as Jan. 1, 2010
- Must meet all current renewal requirements (visit the CDA Council website for more information about the renewal process)
- Apply online using YourCouncil CDA council portal system (for more information on this process, please visit the CDA Council website)
All CDA Renewal Candidates must meet the following five criteria:
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
Please note: Effective January 1, 2018, the Council for Professional Recognition has increased the application processing for candidates submitting paper applications to $500. Candidates who utilize their online application system at www.cdacouncil.org, will continue to be charged $425. At this time, the CDA Assessment Fee voucher will continue to be valued at $425. Should you choose to utilize a paper application, you will be responsible for submitting the additional $75 fee in addition to the $425 CDA Assessment Voucher. Paper applications submitted to the Council with only the $425 CDA Assessment Fee voucher will be returned to the applicant.
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
Financial assistance may be available for some of these credentials.
For more information on financial assistance, visit the main Financial Assistance page.
- CDA Candidate Checklist (PDF)
- Credentialing Process Overview (English) (PDF)
- Resumen del proceso de certificación (Espanol) (PDF)
- Renewal Procedures Guide (PDF)
- Why CDA? (PDF)
More resources available at www.cdacouncil.org.