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

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).

Becoming a CDA is a big commitment, but one that creates confident practitioners with command of today’s best practices for teaching young children.

Benefits of The Child Development Associate Credential

  • 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


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 hoursThese 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.

Financial assistance may be available for some of these credentials. Please go to the Financial Assistance page for more information.

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, 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